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The Debate Between Mordechai and His Colleagues

Why Did Mordechai Remain in Politics? Why Did the Rogatchover Refuse to Become an Activist?

1 hr 19 min

The Rogatchover Gaon, Rabbi Yosef Rozen (1858-1936)

Class Summary:

When studying the Tanach we must be sensitive to nuance. The obvious question is why does the verse state that Mordechai was “accepted by most of his brethren" rather than just saying that he was “accepted by his brethren.” The Torah is obviously trying to make a point. Not everyone liked Mordechai. But why? After all, he was the man who together with Esther was responsible for the rescue of the entire nation.

The Talmud presents a fascinating interpretation. Mordechai was the preeminent Torah scholar of his generation—he was the leader of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court. With the dramatic unfolding events of Purim, this brilliant scholar became entangled in politics. After Haman’s plot was foiled, he was appointed Prime Minister of the Persian Empire. Most Jews adored Mordechai—but not all of them. But why not? 

The class explores a fascinating story about the Rogatchover Gaon, Rabbi Yosef Rozen (1858-1936), who refused to become a member in a committee on behalf of Russian Jewry, based on an argument between the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud. It turns out, that Mordechai was a “Jerusalem Talmud” Jew.

The class is based on Likkutei Sichos vol. 16 Purim.

Please leave your comment below!

  • Anonymous -1 year ago

    מדהים !! 

    דרשותיו  כמים קרים על נפש עייפה !!

    חבל שאין לי דרך לתרגם לעברית , כדי שגם  בנותיי וכלותיי  תוכלנה ליהנות מדברי א-לוקים חיים

    מגילת אסתר , כמה עומק כי טומנת ....

    ככל שיותר מעמיקים, יותר מבינים 

    ברכת פורים שמח 

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    • YYJ

      Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson -1 year ago

      יש כבר אתר בעברית, עם המון שיעורים בעברית מדי שבוע בשבוע, שם האתר הוא:


      גם יש לי ערוץ יו טוב בעברית

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  • M

    melech -8 years ago

    I heard several of your shiurim, one of which was 'The debate between Mordechai and his colleagues', and I really enjoyed them. I have two he'oros as follows:

    1. When Rashi says לפרש פשוטו של מקרא באתי, he means פשוטו של מקרא according to the drashos of Chazal. After careful study of all the drashos, Rashi selects the one that is closest to the literal pshat, but not that Rashi explains the posuk literally per se.

    Other פשטנים, for example the Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Radak (for the most part), Ralbag and others, differ in this regard by explaining the psukim according to their own understanding, but that is not the way of Rashi.

    2. Rashi explains that the word זרעו at the end of the megilah refers to עמו, namely that Mordechai was דורש טוב to all the descendants of his nation, and it's not specific to Mordechai's own descendants.

    Thanks for the shiurim.

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    • Anonymous -3 months ago

      Even if rashi weere to learn like the ibn ezra that there were multiple achashveirosh's it would still be obvious which one was being referred to without adding "hu achashveirosh". For by saying ויהי בימי אחשווירוש המלך מהודו ועד כוש וכו׳ we would already know which achashveirosh. So perhaps rashi in truth learned like the ibn ezra but still had the question of why add "hu achashveirosh"

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  • YG

    Yochanan Gordon -8 years ago

    Its interesting that the author of the statement, "Learning Torah is more virtuous than saving lives" is Reb Yosef knowing that Reb Yosef Rozin who was Toraso Umnaso decided to abstain from joining the Friediker Rebbes assembly for sake of Jewry.

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    • Y

      yankel -8 years ago

      Nice. And of course Reb Yosef is the Amora who is the one who used to celebrate Zeman Matan Torah, see Pesachim 68b. In Likkutei Sichos vol. 16 Parshas Yisro, there is a long explanation in this and the connection with the name Yosef.

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    • RYJ

      Rabbi YY Jacobson -8 years ago

      Cf. Pesachim 68b on Reb Yosef's special celebration of Matan Torah more than all other sages. CF. Likkutei Sichos vol. 16 Yisro the connection with Reb Yosef and with his name.

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      • YG

        Yochanan Gordon -8 years ago

        Couldn't locate the reference in Likutei Sichos. Is it in the Sicha or in a footnote?

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        • RYJ

          Rabbi YY Jacobson -8 years ago

          Here you have both the text of the Sicha and the shuir on it. It is a timeless classic. Also in Sefer Hasichos 5749 and 5750, Shavuos, there is more explanation on the connection with the name Yosef.

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Purim Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • February 28, 2016
  • |
  • 19 Adar I 5776
  • |
​Leilu Nishmas Reb Eliyahu Tzion ben Reb Chananya Niasoff ז״ל
And in the merit of our partner in Torah, Yigal Yisroel ben Sofia, שיחי׳​.​​

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