The king’s disturbed sleep

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The King’s disturbed Sleep: [1]

That night Achashveirosh kept on waking up during his sleep. He asked for the book of chronicles to be read before him and the story of Mordechai saving the life of the king was read. He discovers that Mordechai received no reward for his doings.



Why was the kings sleep disturbed?[2]

Some say this was a miracle. Angels came and disturbed his sleep throughout the night, telling him “Ungrateful one, go reward the one who did you a favor and saved your life”.[3] The Midrash[4] states that Hashem summoned the angel in charge of sleep and told him “My children are in suffering and this Rasha is sleeping. Go disturb his sleep.” The angel immediately descended and began hitting the king, throwing him on the ground 365 times. Alternatively the reason Achashveirosh’s sleep was disturbed is because he was up worrying of the fact that Esther invited Haman to the second feast. He thought that perhaps Haman and Esther were plotting to assassinate him. The Midrash[5] states that the king had a nightmare. He dreamt that Haman was approaching him with a sword to kill him. He saw Haman standing over his head with a sword out of its sheath and he took the crown from the king to place it on his own head. The king woke up in a panic and asked for his chronicles to be brought before him.


Why did the king ask for the book of chronicles?

In order to lull him to sleep, as it is common for kings to fall into slumber upon being read stories of history.[6] Alternatively, he worried that perhaps he has not shown honor to those who helped save him from past assassination attempts and that is the reason that now no one has yet informed him of a possible assassination attempt by Haman to kill him.[7]


The reading of the chronicles:

The chronicles read themselves.[8] Shamshi, the evil scribe of the king, tried profusely to erase the historical records of Mordechai, and the angel Gavriel kept on writing it in.[9] Until that point Achashveirosh mistakenly thought that Haman was the one who saved his life against the assassination attempt, as the scribes of the king were the sons of Haman, and they lied and wrote that it was Haman who saved the kings life. Thus when the night came that the king’s sleep was disturbed the angel Gavriel read the correct version and this infuriated Achashveirosh who discovered that the true savior was never rewarded.[10] The Midrash[11] states that the sons of Haman, which were the king’s scribes, skipped the page discussing the salvation caused by Mordechai although the papers would fly back and forth to that area. The page eventually landed on the lap of Achashveirosh.


No one slept that night:[12]

On that night, all four members of the Purim story did not sleep. Esther was up all night preparing for the royal banquet she would have with the king and Haman. Mordechai was performing repentance. Haman was up all night building the gallows to hang Mordechai. Achashveirosh had his sleep disturbed.


Sparks of Chassidus:

The king’s sleep was disturbed-The epitome of the miracle:[13]

The Mahril[14] states that the main miracle occurred at this time, and it is for this reason that we raise our voice when these words are read in the Megillah. This is because it is this occurrence that led towards the animosity of Achashveirosh towards Haman, and to Haman’s eventual demise. Spiritually this verse is speaking of Hashem, that Hashem was awakened from His “sleep”. That Hashem awoke from His state of concealment in exile and decided to perform the miracle for the Jewish people. The intensity of the miracle is emphasized in the fact that this awakening occurred at night, in a time of utter concealment and spiritual darkness.


[1] 6/1-3

[2] Megillah 15b; Rashi

[3] Megillah ibid

[4] Yalkut Shimoni 1057

[5] Esther Raba 34

[6] Rashi ibid

[7] Megillah 15b

[8] Megillah 16a; Yalkut Shimoni 1057

[9] Megillah 16a

[10] Iyun Yaakov Megillah 13b

[11] Yalkut Shimoni 1057

[12] Yalkut Shimoni 1057

[13] See Sichas Purim 1972; Likkutei Sichos 7 p. 41; Mamar “Balayla Hahu” in Sefer Hamamarim 1940 p. 5-9 and Sefer Hamamarim Melukat Adar p. 73 [said on Purim 1975-Mugah]

[14] Maharil brought in Darkei Moshe 690; M”A 690/17; Elya Raba 690/10; M”B 690/52; Kaf Hachaim 690/90

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