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Section:  Avodah   Category: HelpWanted
The 23rd of Sivan: The Mystery of the Assafsuf & Haman - Two Possible Solutions

Reb Yaakov Emden writes that the 23rd of Sivan was the last day of the punishment of the Asafsuf. Their punishment was that meat would be provided every day for thirty days until the meat would come out of their nostrils. This date is not explicit in the Torah but seems to be deduced from the fact that Klal Yisroel left Har Sinai on the 20th of Iyar and then traveled for three consecutive days, these travels were completed on the 23rd of Iyar.  The next event the Torah speaks of is the sin of the Asafsuf.  From this Reb Yaakov Emden understands the punishment started on the 23rd of Iyar and continued until the 23rd of Sivan.

In Megilas Esther we find that after Haman’s downfall, Mordechai and Esther sent out a new set of letters on the 23rd of Sivan.  It was these letters that deflected the danger of Haman’s initial decree.  Permission for this was originally granted by the king on the 17th of Nissan.  Several mefarshim ask why did Mordechai and Esther wait until the 23rd of Sivan to deliver the Besurah Tovah to Klal Yisroel.  Are these two events related?

Let us know if you've seen anything or ahve any suggestions.

Suggestion One – Indulging In Food

It is possible to suggest that there is a connection between the two events that occurred on the 23rd of Sivan. The root of Haman’s decree against Klal Yisroel was the fact that the Jews of Shushan attended the Seudah of Achashveirosh, the Aveira of the Assafsuf was rooted in a desire to take pleasure from foods that were not available to Klal Yisroel in the Midbar.

It is appropriate that the day the punishment of the Assafsuf culminated and the meat was coming put of their nostrils is also the day that Klal Yisroel at the time of Mordechai and Esther were redeemed from their sin of partaking in Achashveirosh's seudah.

Suggestion Two – 68 Days

The Rema in his peirush on Megilas Esther points out that these letters of Mordechai and Esther were sent 68 days after the initial episode with Haman. There are mefarshim on the pasukim of the Assafsuf that point out that this punishment had an element of 68 days. It says in the pasuk that meat will come not for one day, not for two, not for five, not for ten, not for twenty but for thirty days. Together this list of days amounts to 68 days. Some mefarshim connect this to the 68 days we have a mitzvah to eat meat during the year.  We see that the reckoning of 68 days for the punishment of the Assafsuf is not by coincidence but a calculated duration related to the punishment.


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Visitor Comments: 1

BH, Jerusalem, 2008-06-16 06:41:33
In Gemarah Taanis Daf 29, it says the punishment of the Asafsuf ended on the 22nd of Sivan. Reb Yaakov Emden in his commentry on Taanis brings an alternative opion from the medrash. However Reb Yaakov in his siddur brings a third opion of the 23rd of Sivan. This seems to be the source of the above article.

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