Feb 23, 2023
Purim | Midrash Esther and the Sinaitic Covenant, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom
One of the types of Midr'shei Aggadah utilized by the composers of Midrashim is the "petichta" - (proem) which served as an introduction to the public reading of the text to which the Midrash attached. Among the more prolific and well-known פתיחתאות are those that preface מדרש איכה as well as those recorded by both the Midrash (Esther; introduction) and the Bavli (BT Megilat 11) that preceded the public reading of Esther. These proems consistently start with a verse from another part of Tanakh, artistically weaving its way, verse by verse, comment by comment, until it concludes with a direct quote from the object text. We look at how Midrash Esther uses the proem to answer a question about Vayikra - and comment on the salvation of Purim.