Spanish Source Criticism

The issue of the complete absence of any reference to God in the Megillah is well known, but the truth is that the question is really much deeper: the Megillah seems to be a purely secular document, with virtually no mention of religion at all!

The great fifteenth century commentator Rav Yitzhak Arama gives an audacious and provocative, and thoroughly modern (or perhaps even post-modern!) explanation: the Megillah is indeed not a Divinely or even Jewishly authored work, but merely a series of extracts made from the Medean and Persian chronicles, and although the Men of the Great Assembly, under the influence of רוח הקודש, sifted truth from falsehood, the absence of God’s name reflects the pagan provenance:

ואמנם צורתה [של מגילת אסתר] כבר ביארנו היותה בדבור ברוח הקדש מהנלבש ממנו. וזה כי לבקשת אסתר (מגילה ז’) אנשי כנסת הגדולה העתקו’ מספר דברי הימים ממדי ופרס ובאמצעות התלבשותם ברוח הקדש ביררו האמת מן השקר מהכתוב כמנהג הכתובים ויען כי העתיקום מספרי עכו”ם לא הוזכר שם של קדושה בתוכה:1

  1. עקידת יצחק, הקדמת מגילת אסתר – קשר []

2 thoughts on “Spanish Source Criticism”

  1. It’s Rabbi Norman Lamm who suggests the book is “Divrei shalom ve’emet.” There are words of Biblical truth hidden here, but the style had to be one of “peace”, in a way that would not offend the Persian empire under which it was written.

    But Akedat Yitzhak’s idea is fascinating.

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