One of the very interesting parts of the Megillah is that of Haman being advised to build a tree fifty cubits high and to hang Mordechai on it. At the end, he himself met the fate that he intended for Mordechai. The plot thickens when Haman has to find a piece of wood that is fifty cubits high. The Medrash says that he asked his son who was a ruler in another province where the Taivah of Noach landed and asked him to send him one of the planks since the height of fifty was part of the Taivah’s measurements. Don’t be mistaken into thinking that the fifty cubits are just a random chosen rounded figure and that the source of this plank originated in Noach’s Taivah is a coincidence. Every detail was nefariously planned. What could be Haman’s intentions with this 50 cubit wooden hang post aside that it was to kill and display Mordechai’s body?
The Chazal learn out that the writing of the Megillas Esther must be on parchment that has grooved lines called שירטוט just like a מזוזה. What is the connection between the two?
The Chasam Sofer explains the incredible thread of chesed that is weaved throughout the Megillah by Mordechai to benefit Esther his cousin. She was an orphan without living parents from birth. Upon hearing the death of her two parents while living in Eretz Yisrael, he immediately picked himself up and went to Esther in order to raise her. Even from the time she was chosen to be taken to the King’s palace to see if she would be fitting for the title of Achasveirosh’s new queen, he took up his dwelling place to be at the gate of the palace in order to constantly keep a watchful eye on her.
In reality, this conduct was inappropriate and unbefitting for a prestigious member of the Sanhedrin, yet he nevertheless took this responsibility upon himself for a few years without any lapse. It was this incredible chesed that Mordechai performed to Esther day after day, month after month, year after year, that nullified the irrevocable decree of Haman’s masterminded evil plan of the genocide of the entire Jewish Nation. The Sefas Emes (Purim (תרלז adds that the fact the Megillah told us this fact that Mordechai every day was at the King’s gate to keep a close watch on the welfare of Esther teaches us that his righteous conduct of chesed was instrumental in the miracle of Purim just like every other detail given in the Megillah.
The Chasam Sofer continues and says now we can understand the requirement that the parchment upon which Megillas Esther is written, must parallel that of the mezuzah. The mezuzah on the outside of one’s house serves as a protection to the inside. The name of שדי is written on the exterior of the parchment which is the acronym of שומר דירת ישראל. Hashem’s chesed is unlike every other king who remains inside the palace and his guards watch and protect him from the outside. Not so Hashem, who as omnipotent and omniscient as He is, He nevertheless guards his people from the outside. But just like Mordechai who unbefitting to his greatness he raised and watched Esther from the outside like a mezuzah with the name שדי, so too Hashem watched over Yisrael with the miracle of Purim. In the sefer Ori Veyishee, he adds to prove the point of the Chasam Sofer by saying that מזוזה is gematria מרדכי. Mordechai was a shemirah to Esther like a mezuzah, and therefore the story of Mordechai and Esther in the Megillah must be written on the same parchment required for a mezuzah.
Rav Olshin Shlita explains with the above why our Chachamim established these mitzvos of משלוח מנות ומתנות לעניים on Purim. The answer is that since the salvation of Purim came about through the incredible chesed of Mordechai to Esther, on this day we want to enforce this middah in Klal Yisrael so they should realize how important it is.
Let us now try to understand the plot to hang Mordechai on a fifty-foot plank of wood from Noach’s Taivah. The Medrash relates that when Avraham Avinu met Malki Tzedek (Shem the son of Noach) he asked him what zechus did you and your family have that you were saved from the Mabbul? He answered from the tzedakah we performed in the Taivah of sleepless nights for an entire year sustaining the animals and birds inside, each one with their unique foods and their particular feeding times. We must view his answer in the background that the Torah testifies to the fact that Noach was a איש צדיק תמים. Nevertheless, if it wouldn’t be for his extreme chesed in the Taivah he and his entire family would have perished as well.
Yet the Torah still finds critical fault and shortcoming with Noach by calling the Flood מי נח the “waters of Noach” because there was a kitrug in that he failed to daven to ward off the Flood from his generation. We suggest that Hashem was hinting this personal shortcoming to him during these 150 years of building the Taivah in order to warn his generation of the upcoming catastrophic consequence for their misdeeds. For the measurements of the Taivah were 300x30x50 whose numerical letters equal לשן tongue. Noach was supposed to daven for his generation to do teshuvah or to be saved from utter destruction. Noach however, did not take the message to heart and therefore his supernatural chesed in the Taivah was flawed, just barely enough to save him.
Haman realized that the only merit for Mordechai his antagonist to stay alive and save Yisrael from annihilation and find grace once again in the eyes of Hashem, was the performance of a tremendous chesed like that of Noach in the Taivah. His plan to counteract such a merit if Mordechai was banking on it was by having a 50 cubit plank from the Taivah in his presence to hang Mordechai. He felt it was possible to arouse a kitrug on this super chesed that Mordechai might have performed, and render it imperfect. For in truth, unknown to Haman, Mordechai’s chesed to Esther was the chesed that broke the decree of Haman. Haman’s intention of the kitrug was that even though Mordechai might have achieved a similar chesed on the level of Noach, but like him, he failed to daven on Yisrael’s behalf that the decree should never have come about in the first place. Had Noach davened on behalf of his generation to do teshuvah, he could have possibly saved his generation. The failure to do so earned him the title of the owner of the Mabbul. So too, had Mordechai davened for the Yidden in the first place not to attend the party of Achashveirosh in which they sinned and the people of Shushan were decreed to be killed, Klal Yisrael wouldn’t have had to fast, miss out on the Seder Night.
It was specifically a fifty-foot plank from the Taivah which would arouse the kitrug. For withstanding the super act of chesed that Noach’s Taivah symbolizes during that year of non-stop benefits to those protected in the Taivah, it also symbolizes the failure of Noach to daven with his לשן on behalf the preservation of mankind. The 50 cubit height of the hanging plank is very exacting. The Forty-Nine levels of spirituality represent the Seven Middos in their entirety like we have during Sefirah. The 50th level is Binah which means to examine in a deeper sense and look and extract beyond the superficial. The kitrug comes through the plank of Noach 50 cubits high which will “hang Mordechai” by making his super chesed with Esther flawed. If Mordechai sincerely cared for one יתומה with his super chesed, he should have used his tongue to daven for the entire Klal Yisrael before the decree befell them.
So why in reality wasn’t there a kitrug on his super chesed in order to leave Klal Yisrael without any zechus for redemption? We can answer because Purim is rooted in the sense of smell. Mordechai is hinted in the Torah in the incense מר דרור the Targum translates מרדכי. Esther who is also called Haddasah also represents smell which is the characteristic of the Hadas one of the four species of Succos. The Ari writes that the month of Adar parallels the nose of a person. Of all the five senses only the sense of smell was not involved in the chait of Aitz Hadaas. Therefore only the neshama derives pleasure from the sense of smell as can be seen from Havdalah. Therefore the sense of smell and the month of Adar with its two redeemers have a connection to prior to the chait of Adam. All kitrug started after the chait as the gemarah says that Haman is hinted in the Aitz Hadaas after the chait in the passuk (Bereishis 3,11) המן העץ אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכול ממנו אכלת. Therefore, the kitrug of Haman with the 50-foot plank was not able to be activated against Mordechai, and Klal Yisrael still had intact in their possession the merit of Mordechai through which they were redeemed.
This understanding is part of the institution of Chazal to get intoxicated on Purim and they use the lashon מחייב אדם לבסומי בפוריא (Megillah 7). The word בסם is from the root בשמים incense being that the letters of ס and ש are interchangeable. Chazal is hinting to us that our salvation on Purim really makes no sense or logic since the kitrug should have nullified the incredible chassadim of Mordechai. When one gives up on his logic then the answer will be בסם which is gematriah אמונה that it was a present from Hashem that the kitrug couldn’t take place because of the sense of smell that is affiliated with Purim, the month of Adar, and Mordechai and Esther.