And the People Spoke Against God and Moses

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70a) “And it came to pass on the third day, that Esther wore her royal apparel.” Megillat Ester [the story of Esther] was said in the spirit of holiness, hence it is written among the Hagiographa. “And it came to pass on the third day” that the strength of the body weakened due to the fasting, and she stood in a spirit without a body. “Esther wore her royal apparel.” What does “Royal” mean? It is not garments of honor and purple. These are not called “royal.” Rather, “Esther wore royal apparel” means that she wore the upper, holy Malchut. Of course she wore the spirit of holiness, since Malchut is called “the spirit of holiness.”

70b) She was rewarded with Malchut because she kept her mouth from saying anything, as it is written, “Esther did not tell her kindred.” Anyone who keeps his mouth and tongue is rewarded with the clothing of the spirit of holiness, and anyone who lends his mouth to speaking evil, it is certain that an evil thing will be on him. If he slanders like the primordial serpent, then that serpent dominates him. This is why when Israel spoke against God and against Moses, He sent the seraphim serpents over them. Otherwise, plagues or leprosy as burning as a serpent would have come upon him.

71) “And the people spoke against God and Moses.” They said a bad thing about the Creator and fought with Moses, “Why have you brought us up?” They made every face equal, equalizing God and Moses, telling them, “Why have you brought us up?” This is why serpents were sent at them, which burn them like fire. The fire entered their entrails and they fell dead, as it is written, “And the Lord sent seraphim serpents among the people.”

72) Serpents were coming with their mouths hissing and biting, and they died, as it is written, “If the serpent bites without hissing.” There was blazing fire in their mouths. They would bite, and send forth the fire in them, burning their entrails and they would die. Yet, these words were explained elsewhere.

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