Vort Written by Rabbi Eliezer Silver on Yaharog Val Yaavor [The Law That a Person Must Give Up His/Her Life If He/She Is Forced To Have Relations With a Foreign Lady
The following is a partial translation of the Yiddish text:
Preview: This is about a topic in the Talmud [Gemara] about the law that a person must give up his life if he is forced to have relations with a foreign lady.
1-The Gemara in Tractate Sanhedrin on 74b asks the following question: we know that the law is that a person must give up his life if he is forced to have relations with a forbidden woman even if it is in private and certainly if it is in the open. So how could Esther have relations with Achashveiorosh? The Gemara answers that Esther was like soil of the earth i.e. she was completely passive while Achashveirosh was intimate with her and since she did not actively participate in the cohabitation she was not required to give her life. The Yad Hamelech asks an interesting question: every lady who has forbidden relations is also just being passive-yet she is still obligated to give her life up so why is Esther any different?
2-The Gemara there has another answer to the aforementioned question: when gentiles are motivated by their own pleasure it is different and Achashveirosh did it for his own pleasure and thus Esther was not required to give up her life.