Tag Archives: ahasuerus

Purim in the Bible – Part 3: The End of Haman

Xerxes I, carved in relief in a palace ruin in Persepolis, Iran. (Source: Wikimedia commons)

Thanks to the bravery of Esther and Mordecai, the tide was beginning to turn against Haman and the Babylonians who stood against the Jews. Haman had been publicly shamed and paraded through the city to pronounce the greatness of a man who he desperately wanted to see dead. But Esther was not done yet– it was time for her to make her request to the king and begin the process of saving the Jews from destruction. The clock was still ticking.

This is the third part of the story of Purim. I recommend reading part one and part two first, but if you are the type of person who enjoys reading the last page first, by all means. There will be at least one more part after this one! Read on for more.

Continue reading Purim in the Bible – Part 3: The End of Haman

Purim in the Bible – Part 2: Esther’s Bravery

Esther_haramThe Jews were less than a year away from being wiped out. Haman, a Persian noble, sought revenge against a Jewish man who refused to show him deference by conspiring to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire. Haman played his close relationship with King Ahasuerus and the order was quickly given that nearly all the Jews in the world would be destroyed. But all was not lost! Esther, a secret Jew and now Queen of Persia, and her adopted father Mordecai were hatching a plan to save the Jews once again.

This is part two of the story of Esther and the Jewish holiday of Purim. If you have not read it already, you probably want to read part one first. When you are ready to hear the exciting next chapter, read on for more! Continue reading Purim in the Bible – Part 2: Esther’s Bravery

Purim in the Bible – The Book of Esther

1024px-Homemade_hamantaschen2A friend once told me that all the good holidays in Judaism fall into the same mold: “They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s eat.” And while that may be true for a few holidays, it is never truer than on Purim, the holiday which celebrates the Jews’s escape from a Persian genocide thanks to the attractiveness and intelligence of a secret Jew, Esther, the queen of Persia. Esther’s story is told in the Book of Esther, one of the last books to be added to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

Especially in Israel, Purim has become something like Halloween mixed with Saint Patrick’s Day. Children wear costumes and eat special cookies– my wife makes amazing hamentaschen– while religiously observant men are commanded to get so drunk that they cannot even “distinguish between ‘[…] Haman’ and ‘[…] Mordecai.'”, the antagonist and protagonist of the Esther story.  I did not believe that when I was told, but yes– it’s in the Talmud (Tractate Megillah, Ch. 1, 7b).

In this post, we will be introduced to the world of the Persian Jews, a competition to become queen, and finally the decree of the king of Persia to massacre all of the Jews in his kingdom.  Spoiler alert: the Jews survive. Read on for this fantastic story.

Continue reading Purim in the Bible – The Book of Esther

Namaste! India in the Bible

A work trip has derailed my summer posting schedule, but I hope to be back on track in two weeks. In the meantime, I am in India, a country with beautiful and varied history. It’s a place like no other in the world and I’m very glad to be here. Despite its great distance, India is not unknown in the bible. In fact, the bible reports that there were ancient Jews in India! Read on for more.

In Hyderabad, India at the Charminar: towers and a mosque built in 1591 as thanks to God for saving the city from a plague.

Continue reading Namaste! India in the Bible