Purim - A Book Of Jewish Thoughts

Purim - A Book Of Jewish Thoughts


THERE was a certain Jew in Shushan ... whose name was Mordecai.... And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter ... and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.... And Esther was taken unto King Ahasuerus into his house royal ... and the king loved Esther ... and she obtained grace and favour in his sight....

After these things did King Ahasuerus promote Haman, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And Haman said, ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people, neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king let it be written that they be destroyed ... both young and old, little children and women, in one day.’ And the king said unto Haman, ‘The people is given to thee to do with them as it seemeth good to thee’.

Now, when Mordecai knew all that was done he rent his clothes ... and charged Esther that she should go in unto the king to make supplication unto him for her people—‘Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ... Esther bade them return answer unto Mordecai, ‘So will I go in unto the king ... and if I perish, I perish....’

Then Esther the queen ... said, ‘If I have found favour in thy sight, O king ... let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request; for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain and to perish....’ Then spake the king Ahasuerus, ‘Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?’ And Esther said, ‘An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman’.

Then said one of the chamberlains, ‘Behold also, the gallows which Haman hath made for Mordecai, who spake good for the king (and saved the king’s life) standeth in the house of Haman’. And the king said, ‘Hang him thereon’. So they hanged Haman.... And the king said, ‘Write ye also to the Jews as it liketh you, in the king’s name....’ The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honour. And whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy....

... Therefore do the Jews ... make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting ... and of sending gifts to the poor.


Excerpt From A Book Of Jewish Thoughts Selected And Arranged By The Chief Rabbi - Dr J.H.Hertz