Purim 5777 (Rachelgv; March 11, 2017)
It is the Jewish festival of Purim. The background to this story is that the Jews had lost their First Temple in Jerusalem in the Babylonian conquest of King Nebuchadnezzar, during which many of Judah’s educated and talented Jews were made captive and exiled to Babylon. This is where the famous Psalm (“By the rivers of Babylon”…) has its origins, which you can read, here:
Biblehub.com; Psalm 137. JPS, 1917:
Here’s a wiki from Wikipedia.org about the period of Babylonian Captivity:
Wikipedia.org; “Babylonian Captivity”:
Babylon was then overrun by the Persians, under King Cyrus, who allowed some of the Jews to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple.
Eventually, King Achashveros came to power. He was married to Queen Vashti, who, through her disobeyance to the King, earned her despatch goodbye, and a new search was enacted to replace the Queen.
In a procession of sorts, eligible matches were brought before the King, until his interest was piqued by the Jewish woman, Hadassah, who adopted the name of Esther to hide her Jewish identity.
Esther’s Uncle, Mordechai, had overhead a conspiratorial plot being hatched among the King’s disloyal entourage and had given warning to the palace, thus saving the King’s life. His deed was recorded in the records and archived for later readings.
Esther made the King extremely happy. One day, though, the King’s men had sown discord against the Jews by reporting false rumors that they were going against the King’s rulings. Incensed, the King declared that the Jews should be killed for their treachery.
Still unaware that Hadassah was Jewish, it became an urgent matter that she should intervene to try to plead for the life of her people. Her Uncle Mordechai girded her confidence, and she did so.
The King learned that his life had been spared through the deeds of Esther’s Uncle, Mordechai, and that the real traitors within his entourage were the man Haman, and his scheming ten sons.
While it was the rule that the previous edict could not be annulled, it could still be amended — and that is what the King did. While the attack upon the Jews was still, therefore, imminent, they were allowed to defend themselves, and won… thereby sparing their lives.
This victory of our miraculous saving is celebrated in commemoration of this event. It is a time meant to be celebrated in utmost joy and revelry, with the drinking of wine and the donning of costumes and masks. Gift baskets of food are exchanged with friends and neighbors and are provided, along with charity, to the poor.
I saw the movie, “One Night With The King” in the theater, when it came out in 2006. I enjoyed it immensely, even though, as usual, none of the actors actually seem, and probably weren’t, Jewish. This YouTube link seems to offer a full-length version of the movie. I recall it being advertised on TBN, a Christian broadcasting network, and I believe it was made by Matt Crouch, one of the family founders of the station. I hope that, because of this, this is why it is being offered in the public forum, as such, and I hope it is okay to air. Anyways, here it is:
Chag Purim Sameach (Happy Purim Holiday)!