The Hidden Narrative of Purim: By Jim Long, Producer & Co-host - Jerusalem Lights Podcast
HIDDEN ASPECTS OF MEGILLAH ESTHER FROM JEWISH SAGES AND HISTORY.
It’s well-known to us that the name of G-d never appears in the Book of Esther. Read aloud, during Purim, Megillah Esther constantly shifts between the hidden and the revealed with plot twists so unexpected that, for believers, there is only one explanation: It is the Creator working behind the scenes. Those who love G-d know this and believe that His nation, the people of Israel, are tasked with revealing G-d’s presence in the world. Those who hate G-d are said to be driven by the spirit of Amalek who wants hide or blot out belief in G-d and the nation of Israel. With that in mind, I've catalogued the HIDDEN things in the Purim narrative....
Detail from poster for 'The Orphan Queen' courtesy of Lightcatcher Studios
Megillat Esther begins with a massive 6 month party to acknowledge the king’s power, the vastness of the Persian Empire and its wealth. The king Achashverosh, inherited most of that wealth from his predecessor, Cyrus (Koresh), who discovered the fabulous riches of Nebuchadnezzar HIDDEN in the depths of the Euphrates River.
Achashverosh was actually celebrating because he believed that the 70 years of punishment prophesied for the Jews had passed and the Temple was still not rebuilt. But he had miscalculated. The 70 years was HIDDEN from him. He should have counted from the destruction of the Temple in 3338 on the Jewish Calendar.
Mordechai instructed Esther keep her Jewish identity HIDDEN.
The prime minister, evil Haman warned the king that “ there is a certain People” that threaten the stability of the empire. His plot to annihilate the Jews was motivated by his hatred of Mordechai but he kept that name HIDDEN from Achashverosh.
Mordechai gained favor with Achashverosh because he discovered a HIDDEN plot to assassinate the king, so he was rewarded for this deed.
When Achashverosh asked Haman how the king should reward “the man in whom the king delighted,” Achashverosh kept the identity of “the man” HIDDEN until after Haman had finished advising the king on this matter.
Esther invited Haman to a dinner party but kept her intentions HIDDEN from him.
Esther reveals that she is Jewish and that Haman’s decree would wipe out all the Jews in Persia. An enraged Achashverosh sends him to the gallows. Haman’s face is HIDDEN as he is led away.
At the request of Esther, Achashverosh allows the new prime minister, Mordechai, to issue a proclamation that all the Jews in the Persian Empire are permitted to slay those seeking to kill them on the 13th and 14th of Adar. The Sages tell us that many of the Jews wore disguises so that their faces were HIDDEN during the attacks. Afterwards Mordechai and Esther asked the Jews to annually recall the victory over their enemies and to celebrate by sending gifts to each other.
There was a serious discussion between Mordechai, Esther and the Sanhedrin in Shushan that celebrating the killing of Persians—despite being in self-defense—might stir up future hatred and suggested that Purim be HIDDEN within a major Persian holiday.
For over 3,000 years the Persians have continued to celebrate their New Year called Nowrooz (New Day). It lasts for 13 days and coincides with the Spring Equinox, usually March 20th. However, the Wednesday prior to Nowrooz, a holiday called Harshanbe Zuri (Scarlett Wednesday) is held and the people wear disguises, go door to door banging spoons on pans and giving gifts to one another. Remember Mordechai covering his head in ashes while walking the streets of Shusan bewailing the fate of the Jews? In the aforementioned Persian holiday, a figure called Haji Firuz dances through the streets, his face covered in soot! At the writing of this article the Wednesday before March 20, 2022 is Purim.
Daniel the prophet who lived in the days of Persian rule, warned of those “who seek to change the times and seasons.” History’s shifting calendars and the confusion caused by the Greeks wanting to insure certain events in Persian Empire were HIDDEN make it nearly impossible to locate events and people of the Purim story. They conflated personal names with the royal titles of the Persian Kings and artificially expanded the number of kings who ruled Persia. The Greeks promoted this fabrication of history adding roughly 150 years to their annals. (See Sir Isaac Newton’s The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms)
Alexander Hool in his brilliant The Challenge of Jewish History identifies Cambyses as the Persian monarch who is called Achashverosh in Megillah Esther. Historians tell us that Cambyses was known as a drunk to the Persians (see Herodotus' Book Three) and plagued with mental issues. And, by the way, according to linguist Isaac Mozeson, the name Achashveriosh translates as “unthinking head”.
Persian Kings, beginning with Cyrus were were given the title Artachshasthra, while the Greeks rendered it as Artaxerxes. The actual name of Achashverosh was Kambatua. The Greeks called him Cambyses. Herotodus tells us an important facts about Cambyses describing him as almost bi-polar. Cambyses may be the only ruler, from the Achaemenid dynasties who had his first queen put to death. He remarried a beautiful, educated woman known as Hatossa which sounds very much like Queen Esther's real name Hadassah.
The Sages tell us that the son of Esther/Hadassah is known to us today as Darius the Great. On the famous Behistun Inscription, Darius the Great is credited for stopping an ongoing empire-wide revolt that had started before his reign. That revolt began on the 14th of Adar.
A final word about Haman, the evil vizier from Megillah Esther. He was a direct descendant of Amalek whose worldview still runs amok in every Anti-Semite who wants to destroy the Jews and to keep the knowledge of G-d HIDDEN. Amalek wants the truth about Purim, Esther, Mordechai and every event in the history of the Jewish People HIDDEN. This is why, in Torah, the Jewish People are commanded by G-d to "blot out the memory of Amalek..." (Deut. 25:19). It is Midda K’negged Midda (measure for measure)punishment for Amalek's attempts to blot out the knowledge of G-d, to literally blot out the Jewish People and their historic exploits. Purim Sameach!