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Book of Esther Review 1. (Source Sheet 1, #5) For the first time, there are two major Jewish communities: one in Persia and one in Eretz Yisrael. There is a tension between the two communities. The community in Persia is assimilated and they were high up in status. The two communities do not mention one another; there is no mention of Shushan in any of the books of the people who lived in EY. In Persia, the Jews were very assimilated - the Jews intermarried and were economically very well off. In Israel, the Jews were very poor but very religious and resented the Persians for not returning to Israel to build the temple. 2. (Source Sheet 1, #6) Because the names are in Greek, we don’t know which Achashverosh is the ruler in the Purim story, so we need to look for a king with a huge empire of 127 countries. Rashi says he is after Cyrus after 70 years of Galut. There are 2 views: that he is Xerxes I according to Chazal based on Rashi, or Ataxerxes II according to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanach. 3. (Source Sheet 1, #8A) The Megillah starts in the 3rd year of the reign of Achashverosh. If he is Xerxes I, it is 483 BCE. The next date we have is year 7 of his reign, when Esther becomes the queen. In year 11-12 of his reign, Haman gives his decree and the Jewish salvation occurs. 4. We know that Megillah was written while the Persian Empire was still in power. Why is this important? There was a censorship. The author knew that he cannot write anything he wants to write; the king’s people will look at it and if it’s not according to what they want, they will ban it or kill the author. 5. (Source Sheet 1, #9 #10 #11) The first view is that the authors were the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah, but this is not accurate. There is also a view that Mordechai and Esther wrote the Megillah. There is also the view that the Megillah was written by an anonymous Jew who lived in the Persian Empire. There are Persian words in the Megillah (as opposed to

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