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The Lesson of Purim

By Tzvi Fishman
3/19/2008, 12:00 AM

What brought about the decree of Haman against the Jews? It was their craving to be accepted as full-fledged citizens of Persia rather than return to the Holy Land to rebuild Jewish life in Israel.

In the year 3391, the Persian king, Cyrus, ordered the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Led by the prophet, Ezra, a small number of Jews returned to Israel to begin the rebuilding. The vast majority, including the aristocracy, were unwilling to give up their businesses and positions of honor in the Persian community. This was highlighted by their participation in the great feast of Achashverus, who rose to the throne in the 3392, and immediately halted the reconstruction of the Temple. Against Mordechai’s warnings, the Jews of Shushan flocked to take part in the gentile celebration, to raise toasts (with kosher wine) to the gentile king, and to regale along with the gentiles at what was to be a bawdy, immoral, wife-swapping burlesque (“Me’am Lo’ez,” Esther, Ch. 1 and 2). Even when Achashverus bought out the sacred Temple vessels, they didn’t leave the party.

The Divine wrath and the decree of Haman were soon to follow.

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In the Diaspora - it's Purim every day