25 February 2007

Now it came to pass in the days of Achashverosh

Orthoprax discusses missing books and records of the Jewish past.

Similarly, the following bothered me since I was young.

אסתר פרק י
ב וְכָל-מַעֲשֵׂה תָקְפּוֹ, וּגְבוּרָתוֹ, וּפָרָשַׁת גְּדֻלַּת
מָרְדֳּכַי, אֲשֶׁר גִּדְּלוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ--הֲלוֹא-הֵם כְּתוּבִים, עַל-סֵפֶר
דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים, לְמַלְכֵי, מָדַי וּפָרָס.

Esther 10: 2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the full
account of the greatness of Mordecai, how the king advanced him, are they not
written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

Well? Are they or aren't they? Are "all the acts of Mordechai's power" recorded in the chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? The relative recent history (compared to Yetsias Mitrayim) of Media & Persia has no account of Mordechai. At least not a clear cut account of a Jewish Mordechai and Esther.

No need to debate it here, check Wikipedia for the debate about it's historicity.

So, is this too a case of the Persians cooking the books against the Jews? Or is it the case of historical personalities turned into Jewish ones for a children's tale? It reminds me of a Pirchei story as a young child where the storyteller (Shmuel Kunda?) turned Yankee stadium into Yankel stadium.

It seems to me as if Possuk was a wink to the adults, cluing them in that this account is not to be taken literally.

Another oddity about Megilas Esther is that it's the only Sefer in Tanach that has not been found in the Dead Sea scrolls. What the significance of this is, I have no idea. If anyone has any idea, I'd love to hear it.

Purim, I love it! (Well, I love a lot of it, not all of it).

Maybe, this would be an opportunity for me to dress up as Jacob Stein and pay him a visit. Or perhaps I'll visit him dressed as a Chossid collecting money. We know how much Jacob Stein respects Chassidim.

Anyhow, have your Purim drinks (but don't drive) and when you get to the point of Lo Yodah, think of us skeptics.

Have a freilichen Purim.

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