The story of Purim according to the Megillah of Esther- Welcome to Beit Chabad’s Purim website
Purim commemorates the miracle where the people of Israel were saved from the evil Haman who wanted to destroy all Jews at the times of the Persian empire.
At Beit Chabad’s Purim website, you will learn the day’s mitzvahs and customs as well as everything you need to know about Purim.
In addition, you can observe the mitzvahs of Matanot La’Evyonim and the Machatzit HaShekel through Beit Chabad using Bit or credit card.
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The story of Purim according to the Megillah of Esther
Many years ago, during the times of the Persian empire, a king named Ahasuerus ruled the entire world.
The exact time in which the story of the Megillah took place was in the years ג’ת”ד-ג’ת”ה (3404–3405) (355–356 BC according to the Gregorian calendar)
One day, the king held a great feast and invited all those close to him to participate in the festive meal for 7 days.
The Jews were also invited to the celebration, and of course the king arranged for them to have kosher food.
During the feast, the king commanded to have his wife Vashti brought before him, so he could present her to the guests and have them marvel at her beauty.
The queen’s refusal of Ahasuerus’ command
Queen Vashti did not want to come and rejected the king’s request.
As a result, the king was furious and decided to simply kill her as a punishment for disobeying him.
A new queen for the king
After his rage passed, Ahasuerus began looking for a new queen.
The king’s envoys searched for a new woman who the king would like.
Among the women in Susa, the capital, was a woman named Esther.
Esther was a very beautiful woman, under the care of her uncle Mordecai.
Ahasuerus’ envoys brought many young women to the palace, with Esther among them
King Ahasuerus liked Esther the most.
And as is described in the Megillah “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.”
Queen Esther did not tell anyone that she was Jewish.
A plot to kill the king
The narrator of the Megillah takes moment to cover another subject that will go on to complement the story.
Two the king’s courtiers, Bigthan and Teresh, plotted to kill King Ahasuerus.
Mordecai found this out and told the king about it, saving his life.
In fact, the fact that Mordecai saved the king’s life was something that would help him later on.
The evil Haman
The king had a minister named Haman, a wicked man and a hater of Jews.
Haman commanded all people to bow to him when they see him.
Mordecai, the Jew, did not want to kneel before Haman.
And as is described in the Megillah:
“But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor”
As a result, Haman grew angry, and decided to kill Mordecai and all the Jews.
Haman’s decree regarding the Jews
Haman asked Ahasuerus to kill all the Jews, claiming that they do not follow the king’s commands.
Ahasuerus approved the decree.
Haman held a lottery, and it was decided that on Adar 13, all the Jews will be killed.
The king, at Haman’s counsel, writes and stamps a decree to have all Jews killed on Adar 13.
Mordecai the Jew hears the decree, goes into mourning and wears a sack and dirt, and then tells Esther.
Mordecai’s request to Esther
Mordecai begs and pleads with Esther to go to the king and beg him to revoke the decree. At first, Esther is fearful and tells Mordecai “I was not summoned to the king in thirty days”, if she approaches the king, he might grow angry and kill her.
Mordecai tells Esther that she now has the chance to save the people of Israel, and that if she does not act, salvation will come to the Jews in some other way, “but you and the house of your ancestors will be destroyed”
Esther makes the decision to pray and fast for 3 days, then goes to the king.
Queen Esther asks the king to hold a feast, and she only invites Ahasuerus and the evil Haman.
During the feast, the king asks her how he can fulfill her wish She asks to hold another feast the next day.
The following day, everyone meets for the feast again and Esther tells the king that there is an evil man who wants to kill her and her people.
The king asks who is it that convinced him to do so?
Esther replies and points: “That evil Haman”.
On the contrary
The king is angry and orders to have Haman hanged from the tree he planned to use to hang Mordecai.
Since Persian law did not allow to revoke royal decrees, the decree could not be undone, but with Esther’s influence, the king issued another statement allowing Jews to defend themselves from anyone who would try to harm them.
On days 13 and 14 of Adar, a war took place and it is told in the Megillah that the people of Israel vanquished their enemies.
People all over the world fought on Adar 13, and in Susa, fighting took place the next day, Adar 14, as well.
As a result, different dates were chosen for the Purim celebrations.
The story of Purim
The story of Purim is based on the contents of the Megillah of Esther, we provided a summary and may have omitted some details while writing.
Every year, we celebrate Purim and observe the four mitzvahs chosen by the wise men at the time, which are: