From: Megillah from My Jewish Learning Date: Fri, Mar 6, 2020 at 6:31 AM Subject: Why We Read the Book of Esther To: Understand the megillah for Purim     Go Deep Into the Book of Esther Thank you for joining My Jewish Learning as we explore the five megillahs read throughout the Jewish year.   Purim begins Monday night, March 9, 2020. The only Jewish holiday specifically prescribed in a megillah, Purim derives from the comedic — occasionally farcical — yet deadly serious Book of Esther. When the Jews of Persia find themselves under the thumb of the buffoonish King Ahasueros and his villainous advisor Haman, who hatches a plan to massacre Persia’s Jews, Esther and Mordechai, successfully foil Haman’s plan, replace him as the king’s trusted advisors, and establish the holiday of Purim to celebrate the momentous occasion.   As the name of this megillah suggests, Esther gives us one of the longest and most intimate portraits of a Jewish woman found in the Hebrew Bible. When the story opens, she is an orphan, demure and beautiful, who wins the heart of the king and becomes his beloved queen. By story’s end, she is a pillar of action and strength who saves her people and helps rule the kingdom with wisdom and justice.   The complexities of Esther’s character don’t end there. Multiple versions of the tale, and reams of Jewish commentaries over the centuries, have long sought to understand this remarkable woman who achieved unprecedented political power, saved her people from destruction and established one of the tradition’s most beloved holidays.   DISCOVER THE REAL ESTHER     What Makes the Book of Esther Different The Book of Esther is quite unlike other books of the Bible. For one, while many biblical stories tend to be extremely condensed, this superbly crafted tale reads more like an early novella. It is also without a doubt one of the most intentionally humorous parts of the Hebrew Bible, even as it explores serious and somber themes. And the focus in this book is entirely human — along with the Song of Songs, it is one of only two biblical books that makes no mention of God.  UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES     Esther and the Concealed Face of God The Book of Esther is often comedic, and the holiday it establishes is best known for its carnival atmosphere. Yet, the holiday of Purim is also deeply religious — so much so, that the early rabbis paired it with Judaism’s most sacred day, Yom Kippur. FIND OUT WHY     More Ways to Understand the Book of Esther Read the Whole Book of Esther   Esther and Vashti: Two Queens of Persia Seen in Orthodox Feminist Perspective   Understanding the Book of Esther’s Violent Ending   Why Some Jews Observe a Fast of Esther Before Purim   Essential Purim Vocabulary to Know   9 Things You Didn’t Know About Purim The next megillah, Song of Songs, will be read on Passover, in April. Look out for the next email in this megillah series before the holiday begins.      This email was sent to lednichenkoolga@gmail.com by community@myjewishlearning.com 24 West 30th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10001 Edit Profile|Manage Subscriptions|Report Spam

From: Megillah from My Jewish Learning <community@myjewishlearning.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 6, 2020 at 6:31 AM
Subject: Why We Read the Book of Esther
To: <lednichenkoolga@gmail.com>

Understand the megillah for Purim

Thank you for joining My Jewish Learning as we explore the five megillahs read throughout the Jewish year.

 

Purim begins Monday night, March 9, 2020. The only Jewish holiday specifically prescribed in a megillah, Purim derives from the comedic — occasionally farcical — yet deadly serious Book of Esther. When the Jews of Persia find themselves under the thumb of the buffoonish King Ahasueros and his villainous advisor Haman, who hatches a plan to massacre Persia’s Jews, Esther and Mordechai, successfully foil Haman’s plan, replace him as the king’s trusted advisors, and establish the holiday of Purim to celebrate the momentous occasion.

 

As the name of this megillah suggests, Esther gives us one of the longest and most intimate portraits of a Jewish woman found in the Hebrew Bible. When the story opens, she is an orphan, demure and beautiful, who wins the heart of the king and becomes his beloved queen. By story’s end, she is a pillar of action and strength who saves her people and helps rule the kingdom with wisdom and justice.

 

The complexities of Esther’s character don’t end there. Multiple versions of the tale, and reams of Jewish commentaries over the centuries, have long sought to understand this remarkable woman who achieved unprecedented political power, saved her people from destruction and established one of the tradition’s most beloved holidays.

 

The Book of Esther is quite unlike other books of the Bible. For one, while many biblical stories tend to be extremely condensed, this superbly crafted tale reads more like an early novella. It is also without a doubt one of the most intentionally humorous parts of the Hebrew Bible, even as it explores serious and somber themes. And the focus in this book is entirely human — along with the Song of Songs, it is one of only two biblical books that makes no mention of God.

The Book of Esther is often comedic, and the holiday it establishes is best known for its carnival atmosphere. Yet, the holiday of Purim is also deeply religious — so much so, that the early rabbis paired it with Judaism’s most sacred day, Yom Kippur.

The Whole Megillah

The next megillah, Song of Songs, will be read on Passover, in April. Look out for the next email in this megillah series before the holiday begins. 

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This email was sent to lednichenkoolga@gmail.com by community@myjewishlearning.com

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