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Names of the Book

ESTHER BEFORE AHASUERUS- Giovanni Andrea Sirani

English:  Esther
Hebrew:  אסתר
Transliterated:  Ester
Other names:  

 

whoWho

Wrote the book:  unknown, possibly Mordecai
Are the key people:  Esther, Mordecai, King Zerxes I, Haman
Is it written to:  The people of Israel

 

whatWhat

Esther is chosen and becomes queen (Esther 1:1-2:23)
The Jews are threatened and fear extinction (Esther 3:1-4:17)
Esther intercedes and seeks the king's favor (Esther 5:1-8:17)
The Jews are delivered and overcome their enemies (Esther 9:1-10:3)

 

whenWhen

Was it written:  c 520 BCE
Did the events occur:  c 532-521 BCE
Was it canonized: c 499-100 BCE
(see the Timeline of the Tanakh)

 

whereWhere

Was it written:  Persia
Did the events occur:  Susa

 

whyWhy

Esther was written to inform us that: 
G-d is sovereign over all of history.
The enemies of G-d seek the destruction of the Jews.
G-d provides deliverance for the Jews.
G-d expects us to act where He places us.
G-d provides wisdom.

 

whyIntroduction

The book of Esther never mentions G-d's name, yet G-d clearly orchestrates all of the events in it. In this historical narrative, Esther, a Jew living among the exiles in Persia, becomes queen of the empire. Haman, a Persian official, seeks to annihilate all the Jews in the kingdom (Esther 3:12), but God had prepared Esther "for such a time as this" to save his chosen people. The book documents the origins of the Jewish observance of Purim, which celebrates the events of the book: Israel's survival and God's faithfulness.

 

 

Torah Portion

ואתחנן (Va'etchanan)

 

 

or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Sheni, 11 Av, 5778

Monday, July 23, 2018

 

Learn more about this date in history.