The Fast of Esther is observed today.The original fast was suggested by Esther to Mordechai and was observed by all of the Jewish people in the form of a three day fast on Adar 14, 15, and 16 in 356 BCE. According to some, the three day fast commemorates the three days in the month of Nisan when the Jews fasted before Esther appeared before King Achashveirosh.


c 356 BCE- War Against Enemies of the Jews in Persian Empire.  On the 13th of Adar, battles were fought throughout the Persian Empire between the Jews who were fasting and those enemies seeking to kill them in accordance with the decree issued by King Achashveirosh 11 months earlier. (Achashveirosh never rescinded that decree; but after the hanging of Haman on Nissan 16 of the previous year, and Queen Esther's pleading on behalf of her people, he agreed to issue a second decree authorizing the Jews to defend themselves against those seeking to kill them.) 75,000 enemies were killed on that day, and 500 in the capital, Shushan, including Haman's ten sons (Parshandata, Dalfon, Aspata, Porata, Adalia, Aridata, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizata), whose bodies were subsequently hanged. The Jews did not take any of the possessions of the slain as booty, though authorized to do so by the king's decree. (Megillat Esther, chapter 9).


c161 BCE- Nikonor Day, a day designated as a Yom Tov in Megillat Taanit and Talmud Taanit 18b, in which the Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes's General Nikonor, leading the elephant infantry against the Jews, was defeated and killed. Niknor used to pass the gates of Yerushalayim on his way to the King. Each time he would pass he would wave his hands and declare, "I can't wait for the time when I will breach the walls of Yerushalayim, when I will destroy the Beit Hamikdash."

When the Chashmon'im rose to power and the Greeks were defeated, they approached his compound and attacked it, ultimately killing the wicked Nikonor and all his men. They then cut up his body, hung the parts on the gates of Yerushalayim, and wrote underneath, "This is what ended up happening to the mouth that spoke with egotism and to the hands that waved with pride." (This miracle happened several years after Chanukah, and even though the Greeks were defeated they still held overall control over the Chashmona'i Kingdom. Years later, when the Romans defeated the Greeks, the Jewish kingdom established by the Chashmona'im ceded control, and the Romans totally controlled the land, with few exceptions).  Some place this event on 14 Adar.


March 2, 1942- 5,000 Jews were killed during a Nazi Aktion in the ghetto of Minsk.  The Jewish resistance battled the SS and their Russian collaborators valiantly.


March 2, 1944- The Germans entered Sighet and set up a ghetto.


Torah Portion




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Today is

Yom Chamishi, 24 Kislev, 5784

Thursday, December 07, 2023


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