What Does the Purim Story Have to Do with Righteous Gentiles?

Precious little, you would think. But actually, thanks to one figure in the story, quite a lot.

From The Triumph of Mordecai by Botticelli, c. 1475. National Gallery of Canada.

From The Triumph of Mordecai by Botticelli, c. 1475. National Gallery of Canada.

Observation
March 19 2019
About the author

Andrew N. Koss, an associate editor of Mosaic, is writing a book about the Jews of Vilna during World War I.


The main event of the upcoming holiday of Purim is the reading of the Megillah, which tells the story of how brave Esther and pious Mordecai saved Persian Jewry from the genocidal schemes of the wicked Haman. In the Ashkenazi tradition, the public reading of the scroll is followed by reciting a poem whose unknown author lived no later than the 11th century. The concluding lines are usually sung to an up-beat tune:

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More about: History & Ideas, Religion & Holidays