How Persian Jews Purchased the Tomb of Esther and Mordecai

According to local tradition, a shrine in the Iranian city of Hamadan marks the burial place of Mordecai and Esther—the heroes of the Purim holiday, which is celebrated tomorrow and Thursday. The Israel National Library has recently publicized a series of letter that document the purchase of the tomb by Jewish communal leaders in 1971. Hanan Greenwood writes:

There is no mention of [the] burial site in Jewish texts, making the issue of their tomb a matter of dispute. According to several traditions dating back to the Middle Ages, the two Jewish figures are buried in Hamadan. According to one of the traditions, following the death of King Ahasuerus, supporters of Haman, who attempted to have all the Jews in the kingdom killed, sought to exact revenge from Esther and Mordecai, prompting the two to flee to Hamadan.

Initial evidence of the mausoleum’s ties to Esther and Mordecai was provided by the medieval Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela in the 12th century; [he] estimated Hamadan to have around 50,000 Jewish residents and described the tomb as being situated in front of the synagogue.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Benjamin of Tudela, Esther, Jewish cemeteries, Mordecai, Persian Jewry

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship