Your Israel Connection For Purim
The Purim story emerges from history with lessons for each generation of Jews in every land in the world. Today we continue to fight the battles of our ancestors. Learn, engage and contribute your acts of kindness in the spirit of Queen Esther, Mordechai and the heroes of Jewish history that we should emulate.
For children, Purim conjures up images of costumes and candies, noise makings and parchment scrolls. As we grow, it is indeed our collective memory of the Purim tale, and of the Jewish people's triumph that has helped our people outlast one attempt after another to destroy us.
Learn the Purim Story
The story of Purim occurred in 358 BCE. The Babylonians, who, in 350 BCE sacked and destroyed the Temple, forced the exile of our people to Babylon. When Cyrus II of Persia defeated the mighty Babylonian empire, he was supported by the Hebrews and in turn supported their rights to return to their ancestral homeland in the infamous Cyrus Declaration.
When Achashverosh acceded to the Persian throne, Hebrews continued to enjoy unprecedented freedoms and opportunities. In 368 BCE, having returned from an extensive and brutal war in which his empire was successfully expanded, Achasverosh, flush with victory over 127 provinces, threw a ball to thank his allies and supporters. The Hebrews, entrenched in the highest echelons of Persian society, commerce, military and government, were invited as equals to this party.
Mordecai warned his people against accepting this invitation arguing that the party would be a perfect opportunity to assimilate wholly and seamlessly into Persia. Haman, the king’s advisor, campaigned for several years against the Jews and finally, having promised Achashverosh ten-thousand silver pieces, he secured permission to annihilate them.
The date for annihilation was set to Adar 13, 356 BCE, but Hadassah, known as Esther, changed the king’s heart. Haman and his sons were hung and the Jews secured the right to defend themselves in war. Not a single Jew died in battle and indeed, six years later the Jews returned to Israel and rebuilt the Temple.