This article is an excerpt from our Sefer
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- Description of Achashveirosh’s reign: Achashveirosh reigned over 127 countries that ranged from Hodu until Kush. The capital city that was home to his throne was called Shushan.
- The feasts: In the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his servants and government officials, the leaders of each country under his reign. The feast lasted 180 days. At the conclusion of the feast he made a seven day feast for all the locals of the capital city of Shushan. Vashti likewise made a feast for the women within the palace courtyards.
- Vashti: Under the influence of a large consumption of wine, the king commanded his advisors to bring his wife Vashti, into the men’s area of the feast, wearing [just] her crown in order to show her beauty to the public. She refused to obey such orders and caused the wrath of the king to flare. Upon advising with his ministers the verdict was given that Vashti would be put to death and a proclamation sent forth to the public that each man will rule his home.
- Esther: Messenger’s of the king were dispersed to find him a new wife to rule in place of Vashti. Esther, the niece and adopted daughter of Mordechai, was taken to the king’s palace. Esther was very beautiful in both figure and facial appearance. Each woman taken had a turn to appear before the King. When it came Esther’s turn, she found favor in the eyes of Achashveirosh and was chosen as Queen from amongst all the other women. Achashveirosh made a feast in honor of his new Queen. Esther, under orders of Mordechai, refused to tell the King of her family’s origin.
- Bigsan and Seresh: Bigsan and Seresh, two servants of the king, plotted an assassination attempt against him [to poison him]. This plot was discovered by Mordechai which had Esther inform the king of its details in the name of Mordechai. The two vandals were hung.
- Haman the viceroy: After the above events Haman was appointed as viceroy by the king. All subjects of the king were required to bow to Haman upon his arrival. Mordechai however refused to bow.
- Haman’s plot: Haman’s wrath boiled at Mordechai and his people and he decided to annihilate all the Jews in the kingdom. In the month of Nissan, Haman played a lottery to determine which month would be most auspicious to destroy the Jewish people. The lottery fell on the month of Adar. He discussed the plot with the king who acquiesced to his request and the signed decree was sent forth to the governors of all nations on the 13th of Nissan. At first, Haman offered money to the king in exchange for the right to destroy the Jews, however the King gladly obliged with the request and forgave the money. The king and Haman sat for a feast and the city of Shushan was in confusion.
- Repentance of the Jews: Mordechai knew of the decree and proceeded to tear his clothing and wear sackcloth, walking the streets of Shushan shouting a bitter cry. Word of the evil decree reached the Jews of every province and they entered into a state of mourning, grief and lamentation.
- Esther is informed of the decree: Esther hears of the sackcloth being worn by Mordechai and sends Hasach to Mordechai to find out the reason for the sackcloth. Esther is informed by Mordechai of the decree and is asked to meet with the king and intervene on behalf of her nation. Esther at first refuses under the pretense of the law prohibiting entrance to the king without royal permission. Mordechai in turn chastises Esther for her reluctance and promises her that if she refuses to intervene G-d will send them another messenger and her and her household will be lost forever.
- The three day fast: Esther, upon agreeing to Mordechai’s request, asks that all the Jews in Shushan fast for three days.
- Esther’s unexpected entrance to the king: On the third day of the fast, Esther entered the king’s inner chambers without receiving royal permission. Esther found favor in the king’s eyes and he passed her the scepter, hence indicating her vindication from the capital offense. He asked Esther as to what is her request. Esther replied that she desires the king and Haman to come to a royal banquet. Haman was hastily summoned to the feast.
- The first feast: At the banquet the king asked Esther what was her request. Esther replied that she desires the king and Haman to return to a second banquet that will take place the next night.
- Haman builds the gallows: Haman returns home from the feast in a bitter sweet mood. He is overjoyed over his close relationship with the king and queen, although is disturbed by Mordechai’s constant refusal to bow to him. Upon taking advice with Zeresh, his wife, and his friends, he decides to hang Mordechai on the gallows the next morning.
- The king’s disturbed sleep: That night Achashveirosh kept on waking up during his sleep. He asked for the book of chronicles to be read before him and the story of Mordechai saving the life of the king was read. He discovers that Mordechai received no reward for his saving of the king’s life.
- Haman’s appointed the task of parading Mordechai: That night Haman walked into the kings courters to ask him permission to hang Mordechai. The king asked Haman what the king should do to the person he desires to honor? Due to Haman’s great ego, he thought the king was referring to him, and he answered that the person should be paraded in the king’s royal garments and royal horse throughout the streets of Shushan. The king then ordered Haman to perform all those honors to Mordechai the Jew. Haman followed those exact instructions and shamefully paraded Mordechai throughout the streets of Shushan, proclaiming “Such shall be done to whom the king wishes to honor”.
- Haman’s return home: Haman returned home after the parade in shame and embarrassment. Upon telling his wife Zeresh, and his advisors, of the events they said to him that if he began falling before Mordechai the Jew he is destined for doom. In the midst of the conversation he was hurriedly taken to the second banquet of Esther which was called for that night.
- The second feast-Haman’s execution: At the feast that night the king asked Esther as to what is her request. She begs the king for mercy to rescind the decree of annihilation against her nation. The king then asked “Who is the man that made such a decree against your nation”, and she pointed at Haman stating “An enemy and wicked man, this Haman the evil”. Haman became bewildered before the king and queen. The king left the banquet in a fiery frenzy of anger to get some fresh air in the royal garden. Haman took the chance to beg Esther for her compassion and mercy. He took to his knees and appeared to be hovering over Esther. Upon the king returning and seeing Haman in this position he shouted “Do you desire to conquer the queen with me in the house?”. The king was then informed by Charvona of the gallows that Haman built to hang Mordechai, and the verdict was given to hang Haman on those very gallows. Haman was then hung on the gallows and the anger of the king subsided.
- The spoils-Appointment of Mordechai-Rescinding of the decree of annihilation: The estate of Haman was given to Esther. The signet ring was then passed to Mordechai, and Esther appointed Mordechai as the ruler of estate of Haman. Esther falls to her knees and pleas before the king to rescind the evil decree of Haman against the Jews. The king replies to Esther and Mordechai that he cannot rescind the decree, although they have permission to write new decrees regarding the Jews, as they see fit.
- The new decree: A new edict is sent forth to all the provinces, stating that on the 13th of Adar all the Jews had royal power to eliminate all their enemies on the 13th of Adar.
- The rejoicing of the Jews: Mordechai would walk around the city of Shushan with royal garments and the Jews in Shushan, as well as the Jews of every province, were filled with joy and delight. Many gentiles converted to Judaism upon seeing the great favor of the Jews in the eyes of the kingdom.
- The battle of the 13th of Adar: On the 13th of Adar that year the Jews stood up for their lives and killed all their enemies that desired to kill them. No one stood in their path, as the fear of the Jews spread throughout all the people of the kingdom. In the capital Shushan 500 men were killed including the ten sons of Haman.
- The battle of the 14th in Shushan: The king asked Esther on the 13th if she is pleased with the results of the warfare on the 13th and if she has any further requests. Esther asks for a further day of battle in Shushan. The king grants her requests and in Shushan they battle a further day, killing another 300 men.
- The results of the battles: The Jews outside of Shushan killed a total of 75000 people. They did not lay their hands on any of the spoils.
- The annual Purim Holiday: The Jews outside Shushan battled on the 13th and rested on the 14th while the Jews in Shushan battled on the 13th and 14th and rested on the 15th. Therefore it was enacted that the un-walled cities are to annually celebrate Purim on the 14th through rejoicing, feasting, sending gifts to each other, and Matanos Laevyonim. This decree was written and sent to all the Jews in the kingdom of Achashveirosh. The holiday was called Purim after the lottery that was made by Haman.
- The taxes; Mordechai’s fame: The king placed taxes upon the lands. The entire story of Purim is written in the Persian chronicles. Mordechai was liked by most of his brethren and performed good for his entire nation.