Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for March 2012

cain
When babies are given names in the bible, the name is chosen to reflect the situation of the birth, sometimes as a comment on the parents’ predicament, sometimes an acknowledgement of God’s role in the birth or the general situation, and sometimes prophetically, as an expectation of what the named child will become.

A Who’s Who of the Hebrew bible will explain the meaning of any name, and very often, as with the characters invented by Charles Dickens, the name expresses some characteristic of the person.

In the modern world, a child’s given name may indicate many things: nationality, religion and class for example. They reflect social trends, media and celebrity culture. The influence of celebrity names is determined by other factors besides the popularity of the celebrity. For some reason, more Marilyns than Elvises were born in the 1950s; perhaps more Nevilles than Winstons in the 1940s. Even certain patterns of sound can become popular trends: consider that Aidan, Jayden and Kayden were amongst the top boys’ names in the UK in 2011, Ella, Bella (an allusion to the Twilight series of fiction) and Ellie for girls. Surnames such as Howard and Harrison become popularized as given names. Why were so many Jewish boys in the 1940s given the Welsh name Melvyn?

Cain and Abel

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man (קניתי איש) with the help of the LORD.”
And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

Cain’s name is from the verb ק נ ה, to acquire, buy, get. It has two strong consonants in common with ק נ א, to be jealous, conceptually linked with possession or acquisition. God’s relationship with Israel is expressed as קנה at the Song at the Sea: … till your people, O LORD, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased.

The naming of Abel is not accounted for in the Genesis narrative, but הבל is usually translated as vanity, especially in its context in Ecclesiastes, suggesting something transitory and insignificant. In our morning prayer service we say: Ki hacol havel levad haneshamah hatehorah – Everything is trivial except the pure soul.

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
Genesis 4:25
ותקרא את־שמו שת כי שת־לי אלהים זרע אחר תחת הבל

Noah

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief (זה ינחמנו) from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”

The names Nahum or Nahman would have fitted the etymology of yenachamenu, and the name of Noah looks as if it comes from נ וּ ח, to rest, as in ותּנח התּבה …and the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

Ishmael’s name, connected with shema, comes from the same source as Simeon, chosen later by Leah for her second son. Note that the name Samuel is spelled with an aleph rather than an ayin, so is not linked to the concept of hearing in the same way.

The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”
The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”
The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened (כי שמע יי) to your affliction.

The source of the name Isaac is well known, based on a pun made by Sarah:

Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh (כל השמע יצחק־לי) over me.”

More puzzling is the naming of Esau:

The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau.
Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel (בעקב), so his name was called Jacob.

Esau is described as admoni, ruddy, and seir, hairy, which explains his names Edom and Seir, but what does Esav mean? The letters ayin sin vav spell the word that means ‘do’, third person or imperative plural, as in, for example עשו להם ציצית, ‘make themselves fringes’. Does the fact that Esau is a hunter have any bearing on a name which might be connected with ‘doing’?

Jacob’s sons are all given significant names, which reflect the circumstances of their birth. Leah in particular names her sons with pious allusions to God who responded to her prayers.

And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction (ראה יי בעניי); for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated (שמע יי כי שנוּאה), he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me (ילוה אישי), because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise (אודה) the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah.

Rachel, in naming the children of Bilhah her handmaid, reveals her competitive feelings about her sister and Leah responds similarly when Zilpah gives birth:

And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me (דנני), and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.
Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister (נפתוּלי אלהים נפתלתי עם אחתי) and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.
When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” (בא גד) so she called his name Gad. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. And Leah said, “Happy am I! (באשרי) For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.

The sisters then quarrel, haggling over the valuable mandrakes found by Reuben. Rachel bargains with Leah by promising access to Jacob, and the fertile Leah gives birth to another son:

Leah said, “God has given me my reward (סכרי) because I gave my maid to my husband”; so she named him Issachar.19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honour me (יזבּלני אישי), because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun. Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.

Rachel’s two sons’ names are poignantly descriptive of Rachel experience:

Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.
She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”
And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add (יסף) to me another son!”

And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni;but his father called him Benjamin.

On ‘Thought for the Day’ last Friday (23 March 2012), Rabbi Lord Sacks referred to the Egyptian etymology of the name Moses, a suffix meaning ‘child’, as in Ramses, child of Ra, while acknowledging that the Hebrew etymology gives Moses another meaning:

When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him (משיתהו) out of the water.”

Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her home, along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”, and the name of the other, Eliezer, for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”.

Regarding Moses’ two sons, we know very little other than their names and the strange circumstances of Gershom’s circumcision. We can find the names of their descendants, however, in 1 Chronicles 23.

The naming of Samuel is interesting as his name should mean something like ‘Name and God’, Shem v’ El. Hannah makes an association with שאל, to ask, which seems to belong less to Samuel than to his protegé Saul.

And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him (שאלתיו) from the LORD.”

The unnamed widow of Phinehas, Eli’s son, alludes to the loss of the Holy Ark, which is seized by the Philistines:

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” (גלה כבוד מישראל)

Solomon, unusually, is given two names, the second, Jedidiah, at the instigation of the prophet Nathan. Robert Alter suggests that Jedidiah, meaning ‘beloved of God’ indicates Nathan’s identification with Bathsheba’s cause, as will become apparent when he supports Solomon later, against his older brother Adonijah, as the successor to David.

Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.

Isaac was also called yedid, the son whom Abraham loved.

Sometimes the etymology is approximate, or based on a transposition of consonants, as in the case of a descendant of Judah called Jabez, based on the word B’azav, ‘in pain’. When the adult Jabez prays to God to enlarge his territory, he adds the words: levilti azbi, ‘that it may not pain me’ and God answers his prayer.

Jabez was more honourable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain (כי ילדתי בעצב).”

Some names allude to disasters which have befallen the person naming the child:

And Ephraim went in to his wife, and she conceived and bore a son. And he called his name Beriah, because disaster had befallen his house (כי ברעה היתה בביתו).

We have seen that Hosea’s wife bore children whose names suggested God’s abandonment of Israel. Conversely Job’s daughters have names which mean daylight, perfume and reversal of fortune:

And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch.

Names which reveal character or destiny from birth seem to belong more to the realm of literature than that of history. It is common for historical personages to be called ‘the Great,’ ‘the Terrible’, ‘Epiphanes’, ‘Longshanks’, ‘Milk-snatcher’ etc, but these are soubriquets, based on deeds or appearance.

The question arising from biblical names concerns their prophetic character. Does the parent know que sera, or are they simply expressing their hopes and fears about the future. Perhaps the etymology is added, with historical hindsight, as an explanation of the named character.

Some biblical names are meaningful in the absence of any infancy narrative; an instance of this would be David, whose name, ‘beloved’, is highly significant. Another is Saul, the ‘asked-for’ king.

The absence of any clearly discernible meaning in a biblical name seems to argue in favour of the historicity of the person in question.

Advertisements

Performed with Powerpoint, music and pictures, at Sha’arei Tsedek North London Synagogue on 7 March 2012

ESTHER CHAPTER ONE

From Ahasuerus (king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe)
To medes@media.com; satraps@persia.co.pe; princes@ethiopia.co.et; raj@hodu.co.in;
Cc achaemenids@shushan.org.pe
SUBJECT Invitation

Ahasuerus King of Persia requests the pleasure of your company at a banquet to be held at Shushan the Castle.

‘We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart,’ to quote our court poet, Sheikh Spir.

WACS (wives and concubines) will be welcome at a banquet given by Queen Vashti in Her Majesty’s private boutique.

The most royal and gracious

Ahasuerus

Dress: informal blue/purple linen
RSVP info@shushan.org.pe

*

From Ahasuerus (king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe)

To Memucan@satraps.com; et cetera

SUBJECT Vashti the Queen

Having REALLY MERRY time with courtiers and satraps – one prince came all the way from India on an ELEPHANT LOL!!!

It will be our pleasure for you to fetch Queen Vashti PRONTO, so that these guys can see her in the flesh. Eat your heart out, Menelaus!

The most royal and gracious sovereign
Ahasuerus

PS Tell her to wear her crown!!!

*

SMS

No way King A! Am having gr8 time in harem with unux, 2BZ2 meet ur geeky friends. C u (much) l8er, VashT

*

From: Memucan Memucan@yesucan.com
To: King Ahasuerus (king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe)
SUBJECT Vashti the Queen

Your Majesty
Queen Vashti has wronged not only your royal person but all the husbands in your empire. She has shown the kind of disrespect that leads inevitably to a breakdown in family values and the subversion of identity. I urge you to divorce Vashti at once and replace her with another, better than she.
BTW thanks for the awesome banquet.
Your devoted servant
Memucan (Prince)

*

MEMO
ATTN Princes of Persia and Media
From: Prince Memucan
Re: the person formerly known as queen Vashti

HM King Ahasuerus is divorcing Vashti. She will cease to be Queen forthwith and is not to be referred to as HRH.
Make it known in your own households that every woman is to be subservient to her husband. This is an unalterable decree of the Medes and the Persians and is available in the following languages: Akkadian, Aramaic, Coptic, Elamite, Greek, Hebrew, Klingon, Parsi, Sanskrit, Sumerian and Welsh.

*
CHAPTER 2
Classified
Inexperienced and obedient maiden required by royal male. Must have stunning good looks and an agreeable disposition. Must be amenable to new experiences and say yes to everything.
Apply to hegaitheeunuch@shushan.org.pe

No mingers

*

15th Samiyama

Dear Hegai
My foster daughter Hadassah (also known as Esther) has all the virtues required in your advertisement which appeared in the Star of Shushan on 14th Samiyamas. She is also virtuous, obedient and speaks five languages (Elamite, Aramaic, Hebrew, Elvish and Esperanto). She has just two desires: the well-being of His Gracious Majesty King Ahasuerus, and world peace.
Yours sincerely
Mordecai ben Jair

*
SMS
Hi uncle Mordecai am well treated at Palace – free myrrh and all u can eat!! – and have kept QT re Jewish Gen and whole exile schtick. Got King to autograph my chador. Worst case scenario can sell it on ebay. Esther xx

*

My dear Esther
Just want you to know I’m very proud of you. I’m sure you’ll make the best of your new role, and remember, because this is important, don’t mention the J word, at least not until I say so. Have been networking with some of the eunuchs, who keep me up to date with court gossip (They tell me those nebekhs Bigthan and Teresh are looking for a grievance lawyer).
With love from your affectionate
Uncle Mordecai

*

From estherthequeen@royalapartments.org.pe
To king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe
Bcc: mordecaibenjair@benjamites.com

SUBJECT: Conspiracy

My most dear and gracious husband and king, Ahasuerus of Persia and Media,

It pains me to tell you that I have been informed of a plot against your royal person. This has been discovered by your trusted servant Mordecai ben Jair who works in the Accounts Department. He has heard that your chamberlains Bigthan and Teresh seek your life as a reprisal for their failure to make promotion to Grade 6. Bigthan also asserts that he is owed overtime for serving wine at your most recent banquet, which he says is not within his remit.
Mordecai begs you to take steps against these evildoers and thwart their conspiracy, to which petition I add my own signature

Esther

*

From king.ahasuerus@shushan.org.pe
To Memucan@yesucan.com
SUBJECT FW: Conspiracy

Memucan, deal with this ASAP and get it written up in the Book of Chronicles (not that anybody reads those bubbemeisers).
The most Royal etc
Ahasuerus
*

CHAPTER THREE
MEMO
ATTN princes, satraps, chamberlains courtiers and hoi polloi
From: Haman
Re: Haman
All the Kings’ servants are to prostrate themselves in the presence of Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. That includes the princes. No one is exempt. Especially not the accountants.

*

Twitter

Shushan_cushion Carcas
@Bizzetha What do you make of fact that Mordecai the Jew won’t bow down to #Haman?
2 hours ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Shushan_cushion@Abagtha Someone should have a word with #Mordecai as Haman is getting well miffed. Please RT
1 hour ago

Abagtha Abagtha
@Bizzworks@Cheeseeater Why is #Mordecai trending on twitter? Is this the dude from accounts who won’t bow to #Haman? Do we want him to bow?
25 minutes ago

Cheeseeater Harbona
@Abagtha Of course we want him to bow. And scrape. Got to keep #Haman happy. Tell #Mordecai he has to prostrate himself like rest of us. RT
18 minutes ago

Abagtha Abagtha
@Cheeseeater Prostate?
15 minutes ago

Cheeseeater Harbona
@Abagtha Prostrate. Keep up
14 minutes ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Abagtha. #Mordecai is only trending in Shushan. Doubt that he’s trending in Halicarnassus for example
10 minutes ago

Abagtha Abagtha
@Bizzworks Is anything trending in Halicarnassus?
7 minutes ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Abagtha No way. Nothing ever happens there, place is like a tomb
5 minutes ago

Bizzworks Bizzetha
@Shushan_cushion@Abagtha Someone should have a word with #Mordecai as Haman is getting well miffed. Please RT
Retweeted by Shushan_cushion

*

STAR OF SHUSHAN ¼ silver talent
13 Hadukannaš
12th year of King Ahasuerus

MORDECAI WON’T KOWTOW IN HAMAN BOW ROW

Chief Minister Haman is furious that palace accountant Mordecai ben Jair, 46, still refuses to bow down to him. Haman, 52, has demanded that all the King’s servants prostrate themselves before him. ‘I won’t kowtow’ says Ben Jair, whose Jewish grandparents were carried away from Judah in the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

Haman was not available for an interview but a source close to the Minister has revealed that he has an audience with the King today.

STUDENT UNREST HALTS CHARIOTS IN THERMOPYLAE
Disgruntled Spartan students prevented traffic crossing the pass at Thermopylae yesterday during an anti-Persian demonstration. Several windows were broken in Argos, as rioters laid their hands upon
the spoil.

Banished Vashti sells Sushi from sea shore in Shushan
Disgraced queen Vashti has opened a fashionable Sushi restaurant in West Shushan, offering fresh fish from the Caspian Sea. ‘I find my new business both profitable and empowering,’ Vashti tells our reporter. See page 5 for our exclusive interview.

*

RECORD OF A MEETING BETWEEN HM KING AHASUERUS AND CHIEF MINISTER HAMAN
13 Nisan 12th year of the reign of King Ahasuerus
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
Present: HM King Ahasuerus, Chief Minister Haman, Zethar the Scribe

Haman reported that there is a certain people scattered through all the provinces of the kingdom who do not keep the King’s laws and should therefore be destroyed.

The Minister then explained that he had cast pur, that is to say lots, and found that the 13th day of the month of Adar would be an auspicious time for the destruction of these people.

HM the King then removed his ring and said ‘Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, I give you this ring as a seal of my confidence in you. Deal with these people in any way which seems good to you.’

It was agreed that letters to this effect would be posted to the satraps of all the provinces, all the letters to be sealed by the King’s ring.

HM the King said ‘Does that mean I have to sit on the photocopier?’

The decree is to be published instantly in Shushan the Castle.

Recorded by Zethar the Scribe

CHAPTER FOUR

SMS
Uncle M am sending u clothes as hear u tore urs and r wearing sackcloth. Sorry ur :(. Am sending my servant Hatach the unuk 2 c u Esther xx

From Hatach@chamberlains.org.pe
To estherthequeen@royalapartments.org.pe
SUBJECT: Mr M Ben Jair

Your Royal Highness Queen Esther
I visited Mordecai Ben Jair according to your command. He asks me to tell you that Haman the Agagite is plotting the extermination of all the Jews in the Persian Empire (see attachment). He requests very strenuously that you approach the King and ask him to spare your people.
Yours respectfully
Hatach the chamberlain

SMS
Uncle M u know no1 may approach KA unless summoned. He has not called me and if I do what u say he will probably have me killed!!!
E xx

*
SMS
Esther, do not think u will s cape just bcos ur in the palace. If u hold ur pce deliverance will come from an other ¼. Who knows if u have not come to royal est8 4 just such a time as this? M x

*

SMS
Am fasting 3 days. Please have all Jews in Shushan do same. Then I will c king and if I die I die. E 

*

CHAPTER FIVE

Facebook

Bizzetha the Chamberlain
Breaking news: Queen Esther approached His Majesty’s inner court without being summoned. Whoops!

52 minutes ago
2 people like this

View all 11 comments

Abagtha: Pourquoi ‘whoops’?
48 minutes ago

Bizzetha: Because it’s a capital offence, that’s why whoops. Luckily for her, she still has her head.
45 minutes ago

1 person likes this

Harbona: I heard she wants to give a banquet for HM and Haman
30 minutes ago

Abagtha: What’s HM? Is it short for Haman?
28 minutes ago

Bizzetha: His Majesty
25 minutes ago

Harbona: I also heard about the banquet. Haman must be well pleased.
15 minutes ago

1 person dislikes this

Bizzetha: It’s a great honour for him. Can’t understand why he still complains about Mordecai not bowing. He must be a goblet half empty person.
11 minutes ago

Abagtha: Which goblet is that?
9 minutes ago

Bizzetha: It’s a notional goblet.
5 minutes ago

Abagtha: You can get them in Argos.
4 minutes ago

Recent activity
Haman seems to be hell bent on destr… on Harbona’s wall
Bizzetha and Memucan are now friends
Bizzetha has unfriended Vashti, Bigthan and Teresh

SMS
Haman pls call in at B&Q on ur way home and get a gallows 50 qbits high. Arrange with the king to have Mordecai hanged b4 u go 2 the banquet, that will show him. Luv from ur clever wife Zeresh

SMS
Dear Z Am in B&Q now trying to find sales assistant. H

From King Ahasuerus
To Zethar et cetera
SUBJECT Records of the Chronicles

Be advised that I have been reading the records in the book of Chronicles and wish to show gratitude to Mordecai the Jew who uncovered a heinous plot against my life. The wrongdoers were punished but Mordecai has not yet been rewarded.

Another thing: tell the court physician to bring me further supplies of a sleeping potion – I think he calls it mandrazepam – as I have run out.

Your most royal and gracious sovereign

Ahasuerus

*

STAR OF SHUSHAN
¼ silver talent
19 Hadukannaš
12th year of King Ahasuerus

AGAGITE GOES GAGA AT MORDECAI HONOUR SAGA

Chief Minister Haman the Agagite is said to be fuming as King Ahasuerus honoured Mordecai ben Jair today with a horseback procession. Ben Jair, 43, was mounted on the king’s horse and dressed in royal apparel while Haman, 54, led him through the streets of Shushan. Sources close to Haman have revealed that the minister was expecting to be honoured himself and has long held a grudge against Mordecai. Straight after the parade, he was seen hurrying home with his head covered. Haman’s wife Zeresh, an attractive brunette, 49, said: ‘If Mordecai is of Jewish origin, Haman will not prevail against him’. Zeresh’s name has been linked with that of Hocham, one of Haman’s advisors. They were seen last night at one of Shushan’s liveliest venues, ‘The Purple Turtledove’, sharing a goblet of wine with two straws and a papyrus umbrella.

MORDECAI FINDS SUPPORT ABROAD Sha’arei Tsedek, a poor community in the land of the Britons, called on King Ahashuerus to respect the rights of Persian Jews. Their leader, Rav Eimer, seen here addressing a meeting of Mordecai’s supporters warned of the dangers of Amalekite anti-semitism.’

Foreign news: Ezra lambasts Jerusalemites for taking Moabite wives. See page 12

*

CHAPTER SEVEN

Wonderful banquet Esther babe, Californian Pinot has lively bouquet with notes of vanilla. Tell me what u want and I’ll give it 2 u, even if it’s ½ my kingdom LOL!!! King A

*

Majesty I ask only 4 my life and the lives of my people 4 we are sold 2b destroyed. QE xx

*

Say what? Who dunnit? KA

*
An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman. QE xx

*
Omg that makes me cross. Am going outside 4 a smoke. KA

*
Help! Haman being inappropri8 invading my personal space. Yuk! QE xx

*

?? Will he force the queen b4 my face??!!

*

From Harbona
To King Ahasuerus
SUBJECT Gallows

Your Royal Highness
It may interest you to know that Haman owns a gallows fifty cubits high, on which he intended to hang Mordecai. As Mordecai is Your Majesty’s valued advisor, and it seems a shame to waste a good gallows, you may wish to have Haman hanged in his place. (It is in Haman’s garden, next to the shed, just past the garden gnomes.)
Your ever-so-humble servant
Harbona

*

From King Ahasuerus
To Harbona
SUBJECT Gallows

See to it.

Ahasuerus

*

From Harbona
To King Ahasuerus
SUBJECT Gallows

Haman son of Hammedatha sleeps with the fishes.

*

From King Ahasuerus
To Harbona
SUBJECT Gallows

I’m not interested in his private life. Just kill him.

Ahasuerus

*

CHAPTER EIGHT

Dear husband, King Ahasuerus
Uncle Mordecai and I are very grateful for the kind gift of your ring which you took off Haman to give Uncle Mordecai. I am sure he will enjoy wearing it. Thank you also for the generous gift of Haman’s house. It is wonderfully spacious and the garden is charming (I have donated the gnomes to a charity which provides for the gnomeless).

If you will forgive one further demand on your goodwill, I request that you reverse the letters devised by Haman authorising the destruction of the Jews in all the provinces of the Empire.

I do not wish to be importunate, but this means a great deal to me. I was encouraged by the way you held out your sceptre to me last night, which led me to believe that you were pleased to see me.

With gratitude and big hugs xoxox

Esther

*

MEMO
Attn: Scribes
From: His Majesty King Ahasuerus
Re: the Jews

Concerning the Jews

Letters are to be sent to all satraps, governors and princes of the provinces that the Jews are permitted to defend themselves against anyone who attacks them. This is a decree of state. Horses to be sourced from royal stables for maximum speed. No camels, as speed is of the essence. Anyone using a camel to transport a royal decree will be clamped.

Ahasuerus

PS Mordecai to be kitted out by court tailors in blue and white with purple cape and gold crown (not as big as my crown).

*

CHAPTER NINE
STAR OF SHUSHAN ½ silver talent
13th Miyakannaš
13th year of King Ahasuerus

500 DIE IN SHUSHAN AS AGAGITE COUP FAILS

The Jews of Shushan took up the sword today to defend themselves against supporters of the late minister Haman the Agagite. Among the dead are believed to be the ten sons of Haman: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Viagra.

Dalphon was a graduate of the London School of Economics, where he had achieved an upper second in Political Science. Poratha was a major shareholder in the company Nabatean Consolidated Olives. Shares in NCO are down by 4%.

Parmashta had been linked romantically with Princess Rhodogune, who is now betrothed to the Armenian satrap Orontes. Rhodogune, an attractive redhead, 22, told our interviewer ‘Even though everything was over between us, I’ll never forget Smashmashta…Parthamster…whatever’.

Memucan the Chamberlain has suggested that Jewish reprisals in Shushan have been disproportionate. The Star of Shushan can reveal Mordecai’s comment, exclusive to our reporter: ‘We had some very old scores to settle with the Agagites. It was necessary to blot out the memory of Amalek.’

SUSHI QUEEN OPENS PIZZA PARLOUR IN PERSEPOLIS
Vashti, CEO of the successful Sushi Queen chain of restaurants, and former wife of King Ahasuerus, has diversified into Etruscan cuisine with her new restaurant ‘Parsi Pizzas’. Let’s hope the Parsi pizzas surpass the Shushan sushi!

.
From Mordecai (Mbjair.privycouncil@shushan.org.pe)

To Board of Deputies of Persian Jews (bod@provinces.org.pe);
Sanhedrin (posterity@yavneh.co.il)

Cc Judah ha Nasi (tannaim@mishnah.co.il)
Bcc Queen Esther (estherthequeen@royalapartments.org.pe)

SUBJECT Purim

As the wicked Haman was foiled in his attempt to exterminate the Jews of the Persian Empire, we enjoin upon all the Jews in the empire and in posterity to keep 14th Adar every year as a festival (14th and 15th if you live in a walled city – you know who you are), from generation to generation, so that the memory of these days shall not perish.

*

From Queen Esther
To Board of Deputies of Persian Jews
Sanhedrin
Cc Judah ha Nasi
Bcc Mordecai

SUBJECT Purim

Hi everyone
I know we haven’t met but I’m the Queen here in Shushan, which isn’t bad going for an exiled Jewish orphan, even if I say it myself LOL!! Anyway I want a book written about these events and I hope there won’t be any argument about its place in the Bible (Rabbi Judah please note!). Don’t forget to mention that Uncle Mordecai and I are from the tribe of Benjamin because I’m not totally happy with the way we Benjamites are depicted in some parts of Judges and Samuel and I think people should know that we finished off Haman and the Agagites and Amalekites ONCE AND FOR ALL. This is very good news for all of us as it spells the END for anti-semitism! 🙂
Xoxox

Esther

CHAPTER TEN
Twitter

Harbona: Mordecai’s become the most powerful man in Shushan. The Chosen People always get themselves chosen for positions of power.
30 minutes ago

Bizzetha: Typical! What about all the Persians who get passed over for promotion?
25 minutes ago

Harbona: Yeah it’s the Jewish lobby, they control everything at Court.
22 minutes ago

Abagtha: I think Mordecai’s all right, he’s a dude. He lent me his dvd of ‘300’, ROTFL comedy where 300 Greek guys beat Persian army AS IF!!
10 minutes ago

Star of Shushan
Macedonians protest as Mordecai introduces VAT on Thracian slaves.
Retweeted 100+ times