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Why did Ahasuerus throw such a stupendous party? A 180 day party, wow!

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Holidays » Purim » The Story | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The royal feast hosted by Ahasuerus was primarily a celebration of the perceived downfall of the Jews. Jeremiah prophesied that after seventy years of Babylonian exile the Jews would return to Israel. According to Ahasuerus’ calculations, these seventy years ended in the second year of his reign, for he was counting from when Nebuchadnezzar exiled Yechania, king of Judea, and all the nobles and notables of Jerusalem to Babylon. When the third year of Ahasuerus’ rule arrived without the anticipated redemption, Ahasuerus was ready to party.


At his grandiose banquet, Ahasuerus celebrated G-d’s supposed abandonment of the Jews by donning the priestly garments, and prominently displaying to all the invited guests the utensils which Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the Temple coffers. G-d’s retribution was quick in coming; Vashti (Nebuchadnezzar’s granddaughter) was executed because of her husband’s insane, drunken rage.


“The Eternal One of Israel does not lie nor relent, for He is not a human that he should relent.” Jeremiah’s prophecy indeed came to pass. Exactly seventy years after the destruction of the Temple – which occurred twelve years after the Yechanian Exile – Cyrus gave the order allowing the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.


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Ahasuerus
King of the Persian Empire in the 4th century BCE. Husband of Esther, heroine of the Purim story.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Jeremiah
1. Jewish prophet who lived in the 5th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, containing the prophecies of Jeremiah. The book is replete with prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.