A lovely new Hebrew text of the Scroll of Esther, the Megilah, together with a very readable English translation has just been published. Readers will learn much from this 126 page “Israel Bible Scroll of Esther.” It has a clear and informative summary proceeding each of the ten chapters. It has essays that explain many subjects relating to the Scroll, the holiday of Purim, and Judaism generally. There are among others: an essay on the historical background of the Purim story; a list of the 48 male prophets and 7 female prophets that are mentioned in Tanakh and which Jewish tradition labels as prophets with the citations where the 55 are mentioned in scripture; a catalogue of the Hebrew months and the holidays that occur during the months; maps of the empire of King Ahasuerus; and more.
Each chapter includes additional commentaries which raise thought-provoking questions as well as information with answers and comments from Midrashim. For example: Why did Ahasuerus wait three years before he celebrated assuming his position as king of 127 provinces? Why is the description of Ahasuerus’ palace identical to that of the Tabernacle in Exodus 36:8? Mordecai’s ancestor King Saul showed improper mercy to an enemy king resulting in generations later in the Purim drama. The Hebrew word for exile golah is similar to the Hebrew word for redemption geulah. How did Mordecai learn that two guards planned to murder the king? What does “Amalek” signify? The Hebrew word for silver kesef is related to the Hebrew word for yearning kasaf. What did the Judeans do to cause Haman to conspire to kill them? How did Mordecai inspire Esther to save her people?
Also: What is the meaning of the king’s offer to give Esther half his kingdom? The Hebrew word for wealth asher is similar to the Hebrew word for happiness alef. What night was it that the king could not fall asleep? What is the origin of the word “Jew”? Why did Esther invite her enemy Haman to a banquet? Why is Purim celebrated with wine? What is the origin of the names of the Jewish months? What is the meaning of the word mityahadim; does it mean that non-Jews converted to Judaism? What are the four commands regarding Purim? Did Mordecai return to Israel?
The book contains some of the artwork of Esther Horgen, to whom the book is dedicated. She was an Israeli woman who was murdered on December 20, 2020, by a terrorist outside her home in Israel. The book has her poetic messages of hope and faith and some tales about her heroic and inspiring life written by her husband Benjamin Horgen which was edited by Rabbi Tuley Weisz who also wrote a Foreword to the book. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin wrote letters that were placed in the front of the Book. The proceeds of the sale of the volume will go to the Esther Horgen Memorial Park in Tel Menashe, near the site where Esther Horgen was murdered.