Purim is a minor festival telling the story of the saving of the Jews from possible annihilation in the Persian Empire, 473 B.C.E. The Persian King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, has a prime minister named Haman. Haman is angry because one particular Jew named Mordechai refuses to bow down before him, giving him the respect of royalty.
Haman’s response to this is to order the killing of all the Jews. Queen Esther, Mordechai’s younger cousin, asks Ahasuerus to reverse Haman’s order. He complies, and instead has Haman and his 10 sons hanged. [Read more…]