Tag Archives: Purim

Jew of the Week: Mordechai

‘The Triumph of Mordechai’ by Pieter Lastman (1624)

Mordechai “Bilshan” ben Yair (c. 5th century BCE) was a Jewish official in the court of the Persian King Xerxes (Ahashverosh). He raised his orphan cousin Esther, who subsequently became the queen of Persia. Mordechai famously refused to bow down to the evil genocidal minister Haman, who sought to deify himself as a god. Thanks to Mordechai’s previous foiling of a plot to overthrow the king, Haman was unable to take revenge on him. Instead, Haman himself was hanged on the gallows he had made for Mordechai, and Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews was averted. Mordechai was elected to replace Haman as minister. He and Esther instituted the holiday of Purim to commemorate the miraculous victory, and wrote its history in the Scroll of Esther. (Establishing a new holiday was no easy feat, and was one of the great debates of its day, with significant implications for the future of Judaism.) The Talmud states that Mordechai was a prophet, and ultimately returned to Israel, helping to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and re-establish Jewish life in the Holy Land following the Babylonian Captivity. He is sometimes identified with the prophet Malachi, and is called “Bilshan” because he was a ba’al lashon, a speaker of many languages (seventy languages, according to several sources). He ended his life as a member of the Knesset haGedolah, the Great Assembly which composed the first formal texts of Jewish prayer and compiled the Holy Scriptures to produce the first official Tanakh. Happy Purim!

The Incredible Purim Code That Prophesied the Nazi Nuremberg Trials

Purim: The First Jewish Holiday

Words of the Week

The people which faithfully honoured for 2500 years the oath sworn by the Rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem – this people will never reconcile itself with separation from Jerusalem… For the State of Israel there has always been, and always will be, one capital only – Jerusalem the eternal.
– David Ben-Gurion

Jew of the Week: Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons, Family Jew

Chaim Witz, aka Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons (b. 1949) Born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel to Hungarian Holocaust survivors, he emigrated with his mother to New York when he was 8 years old. Witz attended Yeshiva Torah V’Daat in Brooklyn. Later, he took up his mother’s maiden name and was known as Eugene Klein. After having played in several bands, he formed a new one called Kiss, a Hungarian translation of his last name, which means “small”. Due to their love of Purim, the band has become famous for their flamboyant costumes and make-up. Simmons has since starred in multiple films and TV shows, has published 5 books and several science fiction magazines (he is a fan of the genre). On a recent visit to Israel, he said “I’m Israeli. I’m a stranger in America. I’m an outsider”.

Chaim Witz, aka the Demon

Words of the Week

One whom people are pleased with, G-d is pleased with him; but one whom people are not pleased with, G-d is not pleased with him
Pirkei Avot 3:10