Hey, man

Things I thought about during the Megilla reading this year, in no particular order. I’m not saying I thought of all this actually during the reading, some of it is expansions of the original ideas that are coming to me as I write it down

I’m not sure if this counts as a meme. RenReb did a post with this subject last year, and Dov Bear picked it up and repeated his post this year. ADDeRabbi had a good one too which I just saw because bloglines resyndicated it.

  • Ancient Persians had really silly names. Sha`ashgaz. Karshena. Hharvona. Apart from Mordechai and Esther, which are Babylonian, the only sensible name in the whole book is Haman. Actually, Sha`ashgaz would be a rather cool name for a cat. Especially a Persian cat.
  • How did Haman come to fall on Esther’s couch? Was he prostrating himself to her (which would be a nice dramatic irony considering that the driving motive behind most of the plot is that Mordechai refused to prostrate himself to Haman) or is it a slapstick thing, that he got up to beg for mercy after one too many cups of wine and just fell over?
    Either way, the word “fall” is certainly dramatic irony (look at verse 6:13).
  • OK, so the chiastic structure of the whole book is really obvious. But what about the little chiasmi (if that is the right word)? For example, in 5:10 Haman summons his friends and his wife, and in 5:14 his wife and his friends answer him. In 6:13 he tells his wife and his friends what happened, and his wise men and his wife answer him.
  • I love the way Algerians pronounce a gimmel without dagesh, e.g. in אֲגָגִי.
  • What were the סְפָרִים in which they sent out the proclamations? Clay tablets?
  • I wonder if the Persian words in the Megilla are attested in old Persian texts. If they are, I could blog about it and put them in in Unicode Persian cuneiform and nobody without the right geeky fonts could read them. Like this: 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 (that’s Ahasuerus’ name, assuming that Ahasuerus is Xerxes).