Esther Unmasked: Solving Eleven Mysteries of the Jewish Holidays and Liturgy By Mitchell First
Mitchell First is a very talented Jewish scholar. He is able to challenge traditional assumptions and reach new, often groundbreaking, conclusions. His articles are meticulously researched, relying both on rabbinic sources and historians of antiquity. A main article explains how both Achashverosh and Esther can be identified in ancient sources. The entire volume consists of eleven articles that address mysterious aspects of the yearly cycle of Jewish holidays and liturgy: what is the meaning of the cryptic phrase in the Sukkot liturgy Ani ve-Ho? what motivated Antiochus to persecute the Jews? what is the origin of Taanit Esther? how many questions were there in the original Mah Nishtannah? why does pe precede ayin in the acrostics of the book of Eikhah?, and more.
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