When king Ahasuerus offered Queen Esther up to half of the kingdom, it was not only an exaggerated gesture, but a specific geographic location. The Talmud notes that the half-way mark of Ahasuerus’s empire was the site of the Temple. Ahasuerus tells Esther that he is willing to do anything to make her happy short of allowing for the rebuilding of the Temple. Although Cyrus, his predecessor, had allowed the Jews to return to Israel and begin reconstruction of the Temple, Ahasuerus was adamantly against it. In a stroke of divine irony, it was his son Darius, born to him by Esther, who allowed the rebuilding of the Temple.

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Source: Israel in the News