This week, Jews around the world will once again read the Purim story from the Megillah. As always, we will cheer Esther's bravery and blot out the name of the evil villain Haman with boos and noisemakers. But an extraordinary archaeological discovery of just six months ago should change the way we understand the character of the Persian king, Ahasuerus.
This breakthrough in Middle Eastern studies comes from the distinguished biblical scholar and archaeologist Ronan Mueller. While perusing previously unrevealed documents he unearthed from the Cairo Genizah, Mueller discovered numerous Aramaic and Farsi inscriptions that point to a covert connection between King Ahasuerus of Shushan and King Boris Badanov, Emperor of the ancient Scythian-Russian Confederation. Consider this excerpt from the a key surviving section of the Kurgan Tolstoya Scroll, Fragment #613:
I, Ahasuerus, King of Persia and Very Stable Genius, have profited bigly from my collusion with King Badanov, paving my way to a landslide victory in the Persian election of 247 BCE. But hey, no one can prove this, so it will always be Fake News and for anyone who suggests otherwise--well, know that they are laughing their asses off in the Carpathian Mountains over how the Farsi Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has handled this investigation.
This amazing textual discovery should not stop any of us from laughing, singing, and stomping our feet as we read the Megillah here at CABI on Wednesday night. But to honor Ronen Mueller's revelatory work, I suggest that this year, upon reaching the Megillah's end, we all drink a White Russian or two and toast "L'Chaim!"--or "Nostrovia!"--to King Ahasuerus and the bots who put him in power despite his losing the Persian popular vote.