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Topic: Darius II, Esther's Son, Jewishness

Joe Mezrahi wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

In your Purim e-mail you indicated that Esther "brought Darius up to be favorable to the Jews." Wasn't he in fact Jewish himself, being that his mother was Jewish? Isn't it fair to assume that Esther brought him up as a Jew, taught him the mitzvot, gave him a brit milah, etc?


Dear Joe Mezrahi,

Yes, if Esther was his mother, then that would make Darius Jewish. Certainly, too, we can assume that Esther would have done all she could to raise him as a Jew.

But I imagine that King Achashverosh had a great deal to say about the upbringing of his beloved son, the future heir to his throne. Esther may not have been allowed to apply her influence.

And let's not forget one of the great principles of Judaism: People have free will. Even Yitzchak had a wicked son, Esav. Esav, despite his exceptional upbringing at the hands of two of the world's greatest tzaddikim, was the worst of the worst. Why? Because he chose to be so. So too, perhaps Darius, despite whatever Esther may have taught him, fell prey to the lures and difficult temptations of being the world's emperor.


 
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