Mid-15th Century Esther Scroll From Spanish Empire Finds A Home In Israel


A mid-15th century Iberian megillah of Esther – also referred to as the Esther scrolls – has been gifted to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

The Iberian Esther scroll is one of the oldest surviving renditions of the biblical tale of Esther taking up her noble destiny to save the Jewish people from the evil Haman.

Experts determined that the mid-15th century scroll was written by a Jewish record-keeper around 1465, prior to the expulsion of Jewish populations from Spain and Portugal at the end of the century.

It was the only complete 15th century megillah currently being held in private hands prior to the donation. There are only a few of these complete megillahs worldwide, and those from the pre-expulsion period in Spain and Portugal are “even rarer, with only a small handful known to exist,” the National Library said.

It was written on leather in brown ink portraying the characteristics of Sephardic script. The section that appears just before the text of the storied Purim tale contains a traditional blessing recited before and after the reading of the megillah, which corresponds with the traditional uses of this scroll in Iberian Jewish communities prior to their expulsion.

Read More: Jerusalem Post