The Gemara says that Bigtan and Teresh planned to assassinate their boss, King Achashverosh, by poisoning him.

I was doing some serious imbibing to prepare myself for Purim recently, and I heard a heavenly voice inform me that their plan was to lock him in a box in which the poison would be released when an atom decayed.

Could someone please explain their plan to me, and how Mordechai foiled it?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

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    Booooo for forcing a question for the sake of an answer – Y     e     z Mar 15 '16 at 2:04
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    @Yez I honestly thought of the question before the answer. – Shalom Mar 15 '16 at 11:53
  • Then it is the most random brainfart of a question I have ever seen. What in the world would motivate someone to make such a random assertion and assume there would be any meaningful discussion about it? – Y     e     z Mar 16 '16 at 3:16
  • @Yez I thought it would be a good springboard. Witness Gary's excellent answer. – Shalom Mar 16 '16 at 10:28
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    It's very appropriate to poison when an atom decays, since how many atoms in the sample will decay during a period of time follows a poison distribution. – msh210 Mar 17 '16 at 20:24

Eureka! I've found several proofs or hints that indeed this was their plan.

Why is Bigtan's name spelled once without an Aleph, and once with? As a sign of an alpha particle that both exists and doesn't!

And what language where Bigtan and Teresh speaking? Tarshish! That was the destination of Jonah's boat, which means the sailors spoke it. So presumably any speaker of Tarshish understood the phenomenon of tunnelling. As it says, vayachteru ha'anashim!

Furthermore, at the end of the story the Jews all understood this as well, as they had "orah, simcha, sason, and yekar", i.e. "ORH, SS, YKR" The acronym can be rearranged as: "OR HYSSR K'", an obvious reference to the Or HaYashar about Kleves, written by R' Shimon of Copenhagen!


Well, borrowing Occam's razor for a shave this morning, I think I figured it out:

First of all, the assassins didn't need to construct a special room and convince Achashverosh to go into it - they just used the Royal Bathroom. They hid the atom apparatus and the poison in the ..um.. Royal Wiping Sponge. Since they knew Achashverosh had a habit of having a Royal Constitutional for over 45 minutes each morning, they chose to use Carbon-11, with a half-life of just over 20 minutes, so by the time Achashverosh was done, the atom would no doubt decay and release the poison. Just to make sure he would be in there long enough, they fed him plenty of Shmureh Matzah and chicken in pectin for dinner the night before.

Mordechai caught wind of the plot and was able to foil the plan because one of his good friends from shul was the University of Shushan's Chemistry Professor, Dr. Schrodinger. He just had his friend switch the labels on the bottles, so instead of radioactive Carbon-11, they used plain old stable Carbon-12. When the assassins showed up suddenly in the Chemistry Department, the Good Doctor looked up from petting his cat and handed them the "Carbon-11" they requested.

SO--the next morning, one of the assassins handed Achashverosh the rigged sponge as he went in to use the facilities, and they waited patiently. Boy, were they surprised when Achashverosh came out of there after over an hour with a big smile and saying he "felt like a million Darics"! Plot foiled, you know the rest from the Megillah.


According to the Xi Factor, the entire universe could be smaller than an atom. Relativistically we cannot determine this because we too are shrunken. Once the universe becomes too small to encompass one wavelength of an electromagnetic spectrum, that spectrum can no longer exist in the universe.

This is obviously what happened during makkas choshech.

Achashveirosh was scared of the dark and would have had a heart attack under these circumstances.

Bigsan and Seresh tried to decay an atom near Achashveirosh, not to kill him with radiation, but to measure the wavelengths emitted by the decay to see how close the Xi Factor had come to excluding visible radiation from the universe.

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