Megillat Esther leaves numerous questions in my mind, that are unexplained in the Megillah. A lot of it is filled in in the Talmud and various Midrashim. But, one has to sift through numerous pages and sources to piece the parts together.
Has anyone compiled an online source or book that explains some of the background behind the story? Some of the things I'm looking for are:
- History of the Persian Empire before and after Megillat Esther. How did Achashverush and Vashti come to power? WHen did Jews arrive? What was their main occupation? How did they live?
- History / ecplanations of the royal "customs". The Megillah, esp. at the beginning says, frequently, "this was the custom" - when / why were these established?
- Background / bio of the key people mentioned in the Megillah. We see a few "smaller" characters such as Hatach, Memuchan, etc. who say or decided things, but little is said about them.
As mentioned, I know I can sift through the Talmud, etc. But, I'd rather see most of these items in one place.