Megillat Esther Is Not A Hollywood Production

Tonight we read Megillat Esther, which is the story of Purim. (For a quick synopsis of the story, click here.) Theoretically it has all the makings of a Hollywood production – a beauty contest, palace intrigue, assasination plots, an evil villain who gets killed, and the underdogs who win out in the end.

If you look closer, though, there are some gritty parts that Hollywood would certainly airbrush out.

First, the heroine. She is taken away from her home and forced to live in the palace. To put it bluntly, at one point she is raped. It really makes no difference that it is the king that does it, and in the end she is made queen. Some may think that there is some comfort in the fact that her position as queen makes it possible to save the Jewish people – but this can only be a partial comfort. The simple truth is that Esther gives up a lot for her people – real mesiras nefesh.

The ending to the story – the Jews killing the bad guys, hanging Haman and his sons, and then celebrating with feasting and giving both gifts to the poor and food to one another – is indeed happy. Except for Esther.

She doesn’t ride off into the sunset with the handsome hero – she stays married to the drunken oaf of a king.

For whatever reason, Hashem chooses individuals who are moser nefesh for the people of Israel. Whether it is centuries ago in Persia or just in the past two weeks in Israel – amidst the happiness and joy of being Jewish there are those who suffer.

My point is not to be sad – but to be grateful.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. J. Lichty
    Mar 20, 2008 @ 20:16:49

    there actually is a purim movie called A Night With the King or something like that, which I think was produced by Evangelical Christians. My wife’s grandmother, who is an evangelical supporter of Israel and very philo semitic (my wife is a jew by choice) told me about it.

  2. Yehudi
    Mar 20, 2008 @ 23:22:30

    Great post! Chag Purim Sameach!

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