Queen Esther: How to be a Strong Jewish Woman in a Man’s World

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6 Responses

  1. micha says:

    Queen Esther martyrs herself to spend the rest of her so-called-life married to a drunken boor who doesn’t share her values or religion and only wants her for her body. (The truth is, thinking about Esther’s life saddens me. I don’t think “martyrs herself” is an exaggeration.) “She doesn’t allow herself to be valued for her physical appearance”? Of course she did! Achashveirosh didn’t have the women spend a year refining their minds, and they didn’t spend the night in the king’s chamber answering interview questions to prove their counseling ability. The only way a woman had power in the Persian and Median Empire was to be a manipulative femme fatale. AND, the Megillah is quite clear that Mordechai prodded her every step of the way. She doesn’t reveal her royal lineage, which would have gotten her off the hook — at Mordechai’s behest. (Recall, this was to replace Vashti, who felt her own royal blood gave her a right to say “no”.) Esther goes to the king to invite him to the first party — at Mordechai’s pushing. “Perhaps it was for a time like this that you were brought to the throne.” As yourself write, she “she takes orders from her own religious authority”. So her power is in choosing to listen to her adoptive father over her drunk boor of a husband. That’s a model for feminine autonomy and strength?

    The truth is, of all the lessons one can draw from the book of Esther or from her life as Chazal capture it, I don’t think the one you’re drawing really works.

    What we see in Esther is a general growth toward strength and autonomy. The number of decisions she makes after the two parties, that lead to fighting on the next day in Shushan, the enactment of Purim as a holiday, etc…

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Wasn’t Vashti called in from her own raucous party? In her own way, she was as gross as her husband.

  3. Ralph Suiskind says:

    You mean to say that Open Orthodox Rabbis got it wrong ! One of their biblical heroines is Esther who was the one in the Purim Story! Where would Open Orthodox be without her !!!!

  4. Truth says:

    Excellent Article!

  5. Marc says:

    According to the gemora she also devised the scheme of inviting Achashvairosh and Homan to the party. It lists an astonishing number of diverse reasons for her doing so. Amongst them, she did so both to protect herself by misdirecting Homan as well as to use both physical and spiritual means to cause his death. She was a genius, an extremely dangerous and ruthless opponent. She accepted Mordechai’s psak but then turned it into warfare on multiple dimensions. Next to her Vashti was a joke, a spoiled stubborn drama queen. Imagine, Homon probably barely noticed her, she was just this meek little thing, the King’s new toy, but all the while she’s plotting how to kill him. I’m very happy for my girl’s to dress up as Esther! Down with Homon!

  6. Chochom b'mahnishtaneh says:


    By the OO and the rest off the non orthodox and radical feminists, it is Vashti who is the heroine.

    Just shows absolutely backwards they all are.

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