By Lindsey Ilana Glassberg
While men may dominate the narratives of many stories within the Jewish tradition, on Purim, we celebrate of the great Jewish Heroines, Queen Esther. The story begins in the court of King Ahasuerus of Persia, and his queen Vashti. Vashti refused to ‘entertain’ the King and his friends, with her beauty, while they were partying in the palace. Ahasuerus barred Vashti, who he now saw as a threat to his perceived image of power over the land, that held a contest for any woman in the land vying to be the next Queen. It seems as though the King thought he would happen upon a more submissive wife who would not challenge his authority. As the story goes, Esther, who was chosen as the most beautiful young women in the land, seems more gentle and agreeable than the shunned Vashti. She hides her Jewish identity and her relation to her Uncle Mordechai.
Shortly after Esther is crowned the queen, Haman, the King’s sadistic adviser, suggests to the kind, a massacre of the Jewish people. Even in a time before feminism, in which a woman had to submit to the every whim of her husband, and even with the knowledge of her predecessor’s fate, Esther works up the courage to save her people. She approaches the King, without permission, bravely yet graciously, as she knows she could lose her crown or even her life for such a transgression. Ahasuerus is so taken back by her noble courage in the revealing of her own identity to save her people that he spares Esther as well as the Jews in Persia. What we can conclude from this story is that Esther is a certified badass.