MembersThe Dark Side of Purim: Why Queen Esther Was Braver Than You Think

The tragic truth behind Queen Esther’s story is hard to face, but if viewed with courage it can change modern day feminism in a godly way

Purim is a joyous holiday told in fairytale-like renditions, but the reality was something less cheerful.
Purim is a joyous holiday told in fairytale-like renditions, but the reality was something less cheerful. Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

Purim is my favorite Jewish holiday. It’s a whirlwind day, rich with original costumes, extravagant city parades, and gift baskets filled with the reason for your next cavity – what’s not to like about Purim?

When I was a student in elementary school in Israel, come the 13th of the Hebrew month of Adar, my school would throw a Purim party.

Many young girls dressed up as Queen Esther, using Purim as an excuse to prance around in tulle skirts, faces covered in grown-up make-up and a bejeweled plastic crown on their heads. Every little girl wants to be a queen, even tomboys like me that weren’t brave enough to admit it and dressed as a punk rock star with torn jeans for the 2nd time in a row.

We thought of Esther, this orphan girl turned queen, as a feminist – an icon of bravery and elegance. On the other hand, Vashti was considered a deviant, subordinate, almost villain-like, and rebellious queen.

Maybe we were too young to understand, or perhaps we were comfortable...

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