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Summary: The Story of Esther and the Day of Purim - Day of Rememberance.

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From the Book of Esther:

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THE STORY OF PURIM - A Day of Rememberance

THE MEGILAH BEGINS BY INFORMING US THAT ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT IS THE PERSIA-MEDIA OF KING ACHASHVEROSH, WHO THEN RULED OVER THE EMPIRE. THAT EMPIRE ENCOMPASSED ONE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN STATES AND PROVINCES

(DEFINITELY NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY SEVEN RIGHTEOUS YEARS OF OUR MOTHER, SARAH); IN EFFECT, THE ENTIRE (MORE-OR-LESS) CIVILIZED WORLD AT THAT TIME. ACHASHVEROSH IS MAKING A FEAST FOR ALL OF HIS KINGDOM, AND FOR THE SAME REASON THAT THE UNFORTUNATE BELSHAZZAR MADE ONE! AGAIN, ACHASHVEROSH HAS DONE HIS HOMEWORK, AND IS CONVINCED THAT YIRMIYAHU’S SEVENTY YEARS ARE BY NOW CERTAINLY OVER (WRONG AGAIN!). ACTUALLY, THERE ARE TWO REASONS FOR

ACHASHVEROSH’S FEAST. THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE IS TO CELEBRATE THE SUPPOSED ABANDONMENT OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE BY THEIR GOD.

THE SECOND REASON FOR THE FEAST HAS TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT HE WANTS TO KEEP HIS POPULATION, ESPECIALLY THE MOST POWERFUL MEMBERS OF IT, INCLUDING THE ARMY, ITS OFFICERS AND ALL THE PRINCES AND PRINCESSES,

DUKES AND DUCHESSES, ETC., HAPPY. FOR, THE MIDRASH TELLS US, ACHASHVEROSH IS NOT OF "ROYAL BLOOD." RATHER, HE HAS COME TO POWER THROUGH A REVOLUTION. THEREFORE, HE IS NEVER TOTALLY SURE OF HIMSELF IN

HIS ROLE AS KING. HIS WIFE, VASHTI, THE QUEEN, IS HOWEVER A GENUINE "BLUE-BLOOD," BEING FROM THE HOUSE OF NEVUCHADNETZAR, KING OF BABYLON, AND WORLD CONQUEROR, AS SHE DOES NOT HESITATE TO REMIND HER HUSBAND, AS WE SHALL SEE. ALSO ON THE GUEST LIST ARE THE JEWISH PEOPLE. ACHASHVEROSH GOES ALL OUT TO MAKE THEM COMFORTABLE; HE HAS "GLATT KOSHER" MEAT, UNDER

IMPECCABLE "HASHGACHAH," PERHAPS UNDER THE "OU" OF THE TIME. THE JEWS, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAVE WEIGHED THEIR OPTIONS. A BEAUTIFUL CATERING HALL, GREAT FOOD, TERRIFIC SMORGASBORD, AND THE KING’S PROBABLY CORRECT

IN HIS CALCULATIONS. THEY FEEL A LITTLE QUEASY ABOUT CELEBRATING WITH VESSELS FROM THE TEMPLE NOT ONLY ON DISPLAY, BUT IN USE. BUT THE MAJORITY OF THEM HAVE COME. AND IT IS THEIR PRESENCE AT A FEAST CELEBRATING THEIR ABANDONMENT AND MOCKING THEIR TEMPLE THAT, ACCORDING TO THE MIDRASH, HAS MADE THEM GUILTY OF TREASON AGAINST God, AND THEREFORE CANDIDATES FOR DESTRUCTION! "ALSO QUEEN VASHTI MADE A FEAST FOR THE WOMEN" THE TALE (TAIL(?)) CONTINUES

NOT TO BE OUTDONE, QUEEN VASHTI MADE A FEAST FOR THE WOMEN OF THE KINGDOM. HER PURPOSE WAS TO SHOW OFF HER GREAT BEAUTY, SINCE SHE HAD BEEN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN THE WORLD. BUT HASHEM SPOILED HER PARTY. SHE DEVELOPED A FULL-BLOWN CASE OF LEPROSY. OTHERS SAY SHE ACTUALLY GREW A TAIL! THESE BLEMISHES WERE APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENTS FOR VASHTI, FOR HER ABUSE OF HER CAPTIVE JEWISH GIRLS. SHE HAD MADE THEM WORK FOR HER ON SHABBAT COMPLETELY NAKED, THUS GREATLY OFFENDING THEM FROM THE POINT OF VIEW THAT THEY WOULD HAVE TO VIOLATE THE SHABBAT, AND ALSO BY PREVENTING THEM FROM PRACTICING THE CHARACTERISTIC OF "TZNIUT,"

MODESTY, WHICH WAS A MAJOR PART OF THEIR LIFE-STYLE. SO HASHEM PUNISHED HER "MIDAH K’NEGED MIDAH," "MEASURE FOR MEASURE," BY NOT ALLOWING HER TO MAKE A DISPLAY OF HER "PRITZUT," HER TOTAL IMMODESTY. "BRING VASHTI THE

QUEEN, WITH (ONLY) THE ROYAL CROWN" HER PREDICAMENT BECAME WORSE. ON THE "SEVENTH DAY," THE SHABBAT, ACHASHVEROSH, NOW TOTALLY DRUNK, DEMANDED THAT VASHTI APPEAR BEFORE HIM AND HIS GUESTS. OF COURSE, IN HER PRESENT STATE, VASHTI REFUSED, NOT OUT OF A SENSE OF MODESTY, BUT OUT OF A SENSE OF EMBARRASSMENT OVER HER APPEARANCE. NOT ONLY DID VASHTI NOT COME - SHE ALSO SENT THE KING AN INSULT - "WHO WAS HE,JUST A COMMONER, TO TELL HER ROYAL SELF WHAT TO DO?"

THIS HAD NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE! NO ONE, CERTAINLY NOT THE QUEEN, HAD EVER BEEN SUMMONED TO COME BEFORE THE KING, AND REFUSED. WHAT A HUMILIATION! ONE OF THE KING’S ADVISORS, NAMED "MEMUCHAN" IN THE MEGILAH, BUT IDENTIFIED IN THE MIDRASH AS NONE OTHER THAN HAMAN,

SUGGESTS THAT VASHTI SHOULD BE SEVERELY PUNISHED. NOT ONLY HAS SHE MADE A FOOL OF THE KING BEFORE ALL HIS ROYAL GUESTS, BUT SOON THE STORY WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE KINGDOM, THAT WIVES DON’T HAVE TO OBEY THEIR HUSBANDS ANY LONGER! TO PREVENT THIS SCANDAL FROM BECOMING PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE, VASHTI SHOULD BE GIVEN A TASTE OF THE KING’S "JUSTICE." NEVER MORE SHOULD SHE BE ALLOWED TO COME BEFORE THE KING! AND,IN THOSE DAYS, THAT USUALLY MEANT THAT POOR VASHTI WOULD LOSE HER HEAD. (WE SEE THAT HAMAN ALREADY HAS HIS EYE ON THE THRONE AND IS OUT TO REMOVE ALL OBSTACLES,SUCH AS THE QUEEN, FROM HIS PATH.) THE KING ISSUED A ROYAL PROCLAMATION TO THE EFFECT THAT THERE WOULD BE NO CHANGE IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUSBANDS AND WIVES AS A RESULT OF THE UNFORTUNATE AND MISGUIDED BEHAVIOR

OF QUEEN VASHTI. HUSBANDS WOULD CONTINUE TO "RULE IN THEIR CASTLES," BE THEY SHOEMAKERS OR KINGS, AND WIVES WOULD REMAIN IN THEIR OBEDIENT STATUS, OR ELSE! THE CONTEST FOR A NEW QUEEN

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