Reading Megillat Esther With A New Lens

Esther: The Queen You Thought You Knew

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman

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On Purim night, there you are in the synagogue, listening to the Megillah reading, a story you’ve known since childhood, and perhaps you’re kind of… bored? Reading the Megillah year after year feels a bit like being back in primary school. But that’s because the story we learn as a child shouldn’t be the story we understand as an adult. It’s a fair question – do you really only want the kid’s version of the Megillah? Aren’t you ready for the adult meaning?

Sometimes our familiarity of the Megillah can work against us; we know so well how each character behaves that we don’t see what actions they could have taken. In fact, questions pervade the Megillah – obvious questions. Why did Esther wait so long to save the Jewish race? Why was Haman so intent on destroying the Jews? If we look at these questions as windows, crawling through them could led us to understand the adult meaning of the Megillah.

Rabbi Fohrman asks us to clear our minds about what we know, and try to see the Megillah for the first time. He introduces the story we've known since childhood, and suggests that perhaps, by reading the text through a different lens, it can take on a different meaning.

In this video we place ourselves in the shoes of three Purim characters from the Book of Esther. Join Rabbi Fohrman as he explores the choices of Esther, Haman, and King Achashverosh, suggesting that the key to unlocking the Megillah's meaning is in understanding their behavior.

Read the book: The Queen You Thought You Knew