Adar: Setting Intentions

"A little window into why I share a personal intention: I hope that you’re using this material within your Well Circle. I hope that you find spaces to be seen and heard, and that you take time to see others. I cannot, however, expect you all to be truly vulnerable unless I first show my vulnerability. This is why every month I open myself up and pour a little piece of my heart out to you. Thank you for seeing me."

-- Sarah Waxman, At The Well Founder

 
 

I’ve been obsessed with Esther’s story since I was a little girl. I’ve even rewritten Esther’s Megillah myself — three times.  

I have my guesses as to why I’m Esther’s Fan #1, a big part of it because she was portrayed as the ultimate SHE-ro of my Jewish upbringing. Esther, the Female Champion. I could relate. Plus, she had her own holiday all about joy, costumes, cookies, screaming, and dance parties. I want my life to be remembered like that.

For sure Esther’s story is odd. Masking and unmasking, seducing and resisting, saving and killing, revealing what’s hidden. It’s a story about the masculine ego and the feminine will, about beauty, sexulaity, power, and backstabbing. It’s about joy and standing up for what you believe in, about finding your strengths and playing to them, and, most importantly in my mind (and heart), about a women warrior willing to step up when nobody else would.

Purim actually tells the story of two women, Esther and Vashti. Don’t forget Vashti, the king’s first queen, the wild woman who refused to dance for her bro-ey husband. I’ve always felt connected to  her too. For me, she embodies the feeling of wanting to throw up my middle fingers in response to the patriarchal injustices I feel and see all around me. I have some resilient and unafraid Vashti in me too; I appreciate that Esther’s Megillah doesn’t cut her out. In fact, she is an important part of this recounting.

But what about Esther?

I — along with many generations of rabbis before me — am slightly uncomfortable with Esther’s sexuality.
— Sarah Waxman, at the well founder

To these holy men, Esther’s use of sexuality was threatening and improper. What makes me feel funny isn’t that. Esther’s relationship with the sensual and sexual is simply the part of the story I have a hard time accessing as a woman myself.

If you know me, you know I’m not known for my flirty demeanor or revealing clothing. But there’s a side of me that longs for these things, to engage my sexiness, to draw on it for strength and power. I’m excited this new moon has brought us back to this story, this recounting, and this remembering that all of Esther lives inside me. It can be hard to balance the Esther and Vashti, but so far,  Fourth Wave feminism looks a lot like the union of this duality, and more. I’m excited. Adar is the month to welcome joy into your life.

 On that note, I want to wish a happy 40th Wedding anniversary to the two humans who brought me into this world. We’ll be dancing in DC to celebrate these two great beings, and all the light they bring.

To the Divine Feminine in us all, it’s the month to rise.  You with me?
 
 

Resources:

Ribner, Melinda. Kabbalah Month by Month. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2002. 

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AdarSarah Waxman