Esther as a Disney Princess?

 
 

If Walt Disney hadn’t not been such a raging anti-Semite (#realtalk), his first princess would have been Esther. Her story perfectly fits the mold: an orphan seeking a better life, she wins a beauty contest and becomes the Queen of Persia. She hides her true identity until the magic moment when she steps up, takes off her mask, and saves the day.  Not to mention she was drop dead gorgeous.  No mention how she used her courage and intellect throughout her journey.

Esther’s story seriously deserves its due. And even if Disney hasn’t come to its senses yet, here at At The Well, we’re gonna scream Esther’s life and lessons across our living rooms. Queen Esther, O Righteously, Stunningly Badass One, you are remembered. Queen Esther, you are the reason we’re here today.  Queen Esther, you are in us all.

Megillah Esther has been getting people squirmy for generations. It’s a story about a woman who saves the Jewish people, and does so using some potent sexuality.  Here is her story, in six sentences:

  1. Esther is the most beautiful virgin in the land of Shushan and becomes the next queen to the party animal King Achasuerus.  

  2. Esther’s uncle Mordechai, a gatekeeper in the palace, tells Esther to hide her Jewish identity because the King’s top advisor, Haman, wants to exterminate the Jewish people.

  3. Once Esther is crowned, Mordechai gives his niece the ultimate pep talk, inspiring her to take action, save her people, and tap her full potential.

  4. At first, Esther is hesitant and frightened, but then prepares herself, body, mind, and soul, to fulfill her destiny.

  5. Esther hosts a huge party for her husband, revealing her identity and Haman’s evil plan at the perfect moment.  

  6. The king, royally pissed at his advisor’s treachery, hangs Haman the next day on very same gallows Haman had planned to use to eradicate the Jewish people.

If you can this Adar, read Esther’s entire story.  On the surface, it’s comical and epic, but a deeper look reveals many hidden things. And that’s the whole point of the Purim tradition. Megillah Esther is the only book in the Hebrew canon that has zero references to God.  Megillah Esther also makes no reference to Esther’s intelligence, courage, or drive. Even so,  all three qualities qualities shout loudly throughout.

Obviously, the Divine is present in the story too, because duh, the Divine is present in everything. In the mud, in light, in the sexiness — the Divine is all of those things. Obviously, Esther was more than just good looks; it takes serious chutzpah to go before the most powerful leader of the land and reveal oneself in one’s most vulnerable identity.  Esther found herself with a life-changing choice: stay hidden or be brave and reveal herself.  

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
— ANAIS NIN

These are the words of writer and arch-sensualist Anaïs Nin. Megillah Esther is a story about the same thing.  Baruch Hashem (Thank G-d) Esther bloomed.

Adar, This MonthSarah Waxman