A Drash by Adrienne Kristine
You all know the story of Esther, Mordechai, Haman (boo!), King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti. Somebody wrote a scroll about it and we have a fun party when we celebrate Purim. However, you haven’t heard about the real story with its secrets, schemes and death-defying actions.
Mordechai, Esther’s uncle, was hanging around the gate as he usually did every day except Shabbat. Haman had an ego much greater than his size which sources say was almost 5 feet tall. He wore sandals with lifts and people would snicker behind his back. He had a title and no one would dare say or do anything to anger him. He had quite a temper.
Everyone would kneel and prostrate themselves to Haman when they met him except Mordechai. He only bowed to G-d and refused to prostrate himself to a mortal. Haman became frustrated and angry.
Mordechai was snooping at the gate again and heard Biggy and Terry plotting against the king. Word got back to the palace and the two are hanged. The report was written in the chronicle. Haman said nothing.
The king had invited all his princes from the 127 provinces for a 7-day feast. He had been drinking a bit (a lot) and thought it would be a swell idea to have Queen Vashti dance in front of the men wearing her birthday suit. She said no and was banished. The princes said, “You need a new queen so why don’t you have a contest with all the single women in Shushan parading in front of you?” And it was done.
Mordechai went to Esther and said, “Hey! You’re young, beautiful and you could be queen. That way, Haman will leave me alone and you can save the Jews.”
Esther replied, “Geez, Uncle Morty, I’m 13! Why wouldn’t you just bow your head or something? Now I have to be good enough to marry the king who just kicked out the previous queen and save all the Jews. No pressure, huh?”
All the lucky women were placed in the palace awaiting their turn to be viewed by the king. Esther went to a small window and whispered to Mordechai. “You have to find Vashti and tell her to come to the palace. She’s the only one who can help me.” He left and found Vashti living with one of the harem rejects in a small village nearby. He told her of Esther’s plea and she came to the palace window.
Esther whispered, “Please help me. You know the king better than anyone. How can I keep him happy?” Vashti said, “He’s cute with all that curly hair and he smells nice most of the time. I taught him everything he knows. But when he drinks? Oy! Keep him away from the wine and read him bedtime stories. He’ll fall asleep most of the time and there’s always the harem to keep him happy if you’re not in the mood.” Esther sighed. “Thank you. I hope I’m chosen and it works out.”
Vashti said, “I’ll go to the casino and bet a few shekels on your success” and left.
So the contest begins and Esther is chosen. Haman goes to the king while he’s in a good mood and tells him about the evil Jews living in Shushan who want to kill the king. Haman offers to kill the Jews and eliminate the risk. Ahasuerus tells him to go ahead. The gallows are still on site from the Biggy and Terry hanging and Haman wants Mordechai to hang first.
Word gets to Esther while she’s enchanting the king. He hasn’t called for any of the harem. He’s absolutely besotted with Esther (not the wine). But Mordechai is terrified. He’s outside the small palace window whimpering and hopping from foot to foot waiting to talk to Esther. Haman is panting and licking his lips while searching for Mordechai.
Esther goes to the king and invites him and Haman to a feast. She has great kosher chefs who create delicious dishes and keep the wine to a minimum. While they’re eating, Esther goes to the window and tells Mordechai to have everyone fast for three days and pray their hearts out.
Next night, another scrumptious dinner and Esther is looking for ideas for a bedtime story. She reads the chronicle to the king and finds the report from Mordechai about the palace plot: Biggy, Terry and…Haman. Uh oh. She then mentions that she’s Jewish. What’s a guy to do? He has a beautiful wife and queen snuggling in bed with him and she uncovered the plot to kill him. Easy decision: kill Haman and save Esther.
You know the rest: Haman is hanged instead of Mordechai, the Jews are saved and Mordechai gets Haman’s old job (with a raise). The king can’t reverse his edict about killing the Jews but he can amend it so the Jews can defend themselves. And they do. It just goes to show that Haman was a joker and jokers are wild, but a pair of queens will be the winning hand every time.
As the truth is revealed, Esther can finally stop using her Persian name and become her Jewish self as Hadassah.