This is my first cross-post at JWA’s Jewesses with Attitude.
This past weekend was Purim, and amidst the celebrating and partying one thing stood out in my mind that most people tend to ignore: the fact that the feminine hero of the story, Esther, is intermarried. Not only this, but as Esther is wooing the King, Mordechai specifically instructs her not to reveal to him that she is Jewish: “The girl found favor in his eyes and won his kindness…Esther did not divulge her race or ancestry, for Mordechai had instructed her not to tell.”
There are Jewish sources that argue that Esther was coerced into marrying Achashverosh, that she managed to keep Kosher while in the palace, and that she only hid her identity because Mordechai foresaw the impending Jewish crisis and knew her Judaism should only be revealed at a crucial moment. But there are other people who argue that Esther was an assimilated Jew with a Babylonian name who most likely was not able to observe Judaism in the palace, and who did not reveal her Jewish identity because of fear of ruining her chances to become queen.
To read more, go to my post on the JWA blog.
(I know, another post about Purim, but what can you do, it’s a crazy holiday…!)