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Saturday, March 6, 2004

Female Role Models

Quick question: If you were to pick a woman from the Book of Esther who would serve as an excellent female role model, who would you pick? The answer you would probably give is, "Obviously, Esther! who else is there?" According to this article, the author feels that maybe it should be Vashti. Vashti, the first wife of Ahaseurus, was summoned to appear before him at the end of his drunken seven day party in, how shall we say, an undignified manner. She refused, and found herself on the pointy end of a sword. So, it seems that this gesture of feminist "stick it to the male chauvinist pig" is something to be admired. True, Ahaseurus was a male chauvinist pig who deserved to have it "stuck to him", regardless of whether you are a feminist or not. But, our rabbis teach us that she a was very wicked individual. This teaching is mocked in the article. But wouldn't a far more admirable woman be one who takes the initiative, asks the Jews to fast and repent to G-d, risks her life by seeing the king, saves her own people from total annihilation, and has an actual book of the Bible named after her? Of all Jewish women in our history, Esther ranks among the top as one of the most important and the most influential. It is safe to say that without her, there would be no Jews alive today. And someone has to turn to Vashti as a role model? V'nahapoch hu.


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