web analytics
November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



The Book of Esther: A Political Analysis

Especially remarkable is the behavior of Esther. Warned of Haman’s plan, Esther wants to do nothing lest she place herself at risk.
Esther and Mordecai by Aerte de Gelder

Esther and Mordecai by Aerte de Gelder

What if Esther was not such a good person, or didn’t have Mordechai to advise her? What if she knew that she would not be punished but in fact could benefit from remaining silent or even joining into the denunciation of the Jews of the day? Suppose she could have redefined the situation to say that there were in fact good, pro-Persian Empire Jews as opposed to those bad Jews who wanted to return from exile in the Persian Empire to the Land of Israel, from which her great-great-grandfather had been taken as prisoner?

Esther, fortified by her beloved uncle’s advice, an appeal to enlightened self-interest, and the only hint in the book of a divine role—her position was the Creator’s doing so she could fulfill this task–risks her life to stop the mass murders.

In addition, Haman reveals part of his motivation. All his wealth, influence, and power, he explains, mean “nothing to me every time I see that Jew Mordechai sitting at the palace gate” and refusing to bow to him. In other words, Haman’s antisemitism exceeds the bounds of rational calculation. Out of blind hatred, he is willing to risk his own destruction to wipe out those whose existence he refuses to accept. That’s pretty relevant for our times.

In contrast is Mordechai’s behavior. Made prime minister with absolute power by the king in Haman’s place, Mordechai does not seek to make the Jews the rulers (belying the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Islamist ideology) but only for defensive purposes.

The king’s decree permitted the Jews to, “Assemble and fight for their lives, if any people or province attacks them” and inflict unlimited vengeance. True, the retribution is horrible in modern-day terms, extending to the innocent members of families, but limited in the context of that era.

In contrast to Haman’s claims they do not take their enemies’ property nor do they seek to conquer the empire, the Middle East, or the world. They just want to live and be left alone.

What does this story mean for us today in political, strategic, and intellectual terms?

The indecisive “Esthers” who so often populate the ranks of Western elites should take notice of how she resolved her dilemma. True, in their modern societies they can escape persecution because of their high positions. Indeed, by joining the lynch mobs they can even better secure their positions. They can use this method to appear more virtuous, to earn more praise. Yet in doing so they are not so much betraying a people they do not recognize as such but rather the principles of justice and intellectual honesty they claim as their new, post-ethnic, post-religious loyalty.

And, finally, the main Hamans of our age are ultimately gunning for them, not solely because they are Jews—since this applies equally to their Christian counterparts–but because of their countries’ policies and their societies’ values. This is true even if these modern-day, “pre-commitment” Esthers either claim that Haman is really moderate or merely specify that only some (right-wing? Zionist?) Jews are disloyal to the state and its liberal values and strategic interests in order to push a selfish, counterproductive agenda. If those bad Jews are defeated then Haman will leave everyone else alone.

Haman could have lived in peaceful coexistence with the Jews and spent his time building up the kingdom and helping his own people. Only since he behaved otherwise could the king decree, “Let the evil plot…recoil on his own head.” In the Middle East’s modern history this has often happened. Those who have sought to destroy Israel have brought disaster onto their own heads and that of their own peoples.

Yet it is equally true, in the Middle East and in lands far away, the ideology of Haman remains very much alive, even unto Persia itself.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Book of Esther: A Political Analysis”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest Indepth Stories
Kessim (religious leaders) mark the opening of a synagogue in the village of Gomenge, Ethopia, one of five built in Gondar with JDC aid, 1988
Courtesy of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York.

In a world where people question whether they should be engaged, we are a reminder that all Jews are responsible for one another.

Greiff-112814-Levaya

My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.

Charley Levine

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem

The Jew’s crime is his presence.

Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible

Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?

Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-book-of-esther-a-political-analysis/2013/02/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: