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Purim is the holiday of contradictions and tenacity-driven-optimism: Grief replaced by joy; Esther's concealment replaced by the disclosure of her national/religious identity; Haman's intended genocide of the Jews replaced by redemption; Haman replaced by Mordechai; national and personal pessimism replaced by optimism.
Rabbi David Fohrman of the Hoffberger Institute for Torah Study is an engaging speaker and astonishing interpreter of Torah texts, captivating his devoted listeners and readers for decades. The Queen You Thought You Knew: Unmasking Esther's Hidden Story is his most recent publication, unrolling the Megillah with the excitement of a blockbuster.
There is nothing funny about Siona Benjamin's Megillas Esther (2010). Unlike some contemporary illuminated megillas that emphasize the absurd and outlandish nature of the corrupt Persian court and the buffoonish character of the king, Benjamin takes the Book of Esther quite seriously. She is obviously deeply sensitive to the terrible consequences of God's hester panim (hidden face) in our own time.