Sign In Forgot Password

Esther and the Hidden Story of Purim

03/10/2022 02:04:23 PM


Josh Niehaus

Every year, Jews all around the world come together to hear the reading of the Megillah of Esther. Children and parents alike dress up in costumes and listen to the amazing story of how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Shushan from an evil plot by a mean man named Haman (booooo). The story is filled with drama, humor, plot twists, fascinating characters, and plenty of opportunities to shake your grogger (noisemaker)! But even more amazing than the plot points and events that take place in the Purim story is the secret, hidden story woven throughout the Megillah of Esther. 

To find clues about the hidden story within, we need look no further than the name of the book itself. Esther (אסתר) shares the same root as the word "hester" (הסתר), which means "hidden." Megillah comes from the root "megaleh," which means "reveal." So, "Megillah of Esther" literally means "the revelation of the hidden." So now we get to the fundamental question: What is being hidden and what is being revealed? 

On the surface, it may seem as though Esther's secret Jewish identity, which is revealed to the king at the end of the story, would be a good enough reason to name the book the "Revelation of the Hidden." But, I think there's a more profound lesson waiting to be revealed. And to understand that lesson, we need to take a deeper look at Esther.

Queen Esther was not born into royalty. She was born an ordinary Jewish girl by the name of Hadassah. The chances of her becoming Queen were extraordinarily improbable. But that is precisely what is so special about her! Unlike most royals who are simply born into their position, Esther had to self-actualize her full potential to reach the throne. It was through her own courage and conviction that she became the leader that the Jewish people so badly needed in her time. The story's fundamental point is to show us that there is hidden, immeasurable potential within us all. Esther is proof that any ordinary kid can grow up to be an extraordinary person if they are willing to stand up for their beliefs. 

To drive home this point even further, we must look at the next hidden element within the Purim story — God. 

The Megillah of Esther is one of the only books in the Bible to not explicitly mention God. Unlike most biblical stories where the divine directly interacts with humans, here, salvation from evil Haman's plot is the work of human agency, ingenuity, and courage. God's hiddenness within the story teaches us that we need to take action and stand up for ourselves, rather than let God do all the work for us. 

Purim teaches us that you do not need to be born into greatness to accomplish extraordinary things! Nor do you need to wait for a sign from above to take action. A single act of courage may impact the lives of a few people nearby or end up changing the course of world history. But, no matter the outcome, it all begins with an ordinary person who is ready to discover their hidden potential. 

Wishing you all a time of revelation and self-actualization. 

!‏חג פורים שמח

Happy Purim!

Josh Niehaus

Tue, March 21 2023 28 Adar 5783