The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and people of different religions and tribes were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A girl of a different tribe, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen–though she refused to divulge the identity of her tribe. Meanwhile, Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of Ester’s tribe (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed and convinced the king to issue a decree ordered their death. Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther, at risk to her own life, revealed to the king her identity. The King sided with Esther and her tribe was saved and treated fairly. So you see, at this time of year (Purim), we celebrate ALL women who, at risk to themselves, sing out to the world for freedom and humanity, like Queen Ester of old, who risked her life to save her people. On Purim, we leave judgements of good and bad of other people behind by connecting with the SPIRIT that connects ALL of existence through partying, drinking and dressing in costumes of others.

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