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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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Ad de’lo Yada: Until We Don’t Know the Difference

Ad de’lo Yada: Until We Don’t Know the Difference

The Book of Esther and Purim

(p.297) Fifty-Eight Ad de’lo Yada: Until We Don’t Know the Difference
Torah Queeries

Gregg Drinkwater

Elliot Kukla

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the Book of Esther which recounts how Esther hid her Jewish identity to become the wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus. She disguises herself by performing as a non-Jewish Persian woman, to win the king's favor and ultimately to save her people from an edict of destruction orchestrated by the story's villain, Haman. The story connotes that disguise and transgression of social norms lie at the heart of redemption, teaching everyone that the hidden self can be the true hero of a story and that masquerade can save the entire people. It reminds people to search for the hidden meaning, and not be so quick to assume with the literal or peshat level of understanding.

Keywords:   Book of Esther, Jewish identity, Ahasuerus, Esther, Haman

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