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Being the Hidden Miracle

At various points in history, the legitimacy of the Book of Esther has been challenged as part of the Biblical canon. Although the Council of Yavneh in 90 C.E. confirmed that the book was, in fact, part of the Hebrew Bible, it is clear that this was by no means a unanimous opinion. And as late as the 16th Century, Martin Luther was challenging its inclusion in the Christian Biblical corpus.

What’s the fuss over this story of the Jews being saved from the brink of destruction? The controversy stems from who does the saving. Or, more to the point, Who doesn’t. Along with Song of Songs, Esther is the only book of the Bible that doesn’t explicitly mention God – a particularly glaring omission given the near-demise and miraculous rescue of the Jewish people. Instead, the Jews are saved through the courage and determination of Esther, the one whose name means ‘hidden’ and who had concealed her Jewish identity from King Achashverosh. Just when wicked Haman’s plot seems unstoppable, Esther boldly goes to the King, risking her own life, and entreats: “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me– that is my petition– and the lives of my people– that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated….” (Esther 7:3-4)


Purim is the holiday of the hidden miracle. Even more than Chanukah, with its subtle miracle of the oil, Purim is a holiday that speaks to the way people make their decisions and find their courage in a world where God no longer speaks in a clear, commanding voice. But more than that: the Talmud (Hullin 139b) connects Esther with God’s promise “I will surely conceal my face” (Deut. 31:18) – Esther is seen by the rabbis as a representative of the concealed God.

The story of Esther teaches us that we cannot wait for others to perform acts of courage and kindness, to stand up against injustice even at great personal cost. It is each of us, created in God’s image, who may choose to make the Divine that is concealed within us manifest in the world – to turn our hands and our heart over to Godly ends so God may work miracles through us and help bring about a world of “light and gladness, joy and honor.” (Esther 8:16) The power of God to speak to us – and work through us – in a dangerous and ambiguous world is why Esther’s message – and the book that bears her name – should be celebrated on Purim.

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posted March 10, 2006 at 9:55 pm

Although God is not mentioned, His imprint is all over the book of Esther. Another ‘concealed’ lesson is obedience to the Holy Spirit of God, of whom Malachi represents explicitly. Esther is told by him that ‘for such a time is this’, yet if she does not follow-through, God will raise up another. God’s Ruach HaKodesh is our inner-most guide to what is and what is not God’s will. Obedience is better than sacrifice, but the two joined together, can be a powerful advocate when we face God.

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posted March 11, 2006 at 4:29 pm

The book of Esther speaks also of the Divine Providence of God who lives nothing to chance. It is his will to reveal to us his Soveriegnity that he and he alone does all things well. The story reveal that in each of us there is an Esther to be reveal and one that he has charged to come forth in the time of his choosing. I believe that God appointed this time for not only his people to recoginize the importance that they each play with the destiny of God in the earth. I think it’s also note worthy that we see the important’s that Mordecai plays in all of this since he had the responsibility of training her in wisdom so she could be revealed in the right time.

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posted March 11, 2006 at 4:50 pm

I am a Christian, but as a child, I loved the story of Esther. It shows me that God always uses those most unlikely to be heroes, so His power and guidance shine through. Marilyn

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Maxine Jackson

posted March 11, 2006 at 9:03 pm

Wasn’t Esther in the lineage of the savior because her uncle believed God had put her there to save the people in that group. The uncle was the only loyal person that didnt get drunk and demand to see the other queen. After praying for 3 days she took the chance on asking the king who had refused to talk to anyone for 30 days except he hold up the golden sceptor.

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posted March 13, 2006 at 10:35 pm

I am A christian I do not agree that Esther was the hero for the miracle. I did not see that at all . She asked for prayers and fasting for 3 days. the miracle is performed by God ,but the LORD uses people until now.

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posted March 14, 2006 at 6:16 pm

I havs studied and taught the book, of Ester, and though there seems to be no mention, of God in this awsome book we must remember it was written from a Jewish point of view. Therefore we are to asume God’s people would be writing from a religous perspective. Also Ester called for a fast of 3 days without food, or water. That is a God seeking thing to do, and can be asumed as the power, of God behind and in all that Ester did. What we learn from Ester is that Good, and right will always overcome evil when God is in the midst, of things

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William E. Rutland

posted March 14, 2006 at 6:43 pm

The book of Esther taught me a lesson in trust and total belief in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is able to do all things that you ask of him if we only have faith. Esther demonstrated her faith in the God, fully aware of the consequences that she too would surely face.

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James, William

posted April 4, 2006 at 7:24 pm

Hi everybody, I want to thank all of you for your support on the immigration issue that has been the actuality in the news. As an American, i think that we don’t have to make a big deal out this issue because it has been solved with the Kennedy and McCain’s immigration bill. We simply need to enact it into law. Some opponents of the bill say that enacting such a bill is rewarded those undocumented migrants for breaking the law. No, it is not because this situation is exceptional, therfore it requires an exceptional solution. Some of those undocumented came in this country legally on tourist visa, but because of political instability in teir countries they cannot return home for safety reasons. Imagin you came here for pleasure or business purposes. While you’re away, a relative back home phoned you and said: Assassins entered your house, raped your wife and dauthers, killed your only son and burned down the house. In such a situation, would you go back home? I think that everyone would like to sleep in his/her home without thinking that someone might come and rape his wife and dauther right in front of him. Again, oponents of the Kennedy and McCain’s immigration bill claim that enactiong into law such a bill would be unfair to other immigrants who play the rules. To me it’s like comparing apple with orange because an immediate family member whose mom or dad apply residency for is not in similar situation with a person’s situation i described above. In addition, those undocumented migrants who are already here have been contributing to our economy by working hard to pay taxes. Overall, claiming that is a reward to law breakers if enacting into law the Kennedy and McCain’s immigration bill is unreasonable because some of undocumented migrants are here circumstancially. Yf they return back home, their lives will be destroyed because of the political turmoil in their countries. Those who claim that passing the Kennedy and McCain’s bill into law would be unfair for other immigrants who play the rules of law make mistakes in making comparisons. Prensent time is present time and future time is future time. Undocumented migrants are already here in the country paying taxes and contributing to our economy, but people who are abroad waiting in line to be called do not contribute yet to our economy.

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