Midrash Esther Chapter Three III: Just Another Party

Feb 29th, 2012 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays
Another comment on, “Also Vashti the Queen.” Shmuel opened with the text, “with their heat I will prepare their feast (Jeremiah 60:39).” The Holy One, Blessed is He said: When they come to warm themselves up with the monarchy, I will destroy their foundations. “And I will make them drunken,” with their troubles. “Because they exulted,” because they rejoiced at the destruction of the Temple.

The Holy One, Blessed is He said: “the Temple is in ruins and this wretch makes parties!”

The wicked Vashti also made a party, as it is written, “Also Vashti the Queen made a party for the women.”

Achashveirosh made a party. He used his party to celebrate the fact that Jeremiah’s prophecy of redemption at the end of 70 years had not come true. He used the Temple vessels for his party. And yet, this midrash describes God as becoming angry only when Vashti too made a party. Why?

Until Vashti’s party, the Kings party was not meant as a celebration by as an astute political move to garner the support of all the powerful people, political and military, in his kingdom. The guests may have experienced it as a party, but Achashveirosh had a very clear objective. Achashveirosh may have included his rejoicing over the destruction of the Temple in his party, but it to was probably meant only as part of his political statement; the kingdom was secure. No one had to worry of destabilization of the kingdom by the rebuilding of the Temple.

There was no reason for Vashti to make a party. It did not serve a political purpose. Her party was just that; a party. It was a time of just and making merry. She intended to not only provoke her husband, but to send a message to everyone that no matter how well planned the king’s parties were, they were still just that; parties. Vashti popped Achashveirosh’s balloon. She transformed his six month United Kingdom conference into just another very, very long party.

It was at this point, when his party became just a party, that God’s anger was provoked. His anger would first be expressed by Achashveirosh’s public humiliation in  shaving to deal with a rebellious queen.

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