This past Sunday was Purim – my favorite Jewish holiday – for many reasons. But the most recent reason is because of my daughter’s intensely provocative curiosity.
Between the ages of 0 and 18, it was my favorite because it is festive, has a great story, has clarity around good and evil and has a happily ever after.
But then I got to University where it became my favorite because of Vashti. The married woman who, when her husband wanted her to dance at a party he threw, had the chutzpah to say no. Granted, she got whacked for saying no – but still. In fact, my kids also think that Vashti is top character in the story.
This past weekend, I learned that I love it for the opposite of some of the initial reasons why I loved it. There is no clarity, the happily ever after is somewhat imbalanced and the characters are all flawed. What drove me to this? The question my 5 yr old asked about Haman:
“Did Haman ever do anything that was good?”
Think about that. We had just spent a morning hearing about this story in which this man tries to kill all the Jews and my child asks whether Haman did anything good. Which begs the question: Does everyone have some good in them? We talked about him possibly loving or caring for his sons and his horse. My child asked if Haman was nice to Queen Esther. Maybe? but who knows.