by Dafna Menashe Baruch, Principal, Mae Boyar High School
On the eve of Purim celebrations, Dafna Menashe Baruch, principal of SAE’s Mae Boyar High School in Jerusalem, issued this statement on the Book of Esther and female power:
“On Purim we read in the Book of Esther. The story of the scroll that has the lines of a telenovela is a story about an innocent girl who is led to the royal house by her aunt, Mordechai the Jew and slowly becomes a strong woman who wisely navigates her personal destiny and the fate of her people.
“What is it about Esther that has made her a model for female power?
“The answer lies in Esther herself. Esther is a developing figure, one who undergoes a transformation from a passive figure to an active figure who acts quietly and wisely and brings redemption to her people.
“Esther rules a kingdom and she learns to recognize her strengths and abilities and removes from her the masks that have covered her true identity. She becomes a leader, sending orders all over the country and showing responsibility and concern to the community in which she grew up.
“As befits the heroine of the Megillah who managed to turn disaster into success, Purim is beyond just being a holiday of celebrations and rejoicing, a carnival of costumes and revelry. It is also a social holiday that focuses on the values of giving, social responsibility and concern for the weak.
As it is written, “To make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the needy.” (The Book of Esther, chapter 9, verse 23). A value-based and connected society is a society in which joy is not the lot of the seven, but a society that also cares for the weak and the hungry.”