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    Spirituality or story?

    Everyone thinks that the Megillah is nothing but a story, but the rabbinic sages would not have supported this view. They found so much spirituality on the Book that they regarded it as one of the major sources of Jewish theology.

    In the Talmud the question was asked, “Where is there a reference to the Megillah in the Holy Torah?” (Chullin 39b). The answer appears to be just a piece of light-hearted word-play. How else can you explain that the verse that was quoted was Deut. 31:18, “I shall surely hide – astir – My face on that day”? There is a similarity of sound between astir and Esther.

    Is that all there is to it?

    The sages said no. In their view, every stage in the story contains the hand of God. The events look like natural occurrences happening within the political dynamic of an ancient kingdom. No, say the rabbis: everywhere you see the miraculous within the natural. God’s name and even His face may be hidden, but His direction is there at every turn. God’s purposes unfold at every point of the story.

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