Today is the Jewish holiday on Purim.
Jews around the world dress up and celebrate the victory by Queen Esther over Haman, who was more than eager to rid Shushan of her Jewish population.
Esther, as both a woman and a member of a religious minority, had two strikes against her. But even though she had no power in the traditional sense, she had enough sense of self to stand up for who she was and what she believed in. Even, if it meant that her life would be in jeopardy.
We unfortunately live in a time and place where instead of celebrating our differences, we use them to divide ourselves. The lesson that I take from Purim, especially considering the current state of American culture is that if we want our country to flourish, we have to celebrate our differences. At this point in American history, we have two choices: divide and be conquered or come together and survive. Personally I would rather find a way for us to come together and survive. But that’s me.
For every 10 or 20 stories there are about men who overcome what seems to be insurmountable obstacle, there are only a handful of stories of women who do the same.
The 2006 movie, One Night With The King, is based on the story of the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Hadassah (Tiffany DuPont) is a orphaned young woman living one of her cousins, Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies). King Xerxes (Luke Goss) has just banished his Queen, Vashti (Jyoti Dogra) and is seeking a new wife. Rounded up with other young woman, Hadassah is taken to the King’s palace as potential bride. But there is a catch. Within the palace, Hadassah has taken on a new identity, Esther. No one knows that she is a Jew.
King Xerxes takes a fancy to Esther/Hadassah and marries her. Soon it becomes clear that Hadassah’s life and the life of every Jew is in danger as Haman (James Callis), one of the King’s minister’s has deadly plans in store for Shushan’s Jewish community. Knowing that her life and the lives of her people are in danger, Hadssah/Esther must take a risk and reveal her true identity. She could live or she could die, but she must do something.
What makes this movie stand out is that not only is the Purim story fleshed out with historical accuracy, but it is a compelling tale of courage with a female lead character who stands up for who she is and what she believes in, even at the potential cost of her own life.
I recommend it.