Esther, to me is one of those books of the Bible that shocks us with its contemporary relevance. One cannot help but be shocked at the similarities of the anti-semitism experienced by Mordecai and the anti-semitism that continued into the 20th century.
Bear with me as I compare one more person to Hitler, (and no its’ not an American politician), Haman is the source of anti-semitism in Esther, and, like Hitler, he wants to spread his ideals across the nation, convince the citizens that the Jews are dispensable, and furthermore completely eradicate them.
It seems that the purpose of the book, with its heros of Esther and Mordecai, and the happy fairy tale ending, were meant to encourage Jews who were suffering under discrimination and oppressive rule. The book has an important function as a Diaspora story, according the the Jewish Study Bible it ” promotes Jewish identity, solidarity within the Jewish community, and a strong connection with Jewish tradition”. There was also a huge diaspora of Jews in Europe in the 19th century that would have found this book of great application as they were experiencing increasing anti-semitism. The initiative to create the state of Israel, Zionism, began in response to the increasing discrimination experience by Jews in Europe.
The Hebrew Study Bible’s introduction to Esther says that it “Addresses the inherent problems of a minority people, their vulnerability to political forces and government edicts, their lack of autonomy and their dependence on royal favor and on the sagacity of their own leaders.”
Leaders of the World Zionist Organization such as Herbert Samuel and Chaim Weizman were modern day Esther and Mordecai, petitioning the world powers to create a state where all Jews would be welcome and free. They began their movement before the World War, and it came to fruition at the end of the great conflict. The horrors of the Holocaust and the terrible oppression experienced by Jews led the new “Kings” of the world, The United States, Great Britain, and the rest of the allies, to create the State of Israel as a safe haven for Jews everywhere. Below is the story of one holocaust survivor, appropriately named Esther, who survived the Holocaust and was allowed by the new edict of the “Kings” to start her life over in Israel.