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tradition-cabinetby R. Yitzchak Blau

In this essay, Dr. Moshe Simon analyzes the usage of different types of irony in the Book of Esther. The language of the Megilla  emphasizes Ahausuerus’ kingship, yet he is constantly directed by others. The term “law” appears frequently to describe a lawless society. Over the top descriptions, such as the extravagance of the opening party and the size of the tree prepared for Mordechai, contribute to this effect. Consistent reversal between the first and second half of the books (Haman hanged on the tree set aside for Mordechai, new decrees that undermine the old decrees threatening the Jews) add a strong layer of irony. Finally, irony coheres with the general theme of Esther, that of covert expression. Though God’s name does not appear, He is profoundly present between the lines: link (PDF)

Purim Sameach!!

About Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada and an Associate Editor of Tradition.

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