The Book of Esther takes us to the heart of destiny moments: a beautiful but unlikely queen evolves into a Jewish leader. A wise and trusted Jewish courtier expands his platform of influence, and a vulnerable minority facing death becomes a powerful people in a land not their own.
Dr. Erica Brown offers us a close textual and thematic reading of this beloved story of courage and heroism against a background of hate and political ineptitude. This ancient story sheds its light on today’s most pressing problems: contemporary antisemitism, sexual tyranny, and the absence of leadership.
“With her trademark clarity and originality, Erica Brown shows why the Book of Esther has enchanted Jews throughout history, and why it still has compelling lessons and insights for contemporary Jews. Dr. Brown’s scholarship is deep but is conveyed in a consistently accessible manner.” - Joseph Telushkin - Rabbi, lecturer, and New York Times bestselling author of Rebbe, Jewish Literacy, and Words That Hurt, Words That Heal
“Erica Brown is one of the great teachers of our generation. She has a unique ability to blend Torah teachings in all their forms with contemporary challenges. This book offers new insights into Esther, one of the more intriguing figures in Jewish history. It teaches us about Esther and, as we read, about ourselves.” - Deborah Lipstadt - Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University
“Erica Brown, who has long captivated readers and listeners alike with her wonderful psychological and literary insight into Jewish texts, has now given us an important new book on Esther. This well-researched book takes a wide lens view of how the Esther story has been received by many over the ages. As such, she gives us much to consider as she so thoughtfully expounds upon the historically fraught nature of Jewish life in the diaspora. Readers will be very grateful that this book significantly deepens our understanding of the meaning of Purim.” - David Makovsky - Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at Washington Institute for Near East Policy and director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations