Let's Honor Vashti, Too.

So this Purim I’m teaching my daughter another lesson.  I’m teaching her that Vashti was a  hero, too.  And so are  all women who stand up for themselves only to get knocked down or worse before standing up again, for all women who have been bullied or belittled, for all women who have wanted to say no and were afraid or who have said no and were punished ... Let's honor Vashti, too ... Brave and beautiful Vashti who stood up for herself... And was disappeared.

by Sarah Tuttle-Singer, New Media Editor at The Times of Israel

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I was eight years old and wearing a paper crown with press on sticker jewels and star stickers and sitting on the steps to the bima next to Stephanie at our synagogue in Culver City, California.  She was also wearing a paper crown but hers was covered in tin foil.  Ditto Jessica, and Jamie, and Lisa, and Arielle.  

Literally all the girls. 

We all wanted to be Queen Esther, because obviously.  

She was beautiful.  She was brave.  She did the right thing.   

She used the resources she had - wit and beauty and a lot of wine - to save her people -- the Jews of Shushan, Persia... and yeah, that's worth celebrating.

Also, she lived happily ever after. 

But I’ve been thinking as I watch my own daughter grow - in a world where the ground is shifting around sexual politics and sexual assault. In a world where women are finally - FINALLY - coming forward to declare #Metoo 

I’ve been thinking about Queen Vashti.  

Queen Vashti who showed a little gumption. Queen Vashti who refused her husband, the king, when he drunkenly ordered her to dance wearing her crown. And only her crown.

Queen Vashti who said "no,” and then disappeared.

Her story only matters as an intro to the "real story," in fact most of us have no idea what really happened to her.. Some say she was banished. 

If that's true, then maybe she ended up a scribe in Babylon, or a wine maker, or a dancer, or maybe married again with twelve babies.  

Most people say she was beheaded.

Who knows.

Because whatever her fate, it didn't even warrant a footnote.

And that flat out sucks. 

And the worst part is the lesson we teach our children when we move on like Queen Vashti’s disappearance ain’t no thang.  

Our daughters and our sons see that. 

So this Purim I’m teaching my daughter another lesson.  I’m teaching her that Vashti was a  hero, too.  And so are  all women who stand up for themselves only to get knocked down or worse before standing up again, for all women who have been bullied or belittled, for all women who have wanted to say no and were afraid or who have said no and were punished ... Let's honor Vashti, too ... Brave and beautiful Vashti who stood up for herself... And was disappeared.

Let this be  lesson to all of us, women and men, to remember her with respect and awe as befitting a brave queen, and teach our children, too.