Today’s OT lesson is probably my favorite in the Hebrew Bible!

Today at Mass we heard the story of Queen Esther. This story is one of my all-time favorites in the entire Hebrew Bible.

Not only was this young Jewish woman incredibly beautiful{ according to legend}  , but she was smart. Married to a Persian king,  Esther discovered a plot by the evil Haman to have all the Jewish people in the area murdered. When her husband asked her what she wanted–anything up to & including half of his kingdom}  she informed him that she is Jewish{ I am guessing she didn’t let him know the truth about her ethnicity before now???} The king agreed to save the Jewish people from the planned massacre.

Esther is a hero to the Jewish people { and yeah, we Jewish Christians are still Jewish]

My question is: why did Esther hide her ethnic identity from her husband. From what I’ve read & been told–the guy was clearly smitten with her. Did she fear that ill fortune would come her way if people discovered that their Queen is Jewish? Did she really think that her husband would divorce her based on her ethnicity?

Of course I am hearing this story with 21st century Jewish Christian ears–and as a young woman born in 1976 in America. 

My Jewishness is not ” visible”{ Is anyone’s Jewishness visible…sadly some would answer that question with a vehement ‘yes’}.  Since my father is Irish-American, my last name is Irish. But I’m not only Irish-American, I am Jewish-American as well.

The way I see it, the Star of David is a symbol of ethnic Jewish pride.My ancestors in Europe during th Hitler years were forced to wear this six-pointed star on all their clothing as a mark of ethnicity–I can understand why some Holocaust survivors might feel strongly against displaying or wearing a Star of David anywhere on their body.

After I visited the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC a few years back– I felt a deep kinship with the souls of those who perished under Hitler’s reign. I see a parallel between Haman in today’s Old Testament lesson & the Hitler who ordered the murder of over 6 million European Jews.

In our nation where religious freedom is a birthright, I’ve never felt the desire to hide my ethnicity from ANYONE. My Jewishness is part of why I have the worldview that I do regarding prejudice against * any* group of people.  I am a Christian— but a Christ-follower with some genealogical roots in Judaism. My Christianity does not negate my Jewisness & my heritage does not cancel my faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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