Megillat Esther seems, on the face of it, to be very straightforward. It records a narrative that flows neatly from beginning to end, telling a story of palace intrigue and political shenanigans, an ‘almost’ tragedy that has a happy ending.
Well, not quite to the end. The last chapter – just 3 pesukim – describes Mordechai’s elevation to the most important post in the Persian empire, and his success at collecting taxes for the king. Very strange. Why is this information left for an afterthought, or even recorded at all?
Also, why does the Talmud insist that whenever the word ‘Hamelech’ – ‘the king’ – is mentioned in the Megilla, rather than talking about Achashverosh, it means God?
And another thing – what is the reason for the curious halachic requirement to get drunk on Purim, and why is it significant to be unaware of the difference between ‘Cursed is Haman’ and ‘Blessed is Mordechai’ when doing so?
In answering all of these seemingly unconnected questions Rabbi Dunner examines the complex relationship between Mordechai and Haman, and endeavors to come up with a unifying theme for all the aspects of Megillat Esther and Purim, some of which are familiar, and some of which are not.