Ask Avigail: Queen Esther

New evidence has been unearthed at the Tel All archeological dig by a team of Israeli anthropologists, researching and documenting the union between Persia’s King Achashveros and a Persian Hebrew maiden, Esther. Reports of an authentic scroll entitled, CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-PURIM QUEEN (an autobiography by Esther) was quoted as a source. An infamous advice columnist of that era, Ask Avigail, has been documented to have mentioned the union between this Royal couple. From this parchment, Talmudic scholars, historians and those who can’t seem to get a Tall Man’s tunic to fit without alterations, can get a glimpse into the past (without experiencing whiplash).

Dear Avigail,

I have a terrible problem. My daughter is dating a non-Hebrew, and I fear it is getting way too serious. Maybe it is our fault for adopting a Nomadic lifestyle – we made camp, and then as soon as the last stanza of Kumbaya ended, we were on our way. There was no time to make friends, realize one’s dreams, or take out the garbage. Do you have any sagacious advice to help me in my dilemma, and could you recommend a good pest control company? My neighbor’s kid is practicing his lute at 3 a.m.

Suffering in Samaria


Dear Suffering,

A friend of mine had a similar problem. Her daughter met a young fellow from a far away tribe, that named their offspring after symbolic traits of animals and inanimate objects. For example, her young man was referred to as Playing Possum. The name possibly held the connotation of a sloth-like teenager, weasel-like slacker, or parole-breaking criminal. This person was always found to be camped out in front of the totem, smoking the peace pipe, while the rest of the tribe hunted and gathered, stopping for an occasional cup of coffee during the smoke break. Playing Possum’s brother was a brave named sittingonatackthatskillingmytookiss. Needless to say, he did not do well in a comfy desk job. Although Possum seemed like a nice enough fellow, when his family extended the peace pipe at the rite of the Machatunim* and asked my friend’s name, she responded, “sittingshiva,*” and repeatedly struck her head in a cactus patch.

Anyway, sometimes intermarriages work out and thrive. I have a relative in Persia who has a niece, Esther. She lived with her Uncle Mordechai (Morty) because she couldn’t get along with her father, Mortify. He constantly embarrassed her, put her down and tuned out her teenage tantrums. He had no experience with puberty; he was born with a beard and resembled a chia pet at 12. He was neither fun nor frivolous, and considered buying retail as much of a sin as idol worship. He tried to find a worthy husband for her. His standards were high; he inquired about the young man’s lineage. Did any of his ancestors belong to the Masons? Did he inherit the secret handshake which would garner discounts, only privy to members? Were there any arrest warrants for unpaid parking tickets?

Esther loved her Uncle Morty, to whom she poured her heart out. She did not like her father’s choices of marriage partners, especially when he started off with “He’s got a great personality.” Uncle Morty heard of a rumor that the King was looking for a new Queen. The King threw a Persian poker party, and he promised his friends a great party with food, wine and cheap entertainment. The former Queen Vashti was supposed to get on the stage for the Hawaiian number, but declined at the last minute. She suffered from unexplained fears of going out of her chambers, probably because the King insisted she come to his gala in less dressing than the turkey. The insurance company argued with her family that meeting with an untimely death, when her head accidentally made contact with the blade of a swinging sword, was not an act of nature. Every young maiden was eager to be crowned “Queen of Persia”, but the title of Miss Congeniality was not to be scoffed at either.
Esther worried about the fact that the King wasn’t Jewish. Where would they go for the High Holidays? Reform? She voiced her fears to her Uncle Mordechai. He then shared a frightening incident with her, although he was saving it for a conversational lull. One day, the King’s #1 Viceroy, Hay Man, was strutting down the royal driveway on his prize stallion. All bowed in his presence except Mordechai. He couldn’t move because of a herniated disc. Hay Man saw this and lost his temper. “Impudent Hebrew, why aren’t you bowing to me?” Mordechai cursed the fact that he had left his MRI at home, as well as the note from his doctor about avoiding bowing, or operating heavy machinery, for a week.
From that day, Hay Man chewed on his own liver and plotted his vengeance against Mordechai and his entire race.
With that royalization, Esther realized that this potential union with the King was far greater than a feudal relationship; it meant the survival of her own people, and not having to wait on long lines to post a letter. She vowed that she would win the beauty contest, in order to sway the King’s judgment against the Jews.

First, she went for a full body wax job. Now, nobody was saying that Esther had an excess of body hair, but the wax technician (who moonlighted as an embalming fluid engineer) was reported to have found a whole thriving ecosystem underneath the first exfoliation.
Esther began to work on the talent competition. The judges chose the topic: Dance of the Seven Sales. She would do a modern, interpretive dance, symbolizing the virtues of consumer frenzy and the glorification of discount coupons, whilst costumed in a gold, lamey thong. Although she only had two “hustle” lessons and she tended to lead, she had confidence in herself. To her credit, she had an adorable shiksa-like nose which she attributed to the foresight of her parents; they had undergone nose jobs before she was born. Her dance was original and was sure to shock the King into sobriety. He would stand up (with the aid of his servants) and take note of her dazzling beauty!

First, she selected a sexy number designed by Irving of Isfahar. It was a flowing, white gown, with a white satin belt which she placed between her teeth. She chose a red, lipstick called BITE ME. She went on stage; the air was fraught with tension. Suddenly, she leaped into the air in convulsive capitulations. It was riveting. Esther had danced herself to fame and Royalty with her passionate dance, ODE TO TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME. She was crowned Queen; Hey Man was burnt laffah.

She had a lot of time to herself in the palace. There were 300 wives, concubines, mistresses and arbitration lawyers in the women’s quarters. Someone was always up for a game of Rummikub. She often snuck out of her luxurious chambers dressed in peasant clothes. But, she was often recognized and brought back against her will. Who told her to keep her diamond tiara on?

So, sometimes intermarriage might not be so great for the couple, but it may ward off a mass annihilation of staggering proportions… Then again, it may not.


*Machatunim- term used to describe the parents of both the bride and groom. The first meeting is to get to know the background of the fiancé: What does the father do? How does he do it? How does his reputation hold up? Any defecation of character? Does the mother use a plastic disposable, or fabric tablecloth for Shabbat?

*Tookis: Aramaic word for the portable, extended, card table affixed to your lower back.

About the Author
Shashi Ishai is a former stand-up/cartoonist from Teaneck, N.J. She resides in Netanya with her husband, Yacov; daughter, Zehava; son Zaki and dog, Stanley .Shashi is the author of ASK AVIGAIL: Advice from a Biblical Era Sagette, available on Amazon.
Related Topics
Related Posts