b'JEWISH CALENDAR COMPANIONPURIMMARY REIGNER LEIGHW eallknowthejoysofPurim.The reading of the Megillah. The traditions of observance include the fact that the women must hear the Megillah twiceread by a man in an orthodox setting. This is an obligation because of the importance which Esther played in the saving of the Jewish people. After the first reading in the evening, we celebrate with a party and the following day there is a second reading of the Megillah for women, again to honour Esther. The story is very simple, Esther was an orphan and was the ward of Mordecai. When Queen Vashti, wife of the King Ahasuerus, failed to obey him he ordered his servants to seek out a young maiden who might replace her. Esther was chosen a one of many to provide a choice to Ahasuerus. Mordecai had told Esther not to reveal her Jewish identity to the King. Ultimately, Ahasuerus chose her to be his Queen. We know the story very well. We remember Haman, a high official of the Court of Ahasuerus, required all people bow down and prostrate themselves before him. Mordecai refused to do so. Haman plotted to not only against Mordecai, but to annihilate all Jews in Persia which would include Esther. Esther, at the risk of her life, went to the Ahasuerus and after three day of fasting, set about Hamans downfall, in which she succeeded. Haman had already had built a gallows to hang Mordecai but Ahasuerus ordered him to be hanged on it. Decrees were sent out throughout Persia to stop the massacre of the Jews, who we are told of all that they could kill their enemies. This story then tells us that some 75,000 were killed but the Jews took nothing from them. So what do we learn from this story. Esther, a beautiful young woman had become the wife of Ahasuerus. No one asked her if she wanted to his wife and he was a man of such power and unpredictability that a person risked their life go to him without being summoned. But by the will of G-d Esther was in a position to save her people 39'