The growing signs that Sarah Palin may enter the race for president are igniting warnings that she takes inspiration from Esther. The signs that she might run include reports that she has purchased a house that could serve as a base for a national campaign, that she has given her approval to a film that depicts her years as governor of Alaska and that will debut at Iowa, and that she’s launching a “One Nation” bus tour. One of the warnings about her that crossed our screen was a blog post by Andrew Sullivan, who writes that Mrs. Palin “is running against the media; she is running as a victim; she is running for revenge.” He adds: “I, for one, feel nothing but a chill go up my spine.” And then: “Queen Esther is coming. Look busy.”
What’s with this angst over Esther? She is, after all, one of the great heroes in the Jewish story. It was Esther who, at great risk to herself, exposed to King Ahasureus the plot of Haman to kill the Jews of Persia and thus saved her people. When Benyamin Korn first reported in the Sun that Mrs. Palin used the biblical Book of Esther as bedtime reading material for her eight-year-old daughter, it caused something of an internet sensation. Mrs. Palin, Mr. Korn reported, wants her daughter to emulate Esther, “who,” as Mr. Korn put it, “risked everything to save the Jewish people from Haman’s plan for genocide.” It’s lost on no one that once again the threat of genocide hangs over the Jewish people from Persia, whence Iran openly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. If Esther is a heroine who resonates for Mrs. Palin, what it shows is how deeply rooted is her understanding of our modern world.
So what about it could possibly cause a chill in a sage of the left? Maybe they fear that by expressing admiration for Esther Mrs. Palin is suggesting that the leftist leaders might be comparable to Haman. We don’t believe that is what Mrs. Palin is suggesting. But surely the story of Esther will give her comprehension the current tyranny at Iran is comparable to the tyranny from which Esther delivered the Jews. So her admiration for Esther does not send a chill down our spine. It engenders in us a sense of encouragement that here is a leader who understands the long history and the current emergency. We do not suggest she is the only one. We do suggest she is one with a much deeper comprehension of the current world than the capital gives her credit for — a circumstance she shares with a certain Jewish woman of long ago.