April 16, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 16, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Some people think that Megillat Esther is a historical record. Some think it is an allegory. Some think it is a satire. Some think it is a farce. Some think it is a parody.

They are all wrong. I know the truth and I am about to share it with you.

Weight loss.

Before going further, let me tell you why I am uniquely qualified to advance this interpretation. I am a former professor. I am a former attorney. I am the author of “The Manly Man’s Diet For Manly Men.” It is available on Amazon and has sold well over 26 copies. Check it out. Let me know when you return.

***

Oh. Hi. Wasn’t sure that you actually were coming back. Many people get so engrossed in the book that they forget who they are or what they are doing. Being thinner, they tend to date more and spend more time alone with their spouses. So I am both surprised and delighted that you are back. You look terrific.

Now, to any of you who are hamstrung by traditional interpretations and harbor any doubt that Megillat Esther is primarily concerned with food, consider this: There are 10—count them, 10—feasts or banquets in the Megillah. Ten. Almost as many feasts as eunuchs, and there are eunuchs in every corner of the story—more eunuchs than you can shake a stick at. Ten chapters in the Megillah–and 10 feasts.

You might think it a coincidence that there are also Ten Commandments in the Torah, but there are no coincidences and there are clear connections between eating and the various commandments. Just as one can covet a neighbor’s donkey, one can covet her lemon meringue pie. Shabbat is supposed to be sanctified, in part, through food. Would it hurt you to occasionally honor your elderly parents by inviting them for a meal? While eating may not be exactly the same as adultery, there is cheating involved in both. Eating unwisely can kill you, and if you are on a diet, you have both cheated, stolen, and probably taken God’s name in vain.

But I digress.

The Megillah begins its diet program by describing two feasts sponsored by Achashverosh, one lasting 180 days and the second lasting seven days. The message is clear. Even if you have overindulged in a truly disgusting and extreme manner, you can begin to cut back. The reduction should not be sudden, but gradual. Too many people start diets with unrealistic expectations and doom their efforts to failure. Go slow. Have a treat. Feast for seven days once in a while. But no more six-month binges.

Remember that the paramount goal of the wicked Haman was: “להשמין את כל היהודים.”

Another bit of salutary advice comes from no less a personage than Queen Esther, who is reported to be envied by all the other biblical heroines for her trim figure. She invites the king and her arch-enemy Haman to not one, but two, feasts.

“. .יבוא המלך והמן היום אל-המשתה אשר-עשיתי לו” and “יבוא המלך והמן אל-המשתה אשר אעשה להם מחר”

One sure way to lose weight is to invite the king (in a democracy, a president may substitute) and an antisemite who wants all Jews dead (these days, pretty much anyone will serve) to a meal at your home. History has proven that there is no more effective curb to a hearty appetite than dining with someone who wants to annihilate you and your people.

Some might consider that approach extreme, but losing weight is serious business.

There is also Vashti’s feast, just for women. As Rashi should have pointed out, unlike her husband, Vashti served only vegetables, with a heavy concentration on kale, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, and anti-autoimmune staples. My wife has been on this diet for seven months, and she has been in a bad mood for seven months. This actually explains why Vashti refused to appear at the king’s feast. He had all that real food there. And she was in a diet-induced bad mood.

Another digression: Vashti’s feast and its consequences demonstrate that separate seating at catered affairs is a gentile (possibly pagan) custom that is deleterious to marital relationships. Separate kiddushes, on the other hand, are a very good idea. OK—back to the diet.

Of course, at the end of the book, the Jews celebrate with feasts on the 14th and 15th day of Adar. Once you have been on the Megillah Diet and achieved your goal, you may resume normal feasting, so long as you accompany it with gifts to the poor. Eating with poor people also acts as an appetite suppressant. I know, I know. It’s not nice, but that is just the way it is. It’s hard to eat seven-layer cake when there’s a hungry poor person nearby.

Ralbag says that a mishteh—a feast—is characterized by the consumption of wine. The Megillah Diet requires you to drink yourself silly once a week, and the drinking must continue until you have regurgitated everything that you have eaten and drank until that point. This weekly cleansing is an essential part of the Megillah Diet.

These are all peripheral. The centerpiece of the Megillah Diet is the following:

ותאמר אסתר להשיב אל מרדכי.  לך כנוס את כל היהודים הנמצאים בשושן וצומו עלי ואל תאכלו ואל תשתו שלשת ימים לילה ויום וגם אני ונערתי אצום כן ובכן אבוא אל המלך אשר לא כדת וכאשר אבדתי אבדתי.

Esther told Hatach (one of the ubiquitous eunuchs) to tell Mordechai to gather all the Jews in Shushan and have them fast on behalf of Esther, neither eating nor drinking for three days, night and day; Esther and her maidens would also fast and afterwards, whether or not the dieting had brought them to goal, encouraged by whatever weight she had lost (אבדתי), she would appear before the king.

And, of course, because the diet works, the Jews are saved and may eat again.

To summarize the basic weekly elements of the diet. Day 1: You stop bingeing; you have a normal meal, preferably with a monarch and an antisemite. Day 2: You drink to excess, to the point where you vomit and clean yourself out. Day 3: You have one meal—a low-calorie, all-vegetable Vashti feast. Days 4-6: You fast for three days and nights. Day 7: Shabbat—you eat a normal meal (monarch and antisemite optional).

There you have it. A simple and effective diet, approved by the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah, the Great Assembly, and proven effective.

If it works, go and buy my book. If it doesn’t work, buy my book anyway; maybe that will work. It is a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries, Purim, Pesach, and more.


Gary Epstein is a retired teacher and lawyer residing in Modi’in, Israel. He was formerly the Head of the Global Corporate and Securities Department of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv, which he founded and of which he was the first Managing Partner. He and his wife Ahuva are blessed with18 grandchildren, ka”h, all of whom he believes are well above average. He currently does nothing. He believes he does it well.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles