New OU Press Book Unmasks Purim

03 Mar 2011


Readers will rejoice before Purim this year as they gain a deeper and more mature understanding of Megillat Esther from Rabbi David Fohrman’s new book, The Queen You Thought You Knew: Unmasking Esther’s Hidden Story, recently published by OU Press | Jewish Educational Publications. The biblical book of Esther can easily masquerade as a child’s tale. There is a villain about to hang Mordechai and murder his countrymen; a king who enjoys drinking; and a beautiful and noble queen. There are assassins, palace intrigue, suspense, and a climactic battle scene – and a happy ending, to boot. What more could you ask for in a good child’s story?

But the Bible is no fairy tale. In his new book, Rabbi Fohrman invites the public to look at Megillat Esther with fresh eyes. With the engaging style that has made him such a popular lecturer, he takes readers on a guided adventure – a close reading of the ancient biblical text – in which he reveals another Purim story. Hiding in plain sight is a richer, deeper narrative – more suited perhaps to the eyes of an adult than to a child. As layers of meaning are gradually revealed, Esther’s hidden story comes alive in a vibrant, unexpected way, offering the reader a fascinating and thought-provoking encounter with the queen they thought they knew.

This exciting and groundbreaking book is sure to enhance readers’ Purim with a new perspective. Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President Emeritus of the Orthodox Union, says that the book “provides a stirring and creative new look at the story of Queen Esther; it is sure to enrich, enliven and refresh the reader’s experience of Purim.”

Rabbi David Fohrman serves as scholar-in-residence for the Institute for Text Study, a division of the Hoffberger Foundation for Torah Studies. He teaches on biblical themes at Johns Hopkins University, in homes, and in synagogues, as well as online. Rabbi Fohrman served as a senior editor and writer of the Schottenstien Edition of the Talmud, a 72 volume elucidation of the Babylonian Talmud published by ArtScroll Mesorah. He is also the author of The Beast That Crouches at the Door: Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, and Beyond, a finalist for the 2007 National Jewish Book Awards.

The Queen You Thought You Knew is the latest offering from OU Press, the publishing house of the Orthodox Union that recently published Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays by Rabbi Norman Lamm and Darosh Darash Yosef: Discourses of Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik on the Weekly Parashah by Rabbi Avishai David. Important future books include the Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur, a new prayer book with a magisterial commentary based on Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s teachings, accompanied by the eloquent translation of the prayers by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the popular Koren layout.

Copies of this book, which cost $24.95 each, are available through

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