“The Koren Tanakh Graphic Novel Esther” is an excellent volume that will be enjoyed by young and old. The biblical story of Esther and Mordecai’s struggle against anti-Semitism in ancient Persia has fascinated people of all religions for centuries. The events are celebrated joyously by the holiday of Purim instituted by ordinary people, not rabbis nor Jewish leaders. The people were fascinated by the events. The rabbis accepted the holiday celebration of what transpired only after the people created the practice. This is what the book itself says. With its graphic drawings, this volume will enlighten and bring smiles to people who read it.
Because of the broad interest and enjoyment of the Esther story, many graphics exist. This book is one of the best. Instead of the usual English translation, the 178-page book has the biblical Hebrew with the often-praised unique Koren forms of the Hebrew letterings on pages left. In contrast, many graphic portrayals of the Hebrew with modern English translations are shown on the right. The drawings are eye-catching. Esther is beautiful. We see the emotions on her face and in her actions. Mordecai looks pious. The king looks dumb and fat. With his Adolph Hitler-type mustache, Haman seems like a conniver; we see it in his eyes.
Jews and non-Jews of all ages can benefit by reading the Esther story in its graphic manner. The drawings show matters that readers of the Hebrew and English fail to see. There is more depth in the illustrations. There is more to enjoy and think about.
Thank you Rabbi Drazin. I think you have great blog and I will keep reading it when I get the opportunity. Many of the things your write about teach me a great deal. I think there is saying somewhere in the Talmud about teachers learning from their students and that is what we have here. Keep up the good work and being human.
Yes, Jacqui, you taught me.
I won’t be buying this book. I don’t like that ” The king looks dumb and fat. With his Adolph Hitler-type mustache,” I doubt that Persian men of this period wore a moustache, it is more likely they wore a beard. The association with AH is also a problem. We rightly point out antisemitic Jewish cartoons with Jewish men depicted looking fat with hooked noses and looking like a “connivers.” We shouldn’t be in the business of promoting anti-non-Jewish cartoons in the same way. I wonder how Vashti is depicted, or the slaughter at the end? Esther is a morally complicated book and we fail to be honest if we teach it as a simple story of Jewish “goodies” and non-Jewish “badies.” I am not saying that Haman and his supporters were right in what they tried to do, they were clearly wrong, but we should take care not to indulge in our version of cultural stereotypes by association. It may be true that, “Jews and non-Jews of all ages can benefit by reading the Esther story in its graphic manner.” but, I now wonder if it is in the way anticipated, particularly when non-Jews see the illustrations.
You are right, Jacqui, and I was wrong. I agree with you. I wish I did not make mistakes. But I am human.