Is there any basis within the text of the Megillah itself to lend credence to the common Midrashic theme that Vasti was evil?

  • 1
    This question is particularly relevant as she has been widely presented as a feminist heroine (!) e.g. here
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 22, 2015 at 18:02
  • @ShmuelBrin Good point about the period the Gemara itself raises the issue of perception of the Megillah by contemporary Persians claiming that he rabbis of the period raised the issue. Nevertheless, the Megillah does present Achashverosh as at best a well meaning incompetent drunk.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 22, 2015 at 18:27
  • According to the Gemara she is the daughter of Belshazar, the king of the "writing on the wall" story in Daniel. The kingdom was changing hands several times, Darius the Elder lasted just one year as king. That she came from a dodgy line of descent does not of course make her evil but she was not pure either.
    – CashCow
    Feb 22, 2015 at 20:58
  • @CashCow Look at Ester's husband, Avraham's father, Rachel and Leah's father, for a couple of exeptions.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 22, 2015 at 21:40
  • I, too, would love to know the answer to this question. In my learning (Chabad women's) I was taught that she was bad, and I always assumed this was extrapolated from the fact she was disobedient to her husband. But I found this confusing; surely the Chabad women's circle wouldn't rather she danced naked at the party, as asked?!
    – SAH
    Mar 8, 2015 at 5:41

2 Answers 2


Rava (Bavli 12) sees it in 1:9, which says Vashti made a party for women in the king's home: he says she must have made it there rather than in her own home because she intended sin [presumably lewd intermingling].

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    First of all I understood the OP to mean evil as in wicked to people, not to Hashem. Secondly, where is this clear in the text itself?
    – Yehuda
    Feb 22, 2015 at 19:18
  • 1
    @Yehuda I don't know why you'd read "evil" that way. And if you don't see the implication clearly in the verse, don't worry: Rava did.
    – msh210
    Feb 22, 2015 at 19:44
  • For that price the Amoiroim saw everything in the verse, the OP wanted something stated clearly that didnt need Torah She'Baal Peh. IMO.
    – Yehuda
    Feb 22, 2015 at 19:51
  • @Yehuda Please reread the question. It seeks a "basis" in the text of Esther "to lend credence to" what Chazal say. It doesn't seek "maamare Chazal paraphrased in the text of Esther".
    – msh210
    Feb 22, 2015 at 19:55
  • You may be right, I suppose the OP can clarify anyway.
    – Yehuda
    Feb 22, 2015 at 19:58

It depends a lot on the sources: in the Megillah she does nothing wrong, while some midrash describe her as vain, lustful and arrogant (cheating on her husband, stripping her handmaids, etc...); but, even in the latter case, she appears rather mischievous than really evil.

  • In what world is cheating on her husband and abusing her servants not evil???
    – Heshy
    Nov 10 at 12:47
  • In the civilized world, transgressions are not all the same: cheating on a husband or lusting after handmaids is not equal to plan a genocide. "Evil" is someone who primarily aims to harm others; someone who is unable to control his/her lust is rather a dissolute. Vashti aimed primarily to her own pleasure, we can call her "dissolute" but certainly not evil like Aman who planned to exterminate an entire people...
    – Ian
    Nov 13 at 21:53

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