THE SCROLL OF ESTHER opens with the strangest of scenes. Reading chapter one alone, you would never know this is a Jewish book or that it has anything to do with Judaism or Jewish history. True, there is the striking absence of G-d’s name mentioned throughout the scroll, or megillah, but upon studying the text there are opportunities to sense and feel G-d’s guiding presence. But chapter one? It reads more like a modern-day Mardi Gras party, or upon careful study, a party with more licentious motives.
Why open the megillah painting such a scene? It could have simply started off with the fact that there was no queen and that a search for a new queen was about to commence, and then proceed with the selection of Queen Esther.
What’s the point of all the party detail? Chapter one gives the megillah, and more specifically Esther’s challenging circumstances, a context.