Shabbat was the last day of the great seven-day feast in the King's palace. While pious Jews everywhere ceased working, and spent the day in prayer and Torah study, the wild revels at the palace did not abate. The King, his tongue loosened by wine, began to boast of his riches, of his vast empire, and then of Vashti, his queen, whose extraordinary beauty and wondrous charm surpassed those of all other women. Made reckless by the intoxicating liquors he imbibed, one of the guests challenged the King to prove the truth of his words and allow Vashti to display her beauty before the guests. The King immediately sent for Vashti, his queen, to appear before his guests.

In Vashti's heart burned a vicious hate for the Jews, which she had acquired from her grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar. She delighted in tormenting Jewish children by sending for them on Shabbat and forcing them to perform all sorts of demeaning tasks. When the King sent for her, she cried indignantly, "Am I to be sent for like a common slave, a mere servant girl?" and she boldly refused to do the King's bidding to come to the banquet hall.

King Achashverosh was enraged. He called upon the wise men of his kingdom to pass sentence upon Vashti for her disobedience. But all were afraid to answer. All, with the exception of one Haman, then an obscure official by the name of Memuchan, the lowest ranking official present. He advised the King to have Vashti executed, as her disgraceful act would have far reaching consequences. And so Vashti was executed for her rebelliousness. But it was not a mere coincidence that the cruel Vashti was executed on the very day of Shabbat; it was the penalty she paid for the suffering she had inflicted upon the Jewish children on the holy day of Shabbat.