"On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded...to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal . . . But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by the chamberlains." (Esther 1:10-12)

The Talmud states that she was ordered to appear naked (that is, only in her crown, and nothing else). This is because the kelipot do not have any real existence in the world, only when they are enclothed in some aspect. And since the king requested to bring Vashti - an allusion to the kelipot (as opposed to Esther who is on the side of holiness) - naked, without a garment, she refused to come. For how could she? She lacks existence without the garments.

This is a very deep matter, and not every mind can grasp these holy words.

[Ohr HaMeir on Megillat Esther]

The evil inclination clothes itself in mitzvot….

It is known that the evil inclination clothes itself in mitzvot. It knows that were it to overtly tell someone to sin, the person would never listen. Therefore, it dresses itself up in mitzvot, which gives it a front, and a "face" to entice a person. Otherwise, a person would never sin. I heard this in the name of the Baal Shem Tov [on the verse] that King Achashverus commanded Vashti to appear before him naked, but she would not come. [That is, the evil inclination will never appear naked to a person; i.e. with its intentions revealed. Rather, it must always work in covert ways.]

[Toldot Aharon, Miketz]

"Now when the turn of every maiden came to go in to king Achashverus…." (ibid. 2:12)

This refers to the spark of holiness that exists in the depths of the impure shells.

Each thing has its time….

Because in that place, all the goodness has been shaken out of them, they are called "maidens." However, we must be strong to free them from this enslavement, and to connect them to their source. This is "to go into the King".

Nothing that a person sees or hears is accidental. This [fallen] thought is called "Nukva", and wants to receive holiness. In every place, there are holy sparks and holy letters that constantly long for and desire their root. Each one wants to connect itself to that which resembles it - love to love, beauty to beauty, etc. [In other words, fallen traits, such as materialistic loves, desire for physical beauty, are in their root desire and longing for G‑d, and constantly long to ascend to their true source.] If a person uplifts them, his reward will be very great. For each thing has its time, as it is written: "When the turn of every maiden came to go in to king."

[Likutey Amorim p. 32a]

"And with this, the maiden came before the king…" (Esther 2:13)

This refers to the pillar [that ascends] from the lower Garden of Eden to the Higher Garden of Eden, which is created by the mitzvot, which are 620 pillars of light.

[Tzror HaChayim p. 38b]

[Originally produced for and reprinted with permission from www.baalshemtov.com]