Behind the fun of Purim are serious messages, teachings for life. Stuart Crown, Ahavat Olam’s treasurer, reminded me of one this morning.
Esther has to face herself. She is the queen, elevated to a position of great ease and comfort in the palace, far from want or worry. To get along, all she needs is to go along. Keep her head down. Not rock the boat. But suddenly, she is called upon to put everything at risk to take a chance – and only a chance -- at saving her people.
We each are called to face ourselves, possibly every single day. Not as dramatically as risking our own lives to stop a genocide, but we are confronted with moral choices every day. What are we willing to risk? How much of our comfort? Our position?
Esther and Mordechai’s dynamics are instructive.
At first, Esther objects that the risk is too great. Insecure, afraid to jeopardize her privilege, “Not me,” she implies.
Mordechai assures her that if not through her, the salvation will come another way. What must happen will happen. He is sure. But, if she does not step up and do what she must, then she will indeed perish. Perhaps it is precisely for this purpose that Esther has been elevated to such a position. Esther gets it and takes on the task. Knowing she needs support, she calls on her people to fast with her for three days of deep spiritual preparation and then she goes and does what she must.
Here's what resonates for me: How am I willing to use my position and my privilege to be an ally and advocate for those who are not so advantaged. How much will I protect my apparent position by staying compliant, not using the opportunity my position affords me? May I learn from Esther . . .