Sunday, March 16, 2003

Purim and Persistence

Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim. It is the holiday with the most fun attached to it of the entire Jewish calendar year. We give our friends baskets of food, dress up in costume, give money to the poor and read the Book of Esther which includes in it the story of Purim. It is one long day of partying.

The Book of Esther takes place in Persia, modern day Iran, about 2300 years ago. It describes the events that lead to the decree of death on the Jewish People of the time and the eventual downfall of the main evil character of Haman. It is an exciting story, with enough plot twists and turns that it would be a blockbuster if ever turned into a movie.

One of the interesting points about the Book of Esther is that the name of G-d is not even mentioned once. The main point being that G-d is behind the scenes directing the events that were occurring and unfolding to reveal the salvation of the Jews.

This is also the reason why Jews dress in costume on Purim. In order to show that nothing is as it seems, people wear anything from the heroes and villains of the Purim story, to Spiderman, or just a subtle nose ring. Nothing is as it seems.

The main question we are left with at this point is what do we gain from reading and learning about the Purim story. Through various events, the heroine Esther is placed in the position of the Queen of Persia. As the story progresses we see that she has been placed in that position for a reason. She was there to save the Jews from the evil decree. However, when the time came to save the Jews it was no simple task, she was required to actually risk her own life in order to save the entire group.

The message is clear. We are all placed in different positions in our lives. We all have different families, and family lives. We have obstacles that have to be cleared and dealt with. We have uncomfortable situations that we do not want to have to have anything to do with. The lesson is to deal with them.

Esther was put in her position to make a difference. The key to life is to choose to make a difference. Esther could have backed out of doing what needed to be done, but she didn't. We have all given the excuses: It's not my job. It's not my responsibility. It's not my problem.

We need to choose to make a difference, and not make excuses. You do not have to be Superman to make a difference. Give someone a ride to the corner store. Give charity to the place of your choice. Volunteer your time at a shelter.

You do not need to risk your life to make a difference. You do not need to the ruler of a nation or empire to make a difference. You do need to choose to make a difference and follow through, then you will be royalty in your own right.

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