Do you sometimes feel like Purim is a holiday that’s just for kids?
With all of the attention on Purim costumes, carnivals and hamantaschen, it’s easy to think that way. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Like a good Pixar movie that equally engages both parents and kids alike, Purim teaches us deep lessons that we need to learn at this moment; about a world gone mad, and how each of us must take part in setting it on the right course. Given the war raging in Ukraine, these are important lessons for us all now.
The story of the Megillah reflects how precarious and chaotic life can feel and how everything can turn on a dime. With that kind of uncertainty, similar to what we are experiencing today, we have three options: We can ignore reality, we can face reality and become overwhelmed by it, or we can take action and help change reality for the better.
There’s one moment in the Megillah that stands out to me that leads us to the third option. It’s the moment in which Mordechai (Queen Esther’s uncle) encourages Esther to fully embody her role and position in the royal court.
In the Megillah, Mordechai writes to Queen Esther, “Who knows, perhaps you have been placed in this royal position just for this crisis?” (chapter 4:14-15)
Esther was motivated by Mordechai’s proposition; you were meant for this moment. She needed that encouragement to move her to action. With that she summoned the courage to take a risk to advocate on behalf of her people directly to King Ahashveros.
What if we internalized that message?
What if, when we are feeling overwhelmed instead of ignoring our feelings or hiding under the covers, we turned to a friend, or a relative and asked for that encouragement to listen to the call of the moment.
What if we modeled that for our daughters and sons too? When they see something that doesn’t look right, feel right, or when there is a bully that is trying to put other people down, they can look to you, their parents, to help them understand how they are meant to respond in that moment too.
The War in Ukraine is leaving so many of us feeling helpless and hopeless. But there is always something we all can do. We can be more charitable, and if we live in an area in which refugees are arriving, we can give our time to help.
Let’s let Queen Esther’s determination motivate us to respond to the call of this moment.
Chag Purim Sameach.
With blessings for peace,
Ps. Here are links to organizations that are working directly to offer humanitarian support to Ukrainians.