The Purim Connection
6 years ago yhazan 0
What is a Jew? Where does the word “Jew” even come from? In a world overflowing with search engines and books, the answer should seem quite evident, right? Jews-chosen people? Nation? Religion? But, is that the definition of the word “Jew”? As Jews, are we really aware of our responsibility as Jews and what being a Jew truly means?
All throughout the Torah, we are referred to as many things, mainly as “B’nai Israel”. In almost every scenario, every story, every Torah portion, in Egypt, Greece, during the times of our forefathers, we are referred to as B’nai Israel….all the way up to the Purim story, that is.
Do you know how to say “Jew” in Hebrew? Yehudi/Yehudit. Only in the Purim story and afterwards are we referred to as yehudim (Jews) in the Torah.
Purim solidifies the belief that the definition of being a Jew is to have pride in our religion and, most importantly, pride in the morals and values that we hold so dearly as Jews. Only amidst the era of Purim have we earned the title of being called Yehudim through pride.
The Jews of Persia could have easily succumbed and converted; however, the Jews at the time did the contrary! Though they lived in exile, Jews continued to be proud of their beliefs and did not hide who they were. They lived among the people of Persia, but continued to keep their faith alive, shocking the nation’s, included Haman, who made a point of mentioning their different ways to Achashverosh.
A relatable and tenacious character in the in the Torah is Queen Esther. Let’s take a closer look at her character and her decisions. First off, the megillah is named after Esther. Why? Esther risked everything for the Jewish people. Esther was ripped away from her family, forced to marry the king without consent and even risked her whole entire life to save the Jewish nation. With that said, Esther displayed a huge amount of courage, portraying her inner essence as a Jew. When writing about Purim, I cannot help but mention a certain special someone. I am blessed to say that I have a certain Queen Esther of my own in which I have a great admiration for. Fortunately, I have had the pleasure of having her by my side in my daily life. I may not see Esther everyday, however, her voice and genuine positive influence is continuously in my forethought no matter the project or challenge I choose to take on. Esther has always helped me strive, even being the final push to guiding me in joining the CTeen Connection Blog. Esther Rader has similar traits to the biblical Esther that that we all are lucky to share.
The Jewish commentator Rashi well known Rashi asks an important question in his first commentary on the Torah which is substantial for us today, as we own the proud Jew title. How come the Torah starts first with creation rather than the first mitzvah? The Torah isn’t a history book, the Torah is our guideline through life via mitzvot. Should any nation in the world come one day and question our right to the holy land of Eretz Yisrael? We should be aware and advocate for what is ours. G-d created the world giving us Israel. We learn from Torah that from the beginning of time, Israel belongs to us Jews . We do not ever need to be apologetic; we are the yehudim from Purim who didn’t and shouldn’t ever opt out.
As we learn from Purim to forevermore be confident in our belief system as
A modern day example that we are all faced to deal with is the Middle Eastern conflict; a specific challenge that we may all have to face is BDS (the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement). BDS has become a trend, which in often cases is shielded as anti-Semitism under a veil of righteousness pretending to fight for the weak. BDS poisons any potential goodwill between Israel at its opposing sides. Let us keep in mind what Rashi teaches us; it is our moral obligation to stand PROUDLY side by side with our state of Israel and to look to the facts. Remember CTeen, don’t be scared to empower our Jewish youth. Strive! If one candle can light up a dark room, with the strength of good deeds and mitzvot, we can light up the world!
So, CTeeners, let me ask you: what can we take away from this message? We are spread out in cities and countries throughout the world, and though we are a mighty nation, we may not find ourselves in the best circumstances at all times.
We can take a look at how Queen Esther constantly shone her light even in the darkest times, to combat darkness no matter the circumstances. We can follow the path of the Torah to seek positive and proper guidance, to preserve our Jewish pride and value our earned Jewish identity. We are the yehudim and we mustn’t ever succumb or be apologetic! Let us illuminate this world through the power of good deeds, acts of kindness and mitzvot.