Esther: The Ultimate Heroine
4 years ago hkaplun 0
If you ask almost any little girl what what they are dressing up as for Purim, the answer will more than likely be Queen Esther. To kids, this is an excuse to dress up as a princess. However, Esther should be celebrated for more than just her beauty and status. The story of Purim is one of fear and evil turned happy and victorious. Without Esther, the fate of the Jewish people could have been very different. Here are the top four reasons why Esther is the ultimate heroine.
- Esther puts her life at risk
When Mordechai told Esther of Haman’s plan, he told her to go to King Achashverosh and beg him to spare the Jews. The thing is, no one, not even the Queen, could visit Achashverosh without being called upon. The punishment: death. Esther hadn’t been summoned for thirty days and knew her life was at risk if she showed up unannounced. Still, she went. She fasted and prayed for three days before seeing him. In the Megillah, it says that Esther looks at Mordechai and says “Avaditi, Avaditi” meaning if I perish, I perish. She does not say this lightly or in a way that implies that she does not value her life; She says it somberly and wholeheartedly knowing that regardless of the outcome, she is doing the right thing. As the story goes, Achashverosh extended his scepter to Esther and she tells him of Haman’s plan. The Jews are saved and Purim becomes a holiday celebrated across the globe. Esther understood that she was putting her life on the line and was willing to do so in order to protect her people and ensure a long Jewish future.
2. Esther wasn’t afraid to stand up for her people
Esther is a true hero because of her loyalty, courage, and devotion to her people. She didn’t have to step forward and save the Jews, but she did anyway. As a Queen, she would have been spared, and since Mordechai was the only one that knew Esther was a Jew, she could have kept her identity hidden. Esther showed people to fight for their right to live a Jewish life. She stood up for her people and saved many lives. In addition, Esther and Mordechai established a holiday to commemorate these amazing events. Purim has become one of the happiest days of the Jewish calendar as it proves that the Jews will prevail, even though all odds are against them. On Purim, it is a mitzvah to feast, celebrate, give tzedaka, and send gifts to loved ones. Esther’s action protected against the annihilation of the Jews, and the holiday of Purim is exactly the opposite of what Haman wanted. After the events, Esther requested that her story be written down and documented. The Megillah is a first hand account of the events of Purim and is meant to inspire people to stand up for what they know is right. Esther wanted to prove that no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, never lose hope and trust that Hashem is on your side.
3. She kept her Jewish identity
Esther’s name means “hidden” in Hebrew. Mordechai told Esther not to tell anyone about her nationality. Without anyone being aware, she kept her Judaism hidden but still kept mitzvahs. Esther kept shabbat, ate kosher, and went to the mikvah. However, no one knew. Esther arranged to have seven different shifts of maids, one for each day of the week. When it came to Friday, the maid always saw the same thing. Every Friday evening, Esther would, of course, light Shabbos candles. This maid just assumed this is what she did all of the other days of the week. Just like her Friday maid, her Saturday maid just assumed she didn’t write or do work everyday of the week. This way, no one suspected anything. On top of all of that, Esther secretly kept kosher by only eating fruits and nuts. This pious woman kept true to her roots even though she was forced to do so in secret. Esther’s actions demonstrate that even through the toughest of times, we must stay grounded and live our lives by the torah. In today’s secular world, it can be very hard to hold onto one’s yiddishkeit. We can gain inspiration from Esther to stay strong and steadfast, even amidst adversity.
4. Esther made the most out of a bad situation
A lot of what happened to Esther was out of her control. Esther did not want to become Queen. She was a nice Jewish girl who was happy with her life and had no desire to marry King Achashverosh. Esther was forced to participate in the beauty contest. While the other women were doing anything and everything to make themselves more beautiful, Esther refused to participate. Again, she was a humble Jewish woman who wanted nothing more than to lead a fulfilled and holy life. However, as soon as the king saw her, he chose her as the new queen of Persia. Esther was forced to marry the king–a non-Jew. She did not understand why G-d put her in this position. Not only did she have to marry a non-Jew and become the Queen of a depraved and unholy place, but she also had to keep her identity as a Jew hidden. After Mordechai told her about Haman’s plot to kill the Jews, Esther understood and recognized why Hashem put her in this situation. He put her in the right place at the right time, and she began to use her position for the good of the Jewish people. Esther was able to go to the king and save the Jews.