Purim is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this story of one girl who reluctantly answers the call to save the Jewish People, can go a long way to save the Jewish People today. I’m not saying that we threatened with destruction by an outside force. Quite the opposite, in fact–our relative comfort as a minority in the United States can affect the strength of our Jewish Identity.
One of the key themes of the story in Megillat Esther is about identity and the different masks the characters wear to either conceal or reveal their true identity. Vashti, the disobedient queen–is she evil and defiant or the proto-typical feminist? King Ahasuerus, the powerful king, who is powerless (or clueless) to the whims of his advisors. Haman, the loyal king’s vizier, who secretly manipulates the King to settle his own grudges. Mordechai, the Jewish advisor whose strength is hidden, yet he saves the King from a plot on his life and from manipulation by Haman. Esther (Hadassah), the beautiful young queen who keeps her Jewish identity secret until she is must make a courageous stand.
When I think of Esther, I think of the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” Sometimes Jewish identity is like that, too. But I hope that we remember to let our Jewish values shine through, in good times and times of challenge.
What “masks” do you wear in your life? What do those “masks” conceal about who you really are and what do they reveal? How does your Jewish identity fit in to your everyday life?
Save the date! Erev Purim; Wednesday, March 7, 2012 (more details to come!)
4:30pm Hebrew School
5pm Kids Purim Program
6:30pm Ma’ariv Service/Megillah Reading
8:00pm Purim Schpiel