𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐬: 𝐀 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐦 𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐖𝐈𝐙𝐎 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚, 𝐒𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐓𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐞-𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝𝐦𝐚𝐧
As we prepare to celebrate the holiday of Purim, I want us to pause and reflect for a moment about what this holiday is really all about.
We all enjoy dressing up in fun costumes and munching on hamentaschen, but how much do we really know about the Purim story and how much do we actually acknowledge and learn from the remarkable woman at the centre of it all, Queen Esther.
On Purim we celebrate the bravery of this very smart Jewish woman who was married to King Ahasuerus. When Esther learned that Haman, who worked for the king, was plotting against the Jews, she summoned the courage to tell the king about Haman’s evil plan and saved her people.
Did you know that Esther was a Jewish orphan who found herself catapulted into life as a Queen of the Persian Kingdom? She even had to hide her Jewish identity until the time came to speak up about saving the Jewish people. She was a woman who was ready to sacrifice her life for the sake of her people. Addressing the King without being summoned meant certain death so as Queen Esther approached the inner court she knew that she was risking her own life to save the lives of many. In the face of such a perilous outcome she said, ‘’If I perish, I perish’’. She was truly a selfless leader and the epitome of courage and love.
I fear that we are losing touch with what Purim is really all about. In some ways, it has been reduced to some kind of Jewish Halloween. Let us be sure, in the midst of all the parties and frivolity, to stop and properly think about what this incredible Jewish woman went through and what she achieved.
The heroine of the Purim Story, Queen Esther is widely regarded as one of the greatest Jewish women in history and her inspirational life story contains lessons that apply to all of us.
She chose to live a life of bravery and compassion and inspires us to make a choice each day to act in a way that shows love to others. Her story tells us to seize courage, to step up to the plate and to always do whatever we can to make a difference in people’s lives.
Her example gives us lessons for personal transformation, showing us how to overcome our obstacles and move forward, despite our fears. She calls to us from across the millenia, challenging us to live for something greater than ourselves and reminding us that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.
Queen Esther lived a legacy that speaks to us until today. When she spoke up to save the Jewish people, she couldn’t have known that she would be impacting generations to come but her selfless and brave act has been celebrated since that time. We will never know how one small act of kindness can have an impact on many.
As WIZO women, we are living the same legacy. Our continued efforts to play a leading role in transforming, nurturing, healing and saving the lives of others will impact generations to come. Just like our heroine of the Purim story, we too are committed to taking the lead in action. WIZO demonstrates courageous leadership dedicated to speaking up where we see injustice and intervening when we see women and children at risk. This would, I am sure, make Queen Esther proud.
This Purim let’s internalize these life lessons from Queen Esther and always aspire to conduct ourselves as women of valour and empathy, remembering that we too can be agents of change, transforming events and impacting generations to come.
Chag Purim Sameach!