It’s Not Just the Way the Cookie Crumbles

March 11, 2017 at 2:06 AM , ,

“…Therefore, they called these days Purim, named for the pur…” – Esther 9:26

עַל כֵּן קָרְאוּ לַיָּמִים הָאֵלֶּה פוּרִים עַל שֵׁם הַפּוּר – אסתר ט, כו

The Jewish nation faced a threat of annihilation. Mordechai, their leader, occupied a prominent position in the government (see Esther 2:19,Mordechai sat at the king’s gate”), and the beautiful and beloved queen of the land was Esther, also a Jew. In addition, Mordechai had once saved Achashveirosh’s life, and the king was deeply indebted to him for that. But neither Mordechai nor Esther considered diplomacy as their first plan of action.

Mordechai’s primary response to the news of the decree was to don clothes of mourning, and to rouse the Jewish people to repent for their wrongful participation in the feast hosted by King Achashveirosh.  Mordechai turned to Esther for help only after he had successfully rallied the Jews to repentance.


Esther, in turn, called for the entire nation to observe three days of penitential fasting before she would approach the king and plead on their behalf. Esther herself participated in the fast, despite the negative impacts that not eating for three days would likely have on her appearance!

Both Mordechai and Esther were certain that the physical threat facing the Jews was not just a change in political tides which might be undone through the natural means at their disposal. They recognized that a threat to the Jewish people reflects, first and foremost, on a need for the Jewish people to strengthen their Torah observance, particularly in areas where they may have been weak until now. Once the spiritual shortcomings that brought about the threat would be repaired through sincere repentance, the mortal danger that the Jews faced would certainly be removed as well—via whichever conventional means they would employ.

—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 6, pp. 191-193


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