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Esther Moments

02/21/2020 10:48:53 AM


Rhetorical questions can linger. The most haunting line from the Scroll of Esther is asked by Mordechai to each and every one of us: Who knows if you’ve arrived at this moment for greatness?

The question prompted Esther to concoct a plan that preempted a pogrom. Our Esther moment may be less consequential but equally ripe. The Torah’s first rhetorical (?) question, in which God asks Adam, “Where are you?,” is the logical prequel to Mordechai’s question. We need to know where we are in order to know what to do. It’s deceptively difficult to know where we are because most of our frames of reference travel right along with us. We are jolted out of our unconscious inertia when we see someone after a lengthy hiatus. What has every moment of our life prepared us for?

Esther’s greatness was believing that she had, indeed, arrived. The sum of her harvests prepared her.  

Each Shabbat we can pause long enough to catch our breath and glimpse where we are. On Purim, we hear Mordechai’s question. Then we throw out everything — every crumb — that rises and distorts our sense of self and our priorities. On Passover, we remind ourselves that we’re free. We’ve arrived at our Esther moment and with everything we have we pivot toward greatness.

Wed, December 6 2023 23 Kislev 5784