Who Knows?

Shalom Aleichem!

It didn’t look good for the Jews.

The wicked Haman had convinced King Achashverosh to annihilate the Jewish people. They even chose a date.

Esther, a Jewish woman, had become the Queen, which placed her in a position of great influence — and great danger. Mordechai tried to convince her to use her unique access to the King to dissuade him from the nefarious plan.

Esther, however, was uncertain. House rules were that even the King’s wife was forbidden to enter his chamber without an appointment. Violation of this policy was punishable by execution.

Trying to prevail over Queen Esther to take this risk, Mordechai says, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and salvation will come to the Jews from another source, and you and your father’s house will be lost” (Esther 4:14).

Sounds like a pretty powerful argument to me, but Mordechai doesn’t stop there, adding, “And who knows, perhaps it is just for a time like this that you reached your royal position!”

Isn’t the statement, “You and your father’s house will be lost?” powerful enough to convince Esther to approach the King? She will anyway perish if she doesn’t attempt to speak to him, so what does she have to lose?

In order to understand the meaning behind Mordechai’s statement, “And who knows, perhaps it is just for a time like this that you reached your royal position!” we need first to ponder the most important question of life: Why am I here?

The Kabbalists teach that my soul was doing just fine — basking in the spiritual radiance of the Garden of Eden — before it was born into a fleshly body. The Talmud likens this transition to a “descent from a great height to a lowly place.” What is the purpose of such a descent?

The Torah gives us 613 commandments to perform, yet the ultimate purpose of our life may come down to one single act. As the Baal Shem Tov taught, “A soul can descend into the world for 70 or 80 years, just in order to do one favor, for one person, in one location.”

So when Mordechai addressed Esther, the main thrust of his argument was that it could be (“Who knows?”) that the entire purpose of her life was this very moment.

The story of Purim rings true through the generations. This episode is not just Mordechai speaking to Esther; rather, he is speaking to each and every one of us.

Sometimes we are confronted with a situation that calls for resolution. It can be so easy to say to ourselves, “Why should I be the one to fix it? Let someone else go to the trouble!”

The words of Mordechai are meant to echo in our minds, driving us from our complacency. Let someone else do it?! Who knows, perhaps it is just for a time like this that you reached your royal position!

We are all royal, and we all have a royal task. At any given point in time, this very moment may be the very reason I was born!

Shabbat Shalom, Happy Purim & L’chaim!