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For Whom Do You Stand?

Posted on 03/14/2014 @ 06:04 PM

וַיֹּאמֶר מָרְדֳּכַי, לְהָשִׁיב אֶל-אֶסְתֵּר:
אַל-תְּדַמִּי בְנַפְשֵׁךְ, לְהִמָּלֵט בֵּית-הַמֶּלֶךְ מִכָּל-הַיְּהוּדִים

Then Mordecai bade them to return answer unto Esther: 'Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. Megillat Esther, 4:13

When Esther was selected as the new queen to King Achashverosh, she never imagined the critical role she would play in securing the future of the Jewish people. As the story goes, she was selected to entertain the king and be available at his whim. Shortly thereafter Haman, a trusted advisor to the king and no friend to the Jews, convinced the king to set a decree allowing him to kill all the Jews in the land. Soon Esther found herself at the center of the plan to save the Jews. No one had as much access to the king as she, but even at her position, approaching the king without invitation could result in death. She was taking her life in her hands for the sake of others.

It is unlikely that many of us find ourselves in a situation as dire as Esther’s – risking our own lives for the sake of others. But what if we did? Have you ever reflected on the things that would propel you so far forward as to risk your life for them? Perhaps we need to bring this further into the realm of reality. We ask our teens, “for whom do you stand?” but we rarely elevate that to the level of “for whom do you take risks?” It’s likely we can all contemplate the idea of being an upstander, but what if that act came with significant personal risk? When do you put personal safety aside, like the Righteous Among the Nations, or those in the military, and when do you stand down because the risk is too great? Some may say they’d prefer to live for a cause than die for a cause, but how many actually contemplate the latter?

I don’t have a clear answer. I know the things that are important enough to warrant a change in my life. I also know that when I listen to the reading of Megillat Esther and hear of heroes like her I am encouraged to push my own boundaries, but am I really strong enough to go much beyond that? This weekend, if you choose to participate in the Purim mitzvah of hearing the reading of the megillah, ask yourself these same questions. Perhaps this holiday can help us all push the boundaries of being an upstander, and maybe even answer the question, for whom would we take risks?

This Shabbat message was prepared by Aleeza Lubin, DJE for the Midwest Hub

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