Tuesday February 16, 2021, Rabbi Tobie Weisman
We just began the Jewish lunar month of Adar this past Friday. This is the month representing JOY. As the rabbis teach us, “When the month of Adar enters, joy increases” (Talmud – Taanit 29a).
The Jewish holiday of Purim is a joyous holiday which begins next Thursday night and Friday, when we read from the Scroll of Esther. We read about the frightening edict enacted to wipe out all the Jews that the evil advisor to the King named Haman had convinced the King to enact. The heroes of the story are Mordechai and his niece Queen Esther. Mordechai heard of the evil decree against the Jews and managed to get a message to Queen Esther to go to the King and to ask him to cancel the decree. She answered that she was frightened to do so because she could be killed if she went to the king without being summoned.
Mordechai said to Esther, “who knows whether you have come to royal palace for such a time as this?” (Megillat Esther, 4:14). This statement propelled Esther to gather up all her courage and she responded to Mordechai, “’Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I also and my maidens will fast in like manner; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish’ (ibid 4:16). Esther risked her life and saved the day by turning the evil decree on it’s head. Darkness was transformed into light.
We learn a very important lesson from both Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai. We each have a very important task to do in this world. Every person is here to do something that no one else can do. Each day, we have to gather up all our courage and ask ourselves, “who knows why I am in this place at this time to do what needs to be done?”
All those who are here today, whether or not we serve the people of Vermont in the legislature, or in any other way, whether we are working or not working right now, each of us has the potential of changing the world for the good and bringing hope where there is despair. Every day we choose, by our actions, whether great or small, in a new resolution or bill, or by the way we listen, speak and relate to our co-workers, friends, families and community, to fix the world on a large or small scale and thereby transform the darkness into light.
Let us begin today, to stop to truly listen to the cries and voices of those who need us now, to renew our commitment to be the best we can be, to transform the darkness that exists for so many into light, by bringing joy to others, in our greatest and smallest actions.