Put Aside Your FearsFebruary 25, 2021 - 12:00 am
“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the sceptre” — Esther 5:1-2
This month, Jews around the world celebrate the observance of Purim, which commemorates the biblical story of Queen Esther. In these devotions, I share with you the lessons of courage found in this story that are from my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on the Legacy of Faith to Our Children. Purim is celebrated at sundown Feb. 25 to sundown Feb. 26.
Growing up, my parents were well aware that they were raising three girls who would become women in a world that tends to give men the advantage. It was their priority to instill within us the confidence that we were capable of accomplishing any task God called us to. They taught us that every tool and talent we would ever need to accomplish His work was already within us.
As a lifelong champion of women, my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, felt particularly connected to the holiday of Purim, when we celebrate Queen Esther, the heroine who saved the Jews of her time. Although she struggled with confidence in her ability to bring about salvation, she put aside her fears and persevered, saving her people and the Jewish faith, and ultimately, changing history.
Put Aside Fears
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the assessment that there is something more important than fear.” In the Purim story, Esther is a shining example of courage mainly because she was also the victim of intense fear and self-doubt.
When confronted with the task of saving the Jews, Esther’s immediate reaction was to reject it because she knew her very life was at stake for approaching the king without first being summoned. However, once Mordecai made his case, Esther rose to the occasion and proclaimed, “And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). In that moment, Esther put aside her fear. She realized that there was something much larger at stake — the very life and continuity of the entire Jewish nation. I can only imagine how Esther felt when she approached the king with her life on the line, but she did so anyway, in spite of her fears.
Friends, if we are to overcome the challenges in our lives, like Esther, we must put aside our fears. Our faith must be bigger than our fear. The only way we can do that is through God, with Him at our side. As my father taught me, “He who fears One, fears none.” Or as King David beautifully wrote, “I will fear no evil for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).
If God give us the burdens, He will bring us through them.
Your turn: Discover the lessons of courage found in the biblical story of Esther, which is celebrated this month in the Jewish observance of Purim. Download a complimentary copy of the chapter on Purim from my new book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children.