web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Purim: When NO Means NO!

Kupfer-021513-No

Purim is arguably one of the most favorite Jewish holidays. It is a day to give gifts of food, parading around in clothes or costumes one would never dare wear on any other day, drinking alcoholic beverages, noshing, more drinking, feasting and partying. And of course there is Megillah – twice – to hear how the bad guys tried to kill the good guys – and the good guys triumphed.

But there is a very valuable lesson to be gleaned from the story of Purim that is easy to miss in all the fun and merriment we indulge in as we gleefully celebrate that yet again an enemy’s vile scheme to annihilate us was thwarted and averted.

Purim is not just about standing up to peer pressure, it’s about being true to yourself – upholding your standards in the face of pressure. It’s about saying no – and never wavering from it. It’s about not taking the easy way out and giving in and saying okay.

Our role model in this story is Mordechai. When Haman, who was the king’s right hand man, was out in public, the politically correct thing to do was to bow down to him. And everybody did. I imagine that the majority of the people – both important and ordinary – who complied did not actually want to. I am sure the other court officials and nobility resented having to prostate themselves in front of a pompous, arrogant buffoon like Haman. But they did nonetheless. It was the path of least resistance and why “rock the boat” when all it took was a few lousy seconds to bow down?

Why stand out and get on Haman’s bad side, when all you had to do was bend your knees? Everyone swallowed their pride and avoided bringing negative attention to themselves – as Mordechai did when he remained upstanding (literally and figuratively).

Mordechai simply refused to give in and do what he felt was repugnant for religious reasons, and personal ones (some sources say Haman was Mordechai’s former slave).

Mordechai decided not to take the path of least resistance, one that would have helped him be part of the crowd and not bring the wrath of a very influential and well-connected man down on him. He remained steadfast in being true to his principles.

To put it in sports terms, Mordechai was like the guy at the Yankees home game wearing the Boston Red Sox sweater and hat. (I have read of numerous incidents where fans of the visiting team have been harassed, heckled and even been seriously beaten and injured by fans of the home team). The Jew, Mordechai insisted on showing his true colors!

Mordechai refused to let others convince him to change his mind; he would not be brow-beaten by well-meaning people who were worried about his well-being, and who pleaded with him to just “do it” – to follow the crowd, be one of the guys. Arguably, Mordechai could have rationalized that there was an element of pikuach nefesh, saving oneself from mortal danger, that would give him a legitimate excuse to bow down – but he didn’t take that route. He stood his ground despite the intense pressure to do what everyone else was doing. His integrity was more important to him than “fitting in.”Kupfer-021513-Blocks

Next week, thousands of teenagers and young men will be pressured by their friends and peers, even by baalei batim they go to collect tzedakah from, or possibly rabbeim to drink alcohol – and then drink some more. After all, the point is to get so inebriated that you can’t distinguish between cursing Mordechai and praising Haman. Some of the kids will go along because they want to. Many others however, will do so even though they don’t want to. They will be persuaded to have “one more sip,” good naturedly coerced to have another l’chaim, chided for being a bad sport – and their “no” will unfortunately become a “yes. “

Every Purim, we tragically hear of young people being rushed to the hospital because of alcohol poisoning. These youngsters are found passed out on the floor or on the street. Others so drunk that their sense of balance and judgement are impaired, fall or jump down stairs – or crash their cars.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Purim: When NO Means NO!”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Pro-ISIS Group Says ‘Use Ferguson Flames to Fuel Terror in America’
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Respler-112114

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

LBJ-112114

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/purim-when-no-means-no/2013/02/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: