web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.
Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

South-Florida-logo

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-060515-Supermen

There are fathers who bravely step up to the plate and fill in the maternal vacuum with their love and devotion.

Kupfer-On-Our-Own-NEW

The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.

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

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.

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: