web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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
ISIS executioner holding British aid worker Alan Henning as a hostage.
Muslims Plead with ISIS for Life of UK Aid Worker Alan Henning
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

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

Kupfer-071814

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.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

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: