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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
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Purim: When NO Means NO!

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And it is not just on Purim that men, women and children face pressure to do what goes against their grain. It can be in many facets of everyday life, where individuals are intimidated – often due to misguided good intentions, to take a path they do not want to take.

Young people in the shidduch parsha for example, are repeatedly compelled to date a type of boy or girl who is not what they want, but rather what their parents want.

A young man may want to go to college or a trade school but his parents/rabbeim insist he be a long time learner. I am not saying that parents and mentors should not offer guidance or give advice – young people often are naive or have their heads in the clouds when it comes to what they think they want – but incessant nagging and pressuring is counterproductive when dealing with an individual who has proven him/herself to be a mature, responsible person.

And if he or she has expressed the desire to go in a direction that seems right, and if he or she would be miserable on another path, then respect that wish. And if down the road he or she realizes that a mistake was made – well, mistakes are great teachers. It is one thing to pay the price of your own mistake – it is a whole other level to suffer from a mistake that was imposed on you.

So, for example, if a young man has a brain injury from passing out or crashing on Purim because he chose to drink too much, that is very tragic – but if he was pressured into drinking and he suffers a debilitating injury, that is unforgivable.

Young people – as well as the not so young – can be bulldozed into behaviors or activities they don’t want – especially if it is a “trusted” adult or mentor or close friend insisting they do. The consequences can destroy them.

Mordechai said no. It’s a lesson we all should internalize and make our own.

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