The time of Trump has come. A time when freedom of speech becomes the right of the so called enlightened. In this case the voiceless have delved into the chambers of co-dependency and remerged as concerned citizens of a state which has long lost its greatness. To write about the imbedded fear, isolationism and mass movements inspired by fear, xenophobia, disrespect for basic rules of respect for men and women regardless of race, religion, gender, size and physical and emotional possibilities is bringing water to the sea so to speak.
I have been following the journalistic reports, totally stunned in disbelief as I slump to Trump in my armchair. When asked to prepare a column concerning Trump, I took notes for weeks. Notes and notations of what I could possibly put on paper concerning this development in The United States of America. I understand and observe that many here in the Netherlands see Trump’s achievements as a permission to swing more to the right wing here in the upcoming elections. A global tsunami wave of dissociation from the world as it is now, where heroes and heroines are discouraged and disheartened. Where demonstrations of opposition are demonised by those deciding who may speak and who may not.
Finally I made the decision to delve into the Jewish understanding of such a chaos. As a Jewish writer for Hartgeschreven it is my responsibility to share my role models for revolution. It is with this intention that I will share some insights from the story of Purim, based on the biblical Book of Esther.
The story begins when King Ahasverus commands his beloved wife Queen Vashti to appear naked before him and his guests at an annual celebration of the heads of states in the 127 provinces of Persia (now Iran). She refuses to appear naked and dance in front of drunken politicians and as a result the king (who loved her very much) was coerced to have her head chopped off. He then began his search for another queen. His search begins with a royal beauty pageant in which the most beautiful young women in the kingdom are brought before the king, and Esther, a young Jewish girl, is selected to be the new Queen.
And the plot thickens…
Esther had an uncle Mordechai who was a sort of dream whisperer. He overheard a plan to overthrow the king and reported that to one of the king’s attendants. He in turn wrote this in the King’s journal of good deeds.
And the plot continues…
One night the king was not able to sleep and asked to be read from the good deed journal. There he heard of the plan to overthrow him. He asked his attendant if the man Mordechai was ever rewarded for his good deed. In this story informants were well rewarded. The king decided that Mordechai should ride tall on a white horse through the city’s wall, with the announcement: this is what happens to the one who supports the king.
And the plot thickens…
The Secretary General of the time Haman was dead set to annihilate the Jews. He had been insulted by Mordechai who refused to bow down to him. When Mordechai understood Haman’s plans he informed his niece Esther, now the Queen to invite both the King and Haman to a banquet at her palace. This she did under much distress, saying to her uncle: What can I do to prevent this devastation of the Jewish people? Mordechai’s response was: Perhaps this is your destiny!
For those readers who despise cliff hangers, I suggest you reach for a Bible and look for the Book of Esther. For the rest of us, google the rest of this epic story.
My favourite character in the Purim story is Vashti, the woman who just said NO. As a child I would dress up as Vashti when I went to neighbourhood synagogue to listen to the megilla. My rabbi would try to convince me that dressing up as Esther was more worthy as a young Jewish girl. I stuck to my britches for years, and Vashti is was. Now that I am older I begin to understand that Esther’s banquets for the King and Haman were extremely important (read the story for the spectacular ending folks :-)!).
There is a time and a place to just stand up and say NO, irregardless of the personal consequences. There is a time and a place to negotiate, show openness, be flexible, be gracious, use your networking to achieve your goal. It is up to us to know the proper response in a very difficult situation. Responsibility: the ability to make the right response!
Discover your way to make a difference. This is your destiny!
Wishing us all a very special Purim.