MIRROR: Reflections on Purim

reflections  -Miriam Leah
reflections -Miriam Leah

When I lit the Yizkor candle before this past Yom Tov, months ago but fresh in my mind, I shared with my son stories of what a wonderful brother Danny was to me z’l, and how close we were.  I told him how good and kind he was, how Danny looked to help others any way possible.  I recalled how he did chessed whenever he could, what a special man he was, how he was honest and strived to always be Yashar.  That’s what Mom and Dad instilled in us from early on.  They live it, so it was never something we had to “imagine” to understand.  If ever there was any doubt about loyalty or trust, or unshakable Emunah, we only had to be home or think of Mom and Dad to know what it meant to steadfastly hold our convictions.  Baruch HaShem Mom and Dad have always led by example.

Even so, how can anybody stay true to being Yashar in such times as these?  The innocence is buried deep!

Truth isn’t truth. Justice isn’t just. Mistrust is commonplace.   Doing things for the sake of others, where did that go?  Honestly, if it weren’t for my parents, and Danny, a’h, I could claim I never knew how things should be or that things could be different…  but I do know. B”H!

Years have passed since Danny a’h, was niftar, and our love for him has never diminished.  Mom and Dad and I have never been the same.  They are the most incredible parents I know.  It’s been over 10 incredibly mixed up years of not having Danny z’l, to turn to, to be there for me, for me to be there for him.  Same for Mom and Dad I’m sure.  Life is forced to go on, with all its peculiarities of conundrums vying for position, recognition, and triumph.  We yearn to make sense of it the best we can.

So, here we are and it’s already Purim time.  What a time to pick to try to make sense of things!?!

Megillas Esther only has allusions to G-d, His name is absent.  Opposites are everywhere, nothing is what it seems.  Haman intended to wipe us off the map because one Jew named Mordechai wouldn’t bow down to him.  It was Arrogance and Power versus Humility and Devotion to a Higher One.

Of course, Esther’s outstanding humility and modesty were pivotal throughout the whole Purim story.  We first learn about her when the Megillah tells us, “Mordechai ‘cared’ for Hadassah, -she was Esther.”  Fascinating that her name Hadassah refers to righteousness, while Esther is derived from the Hebrew meaning “hidden”.  She kept her Jewish identity to herself.  Chosen to be queen, immersed in a world of deception and greed in the king’s palace, she faithfully kept her integrity and Jewish virtues.  Queen Esther was pure through and through.  She did not seek greatness, Esther was crowned decisively because she was humble and noble in character.

Ultimately man must choose who and what he is, often regardless of his surroundings and outside influences.  Haman was overwhelmed with greed, his boasting grab for power eventually ruined him.  Mordechai quietly knew who he was and he set the standard for how someone should lead.  He didn’t seek greatness.  He was proud to be a Jew, not ashamed, not apologetic.  He was loyal to his mortal king, saved his life in fact, but he never forgot his roots.  Mordechai haYehudi remained cautious and knew when to be silent.  He recognized when it was time to speak out, time to act, to renew faith and restore truth and justice.  To achieve that, he reminded us to start with the most basic priniciple of caring for one another. He instituted the giving of Matanos l’Evyonim-Tzedakah to the poor, and Mishloach Manos- gifts of food to others.  As with Esther, Mordechai’s loyalty to G-d and his People brought greatness to him.

Together Esther and Mordechai miraculously overturned Haman’s evil plot and saved the Jewish People.  In commemoration of that fateful Purim, every year Jews masquerade on Purim and pretend to be what they are not, how strange!

So, how do you know what’s real anymore?

What I know in the deepest depths of my being is that my parents have always been true to each other and to Danny a’h, and to me.  They are that way with everyone.  They are genuine Avdei HaShem, servants of  G-d.  Their outside is a reflection of the precious gold inside.  Danny a’h, and I have been very blessed to have parents who know only how to live their lives with the highest integrity without succumbing to the fraud, deceit, and lack of humility that has become so prevalent.  Danny a’h, was naturally that way too.  Only Emes! (Truth)  There just wasn’t any room for sheker (falsehood).

… perhaps that is why it burns within me when sheker seems to have a noose around the Emes!

I pray this Purim to be the turning point l’tova for us, for all Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel,  for the whole world!  The time is now for integrity and modesty to be our dress code inside and out, even when it seems impossible.  Esther and Mordechai showed us how!  Let’s show our children!   May  HaShem bless us with His kindnesses that we merit to recognize He is not so hidden from us after all!

MIRROR is a poem for any time, but apropos for Purim.   We never know what is on the inside when we see someone.  The outside doesn’t always tell us what’s beneath the surface.  


Who are you?

Do you know?

Are you sure?

Who do you want to be?

Do you know?

Are you sure?


Who do others see?

Do they see you, or

Do they see who you want to be?

Who do you want them to see?

Do you know?

Are you sure?


What are you?

Do you know?

Are you sure?

What do you want to be?

Do you know?

Are you sure?


What do others see?

Do they see you, or

Do they see what you want to be?

What do you want them to see?

Do you know?

Are you sure?


Are you who and what you want to be?

Do you see yourself?

Will you be yourself?

Will you let others see you?


Do you see who and what others see,

When they see you?

Is it you?

Are you sure?


Nu? What are you waiting for?  Put on a happy face!

I miss you Danny z’l.  In my heart forever, thanks for always being there for me and showing me the way.


CHAG PURIM SAMEACH!  radA– thismonthismadejustforme  *<:~)   Miriam Leah


About the Author
Miriam Leah Epstein Preil grew up in the midwest, but her heart has always been in Israel! She began playing piano by ear when she was six years old, and by age seven was already studying piano seriously. Her musicality and passion for music were remarkable from an early age. She and the piano are inseparable! Music fills her life and home. Miriam Leah has composed pieces for piano, piano and voice, and many Niggunim. Her poetry is unique, each poem stands on its own yet becomes greater within her collection of poems. All universal. She utilizes her writing to engage people in thought, stir discussion, share insights, support causes, bring forth truths, educate, and inspire souls. She has taught Judaics and Jewish music extensively in Jewish Day schools for many years. Miriam Leah combines her love of music and creative writing with her devotion to Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel, through her writing of Divrei Torah and advocating for Jewish values and Israel.
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