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Purim – An opportunity for change

As we approach the holiday of Purim we reflect upon making adjustments, and how one can bring about changes to one’s reality. Purim is all about transformation, and this narrative is evident throughout the “Megillah“. From the moment Esther transforms from a passive youngster, to become an innovative and vigorous woman, we become aware of Haman’s devious plot. The transformation in the “Megillah” becomes apparent thanks to Esther’s awareness and ability to change reality. Esther recognizes the relevance of her leadership skills, and tangible capability to inflict change upon the people of Israel, who fear for their lives. So, what was the turning point? What triggered her to believe that she could change reality?

Following the announcement of the intended annihilation of the Jews, Mordecai sat himself outside the king’s gate dressed in sackcloth and ashes. Esther is mortified that he is dressed like this, and sends him a set of clothes to change into. Mordechai shares his concerns about the people of Israel who fear the coming danger, and as a woman living in the king’s palace requests that she beg and pray for her people. Skeptical she can meet with the king; Esther realizes she will be risking her life. Mordechai’s response is no doubt the turning point: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).

Once Mordechai reflects on her situation, Esther decides to act and bravely addresses the King. Her true face is revealed and transforms her into ‘Queen Esther’. The moment of change is therefore the instant we remove our Purim costumes, and accept that masks do not represent our true existence. Similarly, many of us may be confronted with dilemmas comparable to those of Queen Esther. We often face hesitations and doubts relevant to the extent in which we may change behavioral habits, and adapt to alternative ways of conduct.

Each of us is required to do what Esther did: to reflect and ask questions: “What can I do to change my circumstances? How can I improve my life? Does society dictate my life or do I set an example for my children and family for a better society Paamonim is engaged in changing the face of Israeli society. We aim to build individual and nationwide socio-economic resilience. On this occasion, I wish to thank the thousands of Paamonim’s volunteers, our change makers, who devote endless hours of their time, and believe in our mission to create a financially resilient society in Israel.

See www.paamonim.org  for further information and tools on how to better handle money.

About the Author
Sharon Levin has an M.A. in Public Policy and is a certified Group Facilitator. She has worked for Paamonim since 2009, lead roles include Regional Director responsible for Paamonim's volunteers who provide free one-on-one financial counseling. As Director of Group Activities, she headed the establishment of Paamonim College for Financial Education, offering courses, programs, and lectures teaching financial fundamentals to participants, all geared towards helping people acquire financial education for better living.
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