What Would Mordechai Say?

If Mordechai miraculously awoke today he’d no doubt be bewildered at first, Rip-Van-Winkle-style, but then I believe he’d be pleased with what he found here.

Mordechai would surely say, “ Kol Hakavod!” to the women in the IDF, women following the model of Queen Esther, willing to risk their lives to protect the Jews.

(He probably wouldn’t know what to make of those who, despite years of honoring Esther in the text, fail to recognize the nobility and courage of her descendants in the flesh.)

If Mordechai returned today he’d be pleased with the Knesset’s (yet unfulfilled) promise to allow women’s services and other Jewish traditions to pray at the Kotel. Mordechai would support Jewish unity at our critical time, just as he did in his. When he and Esther brought the Jews of Shushan together to fast for 3 days, he didn’t dictate how they should pray. “We weren’t seeking dominance”, Mordechai the highly successful religious leader might say, “we were seeking the unity in which there is strength.”

Worldly and cosmopolitan during his lifetime, Mordechai would no doubt be pleased to see today’s Hareidi community moving forward in the direction of increased participation in the larger society – in work, study, and army service.

Mordechai would no doubt have something to say about our conversion crisis…debacle. He would only need to point to his Megillah (chapter 9, sentence 27) and explain, “”We wrote this specifically to include people like the 300,000 or more Israelis of Russian descent. We wrote it to include all those who accept Jewish destiny as their own. They share our obligations, and they share our celebrations. As it is written, “the Jews confirmed and undertook upon themselves, and their posterity, and upon all those who might join them…”

That’s what Mordechai would say if he were here, the man who sought the good of his people and was concerned for the welfare of their future.

About the Author
Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, television commentator and podcast host of the Van Leer Series on Ideas with Renee Garfinkel
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