Vulnerable Yet Triumphant
7 Adar II, 5741
...One of the most inspiring lessons of Purim is the extraordinary courage of Mordechai the Jew, who "would not kneel or bow down," despite the physical vulnerability of our people being "spread and scattered among the nations" -- a tiny minority against an overwhelming majority.
Yet, it is this uncompromising stance that brought triumph over all adversaries, so that "for the Jews there was light, joy, gladness and honor," and the awesome respect of their detractors.
The teachings of our Torah, like the Torah itself, are of course eternal, including the lessons of Purim; particularly since we are still "spread and scattered among the nations," including our brethren in the Holy Land, for they, too, are surrounded and besieged by numerically overwhelming hostile nations.
But Purim teaches us that the strength of our Jewish people, as of every Jew individually, is in our G-d-given capacity of "not kneeling or bowing down" to any force that is contrary to our Jewish essence, which is rooted in the Torah and mitzvot.
Indeed, yielding to any influence that is alien to our Jewish spirit and way of life, far from winning good will and respect, must necessarily bring forth contempt, be it overtly or covertly. For what is one to think of a cringing Jew who is willing to compromise his true Jewish identity and noble traditions going back to the time when the world was steeped in barbarism?
Needless to say, the true Jewish spirit, as exemplified by Mordechai and Esther, must not remain in the abstract, but must be translated into concrete behavior in everyday life, in keeping with the basic principle of our Torah that "action is the essential thing."
Certainly this is to be expected of young people, who are generally blessed with a greater sense of urgency and doing. Especially young couples who start out on their own, establish a home on the foundations of Torah and mitzvot, raise a family in the true Torah tradition, and build "an everlasting edifice" in the fullest sense.
And here, of course, a great deal depends on the akeret habayit [the pillar of the home], in whose hands G-d has entrusted major responsibilities for the character and actual conduct of the home, such as kashrut, Shabbat observance, Family Purity, raising the children, and so forth.
This in no way diminishes the husband's full share of responsibility in this Divinely-blessed partnership, and they must consistently encourage each other to upgrade all things of goodness and holiness, Torah and mitzvot; but there is no getting away from the fact that it is the young wife and mother who bears the noble calling of akeret habayit.
...It should be noted, in conclusion, that there is no greater emphasis on the historic role of the Jewish woman in Jewish life than in the events that brought about the miracle of Purim, as related in the Megila, which is named not after Mordechai, nor Mordechai and Esther jointly, but solely after Esther!...