Jewish holidays tend to commemorate historic Jewish events. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. If we want to truly celebrate a holiday, if we want to access its soul and find its ability to elevate our lives, we need to make it personal.

In other words: I have to look at an ancient narrative, and find…myself.

How would that work with the Purim holiday?

On Purim, we celebrate the Jews' miraculous rescue from annihilation more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Persia. Haman, wicked advisor to King Ahasuerus, despised the idea of Jewish identity. So he convinced the King to kill anyone who retained it.

When a relationship matters, we find a way to honor and protect itThe Jews didn't back down. They were worried; they prayed, they fasted and they stressed. But their commitment was strong, and they were ultimately saved.

Beautiful narrative. But how is that my story?

I have, thank G‑d, never been threatened with annihilation. I've had, and continue to have, my share of stresses, problems and close calls; but nothing in the realm of mortal danger. So I can't honestly see myself in those Jews' shoes.


Unless I see all moral challenges as being similar in soul, even if they're vastly different with regard to physical consequence.

The Jews were asked to repudiate their relationship with the Divine, and they decided to honor that relationship, even at the expense of their own lives.

We all have relationships with our Creator, and have the ability – and hopefully the commitment – to honor that relationship through our actions.

But the commitment is often threatened.

For example, if one is committed to "respectful discourse," does that internal pledge collapse in the face of a co-worker's offensive comment?

Or, if one is committed to lighting Shabbat Candles on Friday before sundown, what happens when life seems to get in the way, especially if it's "just this once."

When a relationship matters, we find a way to honor and protect it, even in the face of challenge.

On Purim we rejoice. We take an opportunity to bask in the beauty of our relationship with the Divine, and we uncover our own deep commitment to staying the course, even in the face of challenge.