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Thought for the Day: Purim 2022

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“When we have opportunities to use any resources or influence we might have to make a positive impact, we are measured by the way that we react to those moments.”



It  was a ‘Queen Esther’ moment…

That was my reaction to the news that Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor on the Russian TV Channel One, had courageously burst on to the broadcaster’s main evening news show to hold up a sign that said: “Stop the war… Don’t believe propaganda… They’re lying to you here…”

Why was this a ‘Queen Esther’ moment’?

Tonight and tomorrow, Jewish communities around the world will celebrate Purim, the anniversary of the day on which, as the Bible relates, the Jews of Persia were saved from annihilation some two and a half millennia ago. They owed their survival to the brave intervention of Esther, whose unexpected elevation from being an orphan of limited means to the Royal Household, made her uniquely placed to challenge a genocidal decree. With their people facing certain doom, her uncle Mordechai strengthened her resolve, saying: “Perhaps for this very moment you became Queen” – You’re in the right place at the right time to turn the tide of history. Inspired by these words, Esther was seized by a sense of responsibility to use her standing and every tool at her disposal to challenge injustice.

She was an unlikely hero, but then so too is a former sitcom star and comedian, rising to the Ukrainian Presidency – who might also feel that it was for this very moment that he was elected.

Both President Zelensky and Marina Ovsyannikova are in good company, with people all over the world right now challenging the war in their own ways.

‘Queen Esther’ moments come to every one of us – though not necessarily at such great personal cost. When we have opportunities to use any resources or influence we might have to make a positive impact, we are measured by the way that we react to those moments. Our national response to the incalculable humanitarian cost of the war in Ukraine has been breath-taking. This is a moment when every one of us can do something that will really help, and at every level we have given an historic response to the call of the hour. Politicians, charities, businesses and individuals have all come together, with each contributing the practical assistance that they are best placed to give, including the extraordinary response of the British public over the past 48 hours to the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The heroism of Esther is a call for us all to take action, to harness every resource that we have at our disposal and to ask ourselves whether it may have been for this very moment that we were blessed to have them.