Esther 4:14 - For A Time Such As This


אסתר ד:יד – Esther 4:14

כִּי אִם־הַחֲרֵשׁ תַּחֲרִישִׁי בָּעֵת הַזֹּאת רֶוַח וְהַצָּלָה יַעֲמוֹד לַיְּהוּדִים מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר וְאַתְּ וּבֵית־אָבִיךְ תֹּאבֵדוּ וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם־לְעֵת כָּזֹאת הִגַּעַתְּ לַמַּלְכוּת׃

“For if you are silent at this time, relief and salvation will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and the house of your father will be lost; and who knows whether it is for a time such as this that you came to a position of royalty?”

Mordechai doesn’t combat Esther’s concerns by telling her she is the only one who can help the Jewish people; in fact, he emphasizes his faith that somehow, by some means, they will be saved with or without her help. Her personal responsibility lies in what she can do, from her unique position, regardless of what others might be able to accomplish if she doesn’t.

While there is no explicit mention of G-d here or anywhere else in the Book of Esther, Mordechai clearly assumes there was purposeful intention behind the odd series of events which led Esther to find herself as queen. We humans may not know the intention: Mordechai doesn’t say “This is what G-d wants from you,” but “who knows?” The very idea of purpose, however, implies responsibility to act.

We can’t know for sure why we have certain tools and not others, or what G-d wants us to do with them. Why was I born here and not there, into this sort of family and not that one, with these skills and not those? We can’t really know, but we have a responsibility to assess those situations in which we find ourselves, identifying the things that need doing and which of them we might be best suited to do. Things may get done without us, but we owe it to our own existence to be the ones to do what we can, because who knows? Maybe that’s exactly the purpose for which G-d put us where He did.