Queen Esther – the inside story
What is on your inside? – Your soul. What is on the inside of the universe? – God, the infinite creator.
The story of Purim is not merely the story of a nation in exile that was saved from extermination, but is an expression of a deep truth about our world, that what’s on the inside is often more important than what’s on the outside. When there is a conflict, we need to take a deeper look.
The word “esther” means hidden in Hebrew. Ironically the word for world, “olam”, also means hidden. The story of Esther mimics life.
Our world is a façade with layer after layer that keeps a deeper spiritual reality under wraps. The Almighty made each layer interesting and full of wisdom, but as you get deeper, you get closer to the ultimate truth.
Your job as a human being is to try to peel back those layers and see what God has hidden underneath.
When your body craves sweets, it is an indication that an inner need is not being met. That’s why the chocolate or the ice cream will only satisfy you temporarily. After it passes your lips, tongue, taste buds, and throat, it’s gone. Do you ever reminisce about the food you’ve eaten? Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Don’t worry; I don’t want to deprive anyone of some chocolate. Go ahead, have the Godiva, but realize that won’t really be enough.
We all have inner needs that are not being met, and this sometimes causes us to gravitate towards some external solution. Really, we should be looking for an internal solution.
Anytime you are agitated, depressed, or upset, your inner barometer is giving you information. There’s something amiss inside. To get to that space where you have an internal “malfunction”, you have to sit quietly and introspect. You have to meditate on what exactly is causing your malfunction. Eating will only solve hunger; it won’t solve an emotional, psychological, or spiritual need.
Some people turn to alcohol to solve an inner need. If a skunk gets drunk, in the morning when it is sober, it will still smell. Neither food nor alcohol can solve inner discord.
On the holiday of Purim, there is a custom to have an outlandish party and drink a little more than usual. The rest of the year getting drunk or even tipsy is strongly discouraged because it takes away your ability to connect to God intellectually. Purim is the exception, not the rule. Once a year we take food and drink a little bit to excess to remind ourselves that only when you are connected spiritually, can you possibly solve your problems.
Whatever the inner need is, whether it has to do with a relationship, job satisfaction, or self-worth, the first step is knowledge and wisdom.
Queen Esther is a symbol. Similar to Moses, who grew up in the palace of the Pharaoh, Esther was placed, through odd circumstances, in the palace of the king. The conflict her people encountered was resolved because she was in the palace. This teaches us a lesson that the solution to all of our problems starts with the recognition that we are in the palace of the “king”. The Almighty loves us, creates our challenges and helps us with our challenges.
The Talmud says that God creates the medicine before the illness. We are never alone, and the solution to our problems is always within our grasp.
You are living in the palace of the “king”, and His storehouse of knowledge and wisdom is always open. Take a look.
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