Monday, March 09, 2009

Solidarity (Taanit Esther)

In Megillat Esther (4:16) we read:

לֵךְ כְּנוֹס אֶת-כָּל-הַיְּהוּדִים הַנִּמְצְאִים בְּשׁוּשָׁן, וְצוּמוּ עָלַי וְאַל-תֹּאכְלוּ וְאַל-תִּשְׁתּוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים לַיְלָה וָיוֹם--גַּם-אֲנִי וְנַעֲרֹתַי, אָצוּם כֵּן; וּבְכֵן אָבוֹא אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-כַדָּת, וְכַאֲשֶׁר אָבַדְתִּי, אָבָדְתִּי

Esther asks Mordechai to convey a message to everyone in her community, asking them to stand in solidarity with her as she prepares to risk her life for their sake: "gather the Jews...and fast for me...and if I perish, I perish."

In honor of Esther's call for solidarity, we...well, what do we do today? Many fast, though technically it is a "voluntary" not obligatory fast. What else can we do that recognizes and builds on the midot (character) of our holy ancestor Esther?

Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments. Here's one suggestion:

The Global Call to Action Against Poverty is campaigning in countries around the world, asking people to pressure their own governments to fulfill commitments to fight poverty, increase education, and end gender inequality. They have issued a call to solidarity (perhaps a bit like Esther's, but without the risk of death), welcoming everyone to make an individual pledge in response to that call:

Here are some great pictures that people have posted along with their personal pledges:

Whether it's through GCAP, the Purim mitzvah of matanot evyonim, or something else -- what's your response to Esther's call?

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