Jan Victors, The Banquet of Esther and Ahasurus, 1640s
Chag Sameach! Happy Holiday! Today we celebrate the Feast of Esther, also known as Purim, and tomorrow we celebrate St. Patrick's Day or "the wearing of the green." What do these nearly spring festivals have in common: courage. That's right, Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. Courage.
It isn't enough to ask for courage, one has to perform a courageous act and learn that the power of one decision followed by action to complete the deed is absolutely necessary. To pass on the work to someone else is not courage. It's facilitation. Esther acts, Mordechai facilitates.
St. Patrick, Church of Christ the Light, Oakland, CA
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, rid the country of snakes. Like the Book of Esther in the Bible, it's a story - not necessarily fact. However, the significance of the narrative is to inspire courage, to demonstrate that acting selflessly to protect the community is the right thing to do.
Both Esther and St. Patrick symbolize the ability for mere mortals to significantly turn the tide for their people - and, most importantly, to choose to act (even in the face of possible death, as was the case for Esther). This week so many people risked their lives to rescue the victims of the East 116th gas explosion in New York. They are perfect examples of courage and selflessness.
Be the change you believe in.
Best wishes for Purim and St. Patrick's Day,
Beth New York
aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange