Living a Life of Sacrifice

פורים
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Written by:
Yehuda Chanales
Access editable doc with student handouts:

ברכה ראשונה

Activity: Vote with your feet: 

(5 minutes)

For each question (you can choose a few to put in each blank), ask students to go to one side of the room if they would answer “yes”, another if they would answer “no” and stay in the middle if they are unsure. 

If you were forced to choose, would you give up _____ for ________? 

Comfort              Time               Convenience                  A million dollars

Health                 Relationships/social status                 Fun

Pride                    Life                                                           Helping others

Success                Avodat Hashem/ striving to keep halacha            Israel

Helping Am Yisrael / Preserving the Jewish people


Connection to Learning:

While the story of the megillah ends with the joyous שמחה and celebration of Purim, the road to that ending is filled with the courageous choices of Mordechai and Ester. They were willing to risk a lot in their quest to help the Jewish people. We will use this as an opportunity to think about what drives the sometimes difficult choices we make in our own lives and how those choices make us feel. 

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

The Jewish people are in dire danger. Haman’s decree has just been publicized and Mordechai sends a desperate message to Esther asking her to intervene. Esther responds:

“All the king’s courtiers and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any person, man or woman, enters the king’s presence in the inner court without having been summoned, there is but one law for him—that he be put to death. Only if the king extends the golden scepter to him may he live. Now I have not been summoned to visit the king for the last thirty days.”

When Mordecai was told what Esther had said,

Mordecai had this message delivered to Esther: “Do not imagine that you, of all the Jews, will escape with your life by being in the king’s palace.

On the contrary, if you keep silent in this crisis, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter, while you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows, perhaps you have attained to royal position for just such a crisis.”

Then Esther sent back this answer to Mordecai:

“Go, assemble all the Jews who live in Shushan, and fast in my behalf; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens will observe the same fast. Then I shall go to the king, though it is contrary to the law; and if I am to perish, I shall perish!”

כׇּל־עַבְדֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְעַם־מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ יֹדְעִים אֲשֶׁר כׇּל־אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר יָבוֹא־אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־הֶחָצֵר הַפְּנִימִית אֲשֶׁרלֹא־יִקָּרֵא אַחַת דָּתוֹ לְהָמִית לְבַד מֵאֲשֶׁר יוֹשִׁיט־לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־שַׁרְבִיט הַזָּהָב וְחָיָה וַאֲנִי לֹא נִקְרֵאתִי לָבוֹא אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ זֶה שְׁלוֹשִׁים יוֹם׃

וַיַּגִּידוּ לְמׇרְדֳּכָי אֵת דִּבְרֵי אֶסְתֵּר׃ {פ}

וַיֹּאמֶר מׇרְדֳּכַי לְהָשִׁיב אֶל־אֶסְתֵּר אַל־תְּדַמִּי בְנַפְשֵׁךְ לְהִמָּלֵט בֵּית־הַמֶּלֶךְ מִכׇּל־הַיְּהוּדִים׃

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

וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר לְהָשִׁיב אֶל־מׇרְדֳּכָי׃

לֵךְ כְּנוֹס אֶת־כׇּל־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׃

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

מה בו

  • What words or phrases stand out for you?
  • What makes sense? What is surprising?

מה ליבו

  • If you could ask Ester or Mordechai a question, what would you ask them? (You can also ask participants to “respond” to the questions students raise as Mordechai or Ester.)
  • Why was Ester hesitant at first? What was she feeling? What was at stake? What was she giving up?
  • How did Mordechai try to convince her? What argument was he making? What feelings was he trying to evoke?
  • What do you think convinced Ester? 

 

מה לי בו

  • (עבר) When have you been asked to make a sacrifice? (Can be more direct- to sacrifice personal comfort or goals for something larger? For the Jewish people?)
    • What made the decision harder or easier for you?
    • What did or could have convinced you to make the choice?
  • (הווה) What is a sacrifice I can make for the sake of Am Yisrael? 
    • What will I do? What impact can it potentially have (on me, on others)?
    • What will I have to give up? What will be challenging about it? 
    • Which line from the megillah can help motivate me?

 

ברכה אחרונה

Go around and ask each participant to share words or a phrase form the megillah and what Mordechai or Ester are saying to them. (Formulate it as: Mordechai/Ester are saying to me: (Insert name), I know what you’re thinking, what you’re going through and….) 

Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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