When I was a little girl, I won the Queen Esther contest in my first grade Hebrew school class. I never knew then how important the Purim story or my heroine Queen Esther would become to me throughout my life’s journey until certain life events changed the course of my life forever.

As a child and now as an adult Jewish woman, Queen Esther has always been a great Jewish heroine and role model for me to look up to. Throughout my life, I have done my best to try to emulate some of her great acts of bravery when facing terrible odds and adversity.

I know many women who are Jewish and other women from different faiths and religions who also look up to her and her story and have tried to incorporate some of the bravery and faith into their own modern-day lives when they have needed inspiration and hope to cope with adversity and tough times in their own lives.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from Queen Esther was that I am never alone. That I had a silent partner who was with me behind the scenes orchestrating events and situations that would eventually help me overcome whatever obstacles I was facing and give me the strength and courage and faith to do what I thought I could not do alone. Even if it meant holding on for only one more one second to get through the day.

In the many classes and books I have read about Queen Esther, the lessons I learned from her story helped me on my own journey in life to overcome adversity and challenges by being brave, standing up for injustice and being willing to put it all on the line for the truth, even if it meant not being the popular voice or opinion.

Some of the hallmark qualities that Queen Esther possessed were her faith, courage, inner beauty and bravery, and her faith in God.

As a grown woman, I added Queen Esther’s original Hebrew name, “Hadassah,” to my real Hebrew name, Chavivah, since I learned in the Hasidic tradition that a person can add a new Hebrew name to their original Jewish name for healing and to change your luck or lot in life if things are not going well.

Purim starts tonight and I am still using the Purim story and my hero Queen Esther as a role model for hope, courage, faith and inspiration to continue to get through life’s challenges and everyday living by trusting in God and not losing hope by the way my circumstances look on the outside.

I am still trusting and believing that Hashem is still behind the scenes and still sees everything and that in time He will turn some of the events that have happened in my own life and the lives other Jewish men and women just like me with similar situations around for the good.

My hope is that whoever is facing hardship at this time, or uncertainty about their future, not give up hope but to try to draw on the same inner strength that Queen Esther did and remember that you are not alone, and even if the externals of your life might be bleak that there is someone that is with you behind the scenes supporting your efforts to help you keep going to get to the other side.

Happy Purim!

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