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Seize The Moment

It is one line that Mordechai says to Esther during the Purim saga that is a life changing moment for her. When Mordechai hears about Haman's plans to annihilate the Jews in the Persian empire, he dons sackcloth and sends a secret message to Queen Esther begging her to go before the King Achashveirosh to change the decree. She had been queen for a number of years at that point and knew that approching the king without an invitation meant the death penalty. It was a terrible crisis, she reasoned, but what help would it be if she was killed in the process?

Mordechai sends a message back: "Who knows if for only this moment you reached royalty." This moment might be the entire purpose of your coronation as Queen. It is dangerous and dubious, but if this is the moment, then it must be seized. Esther in her greatness reversed her earlier statement and approched Achashveirosh. And, after asking for all of the Jews to pray for her in solidarity, in a miraculous fashion, she is granted an audience.

In retrospect, it really was THE MOMENT that reversed the decree and granted victory to the Jews. All of her fame and power had converged at one moment for Queen Esther to stand up and ask for her people.

The Mishna states: "There is no person who does not have 'his moment.'" Jewish History is built on these "moments" and individual greatness is built on them as well. At the time, it is mostly a courageous action that should be taken; in retrospect, it became cataclysmic in some way.

Rabbi Hershel Weber was in the synagogue in Brooklyn in the 1960's and witnessed a middle-aged man suffer a heart attack. In the ten minutes that it took for the NYC ambulance to arrive the man passed away. Rabbi Weber took that moment and decided to train as a paramedic and encourage some local people as well. He reasoned that if local people in the synagogues and streets could carry life saving equipment in their cars, lives would be saved as efficiency increased. Hatzolah is now a volunteer ambulance corps with hundreds of volunteers in the Greater New York area and thousands across the world.

That is quite a moment.

hatzolah volunteer.jpg

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