The scene is the bed chamber of Queen Esther on the night before she attempts to approach the king’s throne uninvited. The following letter by Bonnie Wilks is fictitious, yet might well express some of Esther’s sentiments from the background of a Jew, an exile, and an adopted child. She is penning a letter to be sent to her former guardian, mentor and cousin, Mordecai.
My dearest uncle Mordecai,
Tomorrow I will enter the throne room of the king. Though the hand I write with is unsteady, my soul is at repose. I know I must not delay. I know I must do what is right. Even though Ahasuerus has not summoned me for many days, I understand the urgency of my mission. I must do what I must do. So for the good of our people I will make this uninvited approach for an audience. You have taught me to trust in our God.
And yet my heart is racing and I feel faint. I suppose the fact that I’ve been fasting for three days might be cause for my physical state. You taught me that fasting is a necessary way of yielding oneself to God; a way of drawing closer to the Almighty One. And it is with that knowledge, that I wish to share my thoughts with you. You have always listened when I needed an ear and I need that so much from you right now.
It may seem strange, but as I pen these words, rose and gold sun rays are softly shining through my chamber window and a gentle breeze is tapping the purple and white linen curtains, and my heart has now quieted.
In the few short years of my life, I have watched a good many sunsets settle upon the city of Suza. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated one as much as I do this one, this evening. Perhaps, it is because I know all too well that this might be the last sunset I see. I feel a little weak from the fasting, yet I feel great strength from praying to our all powerful God.
Thank you, dear uncle, for having taught me to pray and to petition the Lord in times of trouble. The fate that is to befall our Jewish people on the 13th day of this month of Adar is certainly evidence that these are times of trouble!
I will never forget your wise words to me, If you remain silent about being a Jew at this time of peril, your father’s house and you as well will perish. But God will not desert our people. Instead, relief and deliverance will arise from another place.”
I can only surmise that I have been given a position of royalty for such a time as this! I can almost see you nodding your head in affirmation.
Dear Uncle, I want to thank you for your affectionate guidance through the years. Many times while growing up, I wondered why my parents died. And I remember when I told you my feelings, you sat me down and taught me about some of the important people from our history.
You read to me of Moses, our deliverer, who was raised without father and mother in the heathen courts of Pharaoh. You told me about the mother of Samuel and how she released her son to be raised in the Temple by Eli the Priest. The one who had two wicked sons. And you told me of the events in the life of Joseph who was taken away from his parents in his teenage years and knew rejection and slavery in a foreign land. I was encouraged that God, who had a special plan for each of these that were not raised by their parents, might also have a plan for me. Not only that, but I remember your words, “My Hadassah, you will discover that if you cling to the God of Moses, Samuel and Joseph, God will be faithful to keep you in every circumstance.”
I wanted to write so you know I am clinging fast to God, Uncle Mordecai. And it has not been until this moment that I have begun to have a glimpse of his plan for my life. You told me I was born for a special task, but I could not see it before now. Yet all things in my life have been working together for good to bring me to this very day and place. Thank you for being my guardian and for preparing and instructing me for this day. I see now that God has always been at work, and I truly am grateful for his plan. Perhaps tomorrow the king will revoke the edict. Perhaps our people will be spared. Perhaps we will see many more beautiful sunsets over Suza.
Tonight I will rest in peace knowing that God is in control of the destiny of my life and yours and those of our people. Tomorrow I will go into the king’s chamber and if I perish, I perish…
With love and devotion, your child,
R. Berekhya said: “The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Abraham: ‘You left your father’s house when you were seventy-five years old; by your life, also the Redeemer [Esther] whom I shall cause to rise for your children in Media, she too will be seventy-five years old.'” R. Berekhya [further] said in the name of R. Levi: “The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: ‘You wept, We are become orphans and fatherless (Lamentations 5:3); also the Redemmer whom I shall make rise for you in Media, she too will have neither father or mother.'”
(Midrash Abba Gorion, Bet haMidrash, vol. 1:5)