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EMULATING QUEEN ESTHER’S INNER STRENGTH

By: Ellen Geller Kamaras



At some point in our lives most young girls or women dream of being a queen.When we marry, we are compared to a queen and our husband a king.
The yearning in us to be a queen, however, is not exclusive to married women, and that yearning can be felt throughout our childhood and adult years.

Be honest, please. As a mature adult, do you still secretly wish to be a queen?

If so, what would being a queen look like for you? Would it be about having limitless funds and maids at your beck and call?
Or would it be about looking and dressing like a beauty queen?

As I pondered the answers to these questions myself, I wondered: is a queen always a positive role model?

Most dictionaries define a role model as a person whose behavior in a particular role is emulated by others, especially by young people.

As Jewish women, we have been blessed with many positive role models. In researching why Jewish women revere Queen Esther, I found that the focus was on Esther’s inner strength, how she was courageous but vulnerable, scared but determined, and how she challenged and stretched herself beyond her comfort zone to save the Jews.

Alina Dain Sharon, former editor of the Jewish news wire service JNS.org, profiled several Jewish women who made a difference by ‘channeling their Queen Esther’. She wrote, “No wonder so many little girls want to dress up as Esther.” As Alina so aptly expressed, we admire Queen Esther not only for her ability to outwit the evil Haman and save her fellow Jews from annihilation, but for her strength and intelligence.

As both a Jewish woman and a life coach, to me, ‘channeling our Queen Esther’ is about channeling our inner strength during times of unexpected change, challenge, difficulty, and uncertainty. Here are some ways in which we demonstrate our inner strength. We have the confidence to tell ourselves we are strong enough and good enough to overcome our obstacles. We are resilient and flexible, viewing challenge as an opportunity to persevere and succeed, rather than seeing challenge as a precursor of failure. We overcome our fears and take risks to realize our potential as individuals and as Jews and pursue our dreams. We have a goal-oriented mindset.
We maintain our equilibrium. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable. And we sustain our faith and trust in Hashem.

I had the honor of interviewing ten unique women for the
Woman to Woman column of Community Magazine. From founders of hesedorganizations to educators, writers, psychologists, entrepreneurs, genealogists, and artists. These women have all channeled their inner Queen Esther. They have leveraged their inner strength and have incorporated passion, purpose,and positivity into their daily lives.

Let’s hone in on the essence and traits of Queen Esther and acknowledge our decision to model ourselves after her.

Significance of a Name

Esther’s name helps us understand who she really was, her essence. Chana Raizel Zaklikowski provides insights into Queen Esther’s birth name, Hadassah. Hadassah is derived from the biblical Hebrew word hadas, which we all know from Sukkot. Hadasis the myrtle tree which has a pleasing scent. The commentator Maharsha says that the righteous are compared to myrtle trees. The Talmud expounds that Esther was named Hadassah for her righteousness – see Zechariah 1:8, “And he was standing among the myrtles...the righteous prophets.”The midrash says Esther was as sweet as a hadasand listened Mordechai when he told her to go to King Ahasuerus. Esther was also ill-disposed (bitter) to the evil Haman, just as a hadashas a bitter taste.

What about the name Esther? Esther comes from the Hebrew word hesteror hiddenness. The Kabbalah reconciles these two seemingly contradictory names, hadas-righteousness with hester- hiddenness. Hesteris the hidden Gdliness or spirituality that Esther as a righteous person brought into the physical world where it was concealed. Her two names depict the selflessness she demonstrated to prevent the eradication of Am Yisrael.

Esther’s story starts out almost like a rags to riches fairy tale,
with a poor unknown girl becoming the queen of a huge empire. We however learn quickly that Esther was a real woman of tremendous strength who risked her life to save her people.

Another aspect of Esther’s hiddenness was her “hidden” beauty. Some commentators say Esther was not physically beautiful, and the Talmud even cites her greenish complexion. Esther did not want King Ahasuerus to be attracted to her, and tried to hide her physicality from him. And yet the king was attracted to what he sensed was her inner depth, strength, and beauty (as compared to his former wife, Vashti, who flaunted her looks). Esther’s hidden beauty and strength and her focus and determination helped her save Am Yisrael. Esther was fully aware that she was risking her life, and knew that she could be killed if she went to Ahasuerus if he had not asked for her. Yet she had the robust courage and faith that Hashem would protect her.

Esther’s request for fasting and praying to prepare for her dangerous visit to the king parallels our modern-day women who believe in the power of gathering in groups to say Tehillimfor a refuah shelamah.

May we continue toteach our daughters to emulate Queen Esther and cultivate the inner strength of this Woman of Valor.

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach. Her coaching specialties include life, career, and dating coaching. Ellen helps people find their passion, purpose, and positivity in life and relationships, and conducts Find Your Spark Workshops for Rosh Hashanah and throughout the year. Ellen can be contacted at ellen@lifecoachellen.com
(www.lifecoachellen.com).