Of Courage and Happiness

In this week’s Inyan Magazine, we present a feature titled “True Leadership vs. Public Opinion,” in which we take a glimpse into the lives of Torah leaders and key historical figures who faced enormous opposition as they fought for their ideals.

As we prepare to celebrate the joyous day of Purim, we must remember one of the lessons of the story of Mordechai and Esther: In many situations, doing what is right isn’t what is popular. While it is takes great courage to be able to swim against the tide, the rewards are eternal.

We have all seen the disastrous effects of out-of-hand inebriation on Purim. We all know the horror stories related by members of Hatzolah, the ruined reputations and the strained marriages caused by inappropriate and excessive drinking. It takes courage to be the one to say no to the proffered glass filled by a well-intentioned but sorely misguided acquaintance.

It takes moral fortitude not to offer alcohol to youngsters who come around collecting, and bear in mind that “only one” glass in each house adds up to quite a bit. All of us want be the gracious host and easygoing parent.

It takes strength of character to insist that we know in advance where our children — even when they are already young adults — are at all times on Purim, and whom they are with. It is our obligation to train our children in the art of refusing to participate in dangerous or inappropriate conduct — even when they face considerable peer pressure.

It is the responsibility of parents to keep track of the plans of their teenage children on Purim and teach them to put the feelings of others before their own wants. Contrary to what some like to believe, many individuals in our community go to sleep at a relatively early hour on Purim night so that they can get a head start on a hectic day. Awakening adults or sleeping children by playing loud music on the street or ringing doorbells is a contradiction to what Purim is all about. It takes courage to be the one to turn down the volume or declare that it is time to be heading home.

When we remember that on this most lofty of days, one can only acquire true simchas Purim through doing what is right, we will find the strength to rise to the occasion, make the correct choices and fill our hearts with genuine happiness.

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