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Speak versus silent

Purim: A Time to Be Silent; a Time to Speak

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be silent and a time to speak.”

These familiar verses, lyrics to a very popular song, were originally written by King Solomon, known to be one of the wisest men who ever lived. This book is called Ecclesiastes.

The holiday of Purim is coming upon us soon and in the Megillah, the scroll which tells this amazing story, we meet Queen Esther. I so admire the Queen and I’ve heard the story many times (if you have not read it please do so, it is well worth it).

As with many very important people in the Torah I can’t really say that I know her. How did she walk and talk? What did she think about? How did she feel? How did her poise, graciousness and beauty appear? Whom did she trust? I can only imagine the depths of her faith and humility.

When asked by the King of her origins, Queen Esther chose to be silent. We are told that Mordechai, her cousin and the leader of the generation, warned her not to speak about this. We know that King Achashveros was not a friend to the Jewish people.

I cannot imagine being in such a situation, walking such a tightrope, how she held herself with such grace under pressure. How alone she must have felt. Her silence saved herself and protected her people until she could be silent no more.

“A time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Am Yisrael, the nation of Israel, was threatened with extinction by the evil Haman. Queen Esther, encouraged by Mordechai, chose to go before the King to speak out and save her people. This took tremendous courage as anyone who came before the King without being called could have been sentenced to death. The Queen was welcomed graciously and thankfully able to fulfill her mission.

Many other Torah personalities were silent in the face of challenges. Rachel allowed her sister Leah to marry the man she loved and remained silent. Job, in his sorrow remained silent for seven days. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was silent when learning about the death of his two sons.

Many spoke out as we are doing in this blog. We are speaking up and sharing our stories, all in a good time with good intent.

There are many reasons to be silent, and many times to speak up. Like Queen Esther, may our words and our silences be blessed to come forth in the right time and in the best ways.

The following is a poem based on the same idea.

A Poem for Purim

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Queen Esther you are our hero
you must have known quite well
the wisdom of Koheles because you were silent,
your birthright you did not tell

But when your voice was needed
you spoke up loud and clear
for the King, and Haman
and everyone to hear

Although you may have been afraid
and lonely as could be
your courage, and fortitude
everyone could see.

Silence has its time and place,
so with our words as well
May we be blessed like you our Queen
to choose wisely and excel

There is a time for everything
now’s the time to laugh and sing
on this happy day of Purim
with all the miracles it does bring.

Only one day of Purim

Only one day of Purim
one special day to connect
Hashem sends down the brachas
opens the pathways I suspect.

Reaching out, receiving
a world beyond time, above space
we build bridges to each other
create achdus, a holy place

Who would ever imagine
that what we do down here
transforms the world as we know it
by bringing Hashem’s presence so near

Only one day of Purim
where what is hidden appears
if such a thing is possible
then maybe Moshiach is near.

Purim, 1997

Read more by Hinda Blum.

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