In chapter four of Megillat Esther, Mordechai urges Queen Esther to beg King Achashverosh to save her nation--the Jewish people--from Haman's evil decree to destroy them. Upon receiving Mordechai's message, Esther agreed to go to the king, but only after all the Jews of Shushan--including herself--had fasted for three days and nights.
This is somewhat surprising:
The very lives of the entire Jewish people--men, women and children--were at stake, and Queen Esther was the only one that could possibly save them. Approaching the king when not invited was forbidden and punishable by death. As Esther had not been invited to the king for thirty days, she was clearly risking her life to meet him. In addition, her pale complexion as a result of fasting for three days would only weaken her chance of finding favor in the king's eyes and thereby saving the Jews. Why wasn't she fearful of losing her physical charm by fasting and jeopardizing her possible success?
The answer is that the success of the Jewish people depends on their connection to G-d and their ability to receive G-d's blessing.
The Jews in those days were fortunate: Mordechai, their leader, was one of the king's advisors. In addition, he had saved the king's life. Esther--a Jewish woman-was the queen, and she found favor in the king's eyes. Yet, a terrible decree was issued against the Jews.
Esther understood that Haman's decree did not come about by chance, but rather, could only have been caused by a weakening of the connection between the Jewish people and G-d.
Our Sages teach us not to "sit back" and rely on miracles to happen. We must do our utmost to save and protect lives. Indeed, Esther did her part and went to the king as well. Her priority, however, was to remove the cause of Haman's decree. She was confident that if the Jews fasted and repented for their sin, they would merit G-d's blessings and her mission to the king would be successful.
Pearls for the