What do Purim and International Women’s Day have in common? Besides coinciding within the same few calendar hours, alongside the full moon, the days are both marked to commemorate notable women in history, and there is no doubt that Queen Esther is a female role model extraordinaire.
As we know the story, Queen Esther stepped up to save the Jewish people, strategically using her beauty and intelligence against the likes of evil men. Yet does Queen Esther’s story have anything to teach us within our modern day tale?
Consider Queen Esther as the original feminine, a woman gifted with a crucial role to play, who recognized her duty and leveraged her femininity to save her people. Beckoned to enter the kingdom’s beauty pageant based on her single status, Esther humbly took the stage. Yet her beauty shone through, and chosen by the King, her mission unfolded in front of her. With the help of her trusted uncle, and her inner faith, Esther developed a strategy and stepped into her own sense of power, despite her fears. Using her powers of beauty, grace and vulnerability, she met the King face to face and unveiled her secret. She was a Jew, and the evil man Haman wanted to kill her people. She took off her own mask, exposing herself, sharing her truth, winning the respect of the King, and saving the Jewish people from harm.
Today, the threat against the Jewish people and other minority groups remain. While female empowerment is on the rise, there is still a somewhat heavy feeling of living in “a man’s world,” where humans learn to survive through the male perspective. This often means using competition, violence and ego to solve problems, gain power, and maintain order. Yet perhaps, this system is breaking down, and Queen Esther’s story is a potent reminder of a different way to lead effectively. What if we were able to step away from the masculine mindset and operate differently, taking the approach of Queen Esther and inviting the softer side of leadership into our lives?
Queen Esther remains an important role model, and a reminder that women and men lead using various variables. Esther exemplified leadership through her vulnerability, faith, and wisdom. Esther guided a new direction with grace, courage and softness. Imagine a world if our leaders led with these ideals, understanding the bigger picture and operating for humanity’s greater good?
May each of us channel more of Queen Esther. May we take the time to acknowledge our power, live with vulnerability, unmask our truth, recognize our purpose, and fulfill our potential. May we continue to act and lead with values, with honesty and kindness, and have the courage to use our voice, to trust our selves, and step up as the Queen Esther our world needs today – and of course, make time to celebrate with absolute joy.