What if the opposite happened, not just in the Purim story, but also in our lives? What if the state of the world brought us not to despair but to resolve? What if horrific gun violence did not dissolve us in a sea of tears and “thoughts and prayers” but strengthened our courage to stand up and end it? What if awareness of our vulnerability prompted us not to withdraw from the world but to engage more deeply? What if the opposite happened? The teaching of the Book of Esther is that this is possible, that the horror and pain we see in the world can propel us to reach out in love and to work with hope. Ken y’hi ratzon – may this be God’s will for us.