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We learn from the story of Purim and from the hero Mordechai in particular that a leader must follow his convictions, regardless of the ratings.

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

The Book of Esther concludes by telling us that Mordechai was a great man who “was accepted by the majority of his brothers.”

What kind of ending is this?!?! It’s very anti-climactic! Why do we conclude the Purim story by noting that the hero was not liked by everyone?

It is explained that some people bend over backwards trying to please everyone. Such people will give in, comply and walk on eggshells to make everyone happy. They certainly mean well, and it would indeed be nice if everyone liked us, but perhaps the Book of Esther is telling us that this is not the right attitude.

Mordechai clearly didn’t care that some people didn’t like him. He didn’t care that some people didn’t like his approach to dealing with the Haman situation. He didn’t worry about what people said or thought of him. Rather, he had to get the job done even if some people would be uncomfortable with his methods.

Not everyone liked Mordechai. For that matter, not everyone liked Moses; not everyone liked David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many others. But they didn’t care! They were the leaders and they had to make decisions that weren’t always popular.

This is precisely why our leaders have always been successful. They were humble. Their eye was always on the goal, their hearts were with God, and their minds were on their people. And so it is with every leader in every situation.

If you want to try to please everyone all of the time, go ahead. You might even be successful. But you won’t be a leader. You won’t be able to make the uncomfortable choices and decisions that a leader has to make. You just won’t get the job done.

Take it from Mordechai. As long as the “majority” of people like you, you know you’re doing fine!

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