As of late I've been reflecting a bit on the fortunes of Jewish history and how the story of Purim is meant to be a commentary. My common understanding was that in Jewish history, as is well known, the Jews get the short end of the stick once or twice and that therefore Purim was meant as a statement saying that a) we Jews are survivors and no matter what our enemies try to throw at us, we'll still come through and b) that, as a sort of ironic joke, sometimes even when great calamity seems imminent and another round of kinot are going to find inspiration, things can still work out in our favor.
It then struck me, as I was reviewing Megillat Esther, that Mordechai makes an interesting statement as he's convincing Esther to use her prominent royal position to help the Jews. And he says, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish."
What's fascinating about this is that Mordechai seems so sure that the Jews will be saved even though he himself was the product of an Exile which was one of the worst calamities in Jewish history. What makes him so certain that the Jews weren't in for another round?
Some may say the answer is because Cyrus had already proclaimed that the Jews could return to their land and rebuild the Temple and thus he'd figure that God's anger was assuaged enough that the Jews didn't deserve another whopping. Could be, could be.
But I prefer to see it more as a statement of hope and determination even in the face of apparent certain death and destruction. If you are working on the assumption that all plans are doomed for failure then you will never act - and you will fail. But if you are acting on the assumption that something can be done successfully and that you have a responsibility to act - then you will act and you may very well succeed.
The correct attitude when one approaches a problem then should be one of self-confidence and duty - that you ought to act and that your actions will lead to success.
Some hamentashen for thought.