According to the midrash on Megillas Esther, before Esther HaMalkah went in uninvited to Achashveirosh, she spent three days fasting, wearing sack-cloth, and praying by way of the window (toward Yerushalayim). She pleaded and cried for Hashem’s mercy, moving from window to window in the house of Achashveirosh (Esther Rabbah 8:7). Why did Esther HaMalkah move from window to window? A possible explanation is: Just as each window offered a different view on the grounds surrounding the palace, the t’filos that she made during those three days took on various angles and forms.
Chazal (Esther 15a) tell us that Esther HaMalkah then recited T’hilim 22, which includes the heartfelt words, “Keili, Keili, lamah azavtani – Hashem, Hashem, why have You forsaken me?” Our sages teach us that it is especially powerful to recite T’hilim Chapter 22 on Taanis Esther to nullify a terrible decree.
Hashem never gets tired of hearing from us – even if we keep making the same ultimate requests over and over again, and even if we spend an abundant amount of time and energy rehashing details that He already knows.
According to the Midrash, after the incident at the waters of Merivah (Sh’mos 17:1-7), Hashem made a vow restricting Moshe Rabbeinu from entering Eretz Yisrael. From the moment that Moshe learned about the decree, he never stopped davening that it be overturned. Not only did he do this daily, but whenever a new eis ratzon presented itself (such as following the conquest of Sichon and Og), he used the opportunity to pray once more. Moshe’s prayers were so powerful and effective that Hashem had to actually step in and stop his supplications (D’varim 3:26). Chazal tell us that had Moshe davened one more t’filah, he would have been successful in getting his request. He would have been able to “force” Hashem’s Hand, so to speak, to annul the negative decree. Since Moshe’s arrival in Eretz Yisrael would have ushered in Mashiach, and the world wasn’t ready for that yet, Hashem had to intervene. This teaches us a very powerful idea about t’filah. By including this episode in the Torah, Hashem is telling us that through t’filah we have the ability to change our mazal and even abolish a negative decree that will personally affect us.
Esther HaMalkah teaches us about t’filah and how to gain trust in G-d. It is important for us to accept all circumstances with joy, emunah, and bitachon. Esther taught us that a person can be happy during difficult times by sincerely believing that everything is for the good.
We should use every opportunity presented to us to daven to Hashem for Siyata DiShmaya in the areas of our lives where we are struggling the most. This includes formal davening from a siddur and when we are saying T’hilim. It means beseeching Hashem at a bris milah, at the chupah of a wedding, at a l’vayah, at a kever, during the yahrzeit of a tzadik, while completing any mitzvah (such as taking challah), giving tz’dakah, or honoring our parents. It also means making spontaneous t’filos in our own words to Hashem as we go about our day.
No sincere t’filah goes unnoticed, and no sincere t’filah is without its effect – whether or not we are zocheh to see it. T’filah is a reality that Hashem put into the world. Whenever we daven sincerely, with the simple emunah that Hashem is listening, that He runs the world, and our y’shuah can come at any moment, that is when Hashem opens the doors to our requests and miracles can indeed happen.
Even in a situation where your desired outcome is not ultimately what is best for you, and you thus don’t receive it, you will often walk away from the experience stronger, possessing more clarity, and be closer to Hashem, those around you, and yourself.
Know that Hashem has already begun to answer you.
Material was previously published on Shiratmiriam.com.