Hadassah lost both her father and mother at a young age.  Today, we might expect that grandparents would step in to raise the child but, in this case, there was no nana and pawpaw to be found.  Sometimes a benevolent and loving tia or tio will rise to the occasion.  But, just like the missing grandparents, there were also no aunt or uncles to step up to the plate. Life in her culture was not easy for an orphan and that was compounded by the fact that she was in a foreign country.   Begging, a lucky catch of a man to take care of her, menial work, or even prostitution were likely possibilities for her future.

But, Hadassah had a cousin.  He was a loving man who could not stand the thought of a twig on his family tree being on the street with very limited prospects of a good life.  Nobody knows if her primo had a prima for a wife because there is no record of a marriage or a person.  What we do know is this man took on a kinship relationship with little Hadassah and raised her as his own. She was known as Mr. Bashan’s daughter and they lived a life as Jewish immigrants in a city named Susa.  No doubt, life passed by with daily activities, religious services, and the normal day-to-day of family.

Little Haddy grew up and along the way she developed a strong personality full of sagacity and a pretty good sprinkling of boldness.  Mr. Bashan obviously raised her with unconditional love, wisdom and guidance and she became astute in her dealings with both natives and immigrants.  As a bonus, she was stunningly beautiful, one of the most alluring women in Susa.  As providence would have it, the political leader of the land was single (divorced.)  He actually got rid of his wife because she refused to come model her beauty to a room of drunken dignitaries.  Her refusal seems reasonable to me, but then, and there, such a refusal was taken as extreme disrespect and was not tolerated.  He sought a more submissive mate but still required that her beauty be alluring.  There was a beauty contest to determine the next queen and of course Haddy won the trophy. She was advised by Mr. Bashan to not disclose that she was Jewish.  That could easily lose her the new-found title, power, and influence. In the meantime, likely due to new social circles, Mr. Bashan (let’s call him cousin Mordy), got wind of an assassination plot against the king and stopped the coup.

Later on, cousin Mordy ran across a corrupt official who, seeing Mordy was a Jew,  demanded he bow down to honor the dignitary.  Mordy was having none of that. This official was so incensed that a Jew would not humble himself that he convinced the king to declare that all Jewish people would be slaughtered on a specific date. The king signed the decree, not knowing that he had just condemned his beautiful new wife to death.  Now cousin Mordy needed help from his own adopted daughter. He wanted her to speak to the king and stop this new legislation, requiring her to disclose her Jewish heritage.  One cannot just approach the king uninvited – even his bride.  But, with wisdom flowing in her veins, Haddy asked her kinspeople to fast and pray before she took the risk.  After the time of devotion, Haddy held a banquet and there she exposed her true nationality to her husband, as well as the officials attempting to practice genocide against she and her people.  The king was livid and hung the dignitary on the same gallows that were prepared for cousin Mordy.

The outcome of this story is that cousin Mordy, as a Jew, got a high position in the kings’ court and he and Haddy established the Jewish festival of Purim to celebrate deliverance. I am sure you know I am sharing the story of Esther, Mordecai, Xerxes and Haman from the Bible.  Esther was an extraordinary leader but imagine if she had been left on the streets?  What if Mordecai had not taken her in and become her daddy?  What if her cousin/daddy had not coached her at times and given her wise counsel?  Because of a dad, Jewish history was protected for another generation.

 

This Father’s Day, we celebrate our dads: biological, adoptive, foster, and kin.  We celebrate the unique joy that fathers offer children.

We celebrate:

Tea parties, movies, ball games, catch, wrestling, hamburgers, the night before Christmas, trampolines, fishing, rides on zero turns, sledding, skiing, dad jokes and falling down with laughter.

We cherish:

Hugs, words, dad wisdom, devotion to mom, recliners, sacrifice, prayers, worship, holding hands, presence, daddy dates, silence, sacrifice and experience.

We treasure Deliverance from:

The boogie man, scary places, steep climbs, exhaustion, broken bikes and hearts, flat tires, last minute essays, judgment, lack of wisdom, mistakes, and crooked paths.

 

Thank you, dads, for all you do. Thank you for influencing the next generation of believers, leaders, moms, dads, spouses, and happy people.  And thank goodness neckties are no longer in vogue!