I can feel the fear pulsing through my veins, blocking out everything around me. I walk down the long, unembellished hall, which is dimly lit with fiery torches at every bend. I can’t help but wonder if it was purposely built this way to terrorize me. As I slowly edge towards the doors, I keep telling myself it’s going to be fine…but what if it’s not? I can feel my stomach twisting as I turn the last corner and come to a complete stop.
The set of black double doors are now in front of me. I grip my hands tightly into fists. With my head bent down and my eyes tightly shut, I nod, giving permission to the large, muscular guards to open the doors. The long crimson carpet is the only thing that separates me and his gold throne, which is set with gems that dazzle in all different hues and shades. The finest in all of Persia. The room is held up by long pillars of white marble; within them are thin spider webs of gold. Red velvet drapes from pillar to pillar. Between the pillars hang paintings of past kings, framed with exquisite gold. Yet I don’t have time to admire the magnificent room and the fine details of the décor for more than a split second. It’s my life, and my family’s lives, that are at stake.
Along with my deep, nervous breaths, the click clack of my heels is the only sound that can be heard. As I slowly continue down the long red carpet, I pray a silent prayer. Never in my life have I felt so hungry, tired, and alone. With each step I can practically feel my stomach turning inside out with fear and hunger, a physical response to three days of fasting. I take each breath in deeply, my heart racing.
Oh G-d, please don’t forget the miracles your performed with Daniel in the lion’s den, or for Chananiah, Michael, and Azariah when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. I’m a small Jewish child who just defied the most powerful king in the world. I’m just a frail girl, with no parents, no childhood to look back and relive, no children, and no real husband. But for Your sake, I gave up everything I could have had. Please, G-d – don’t abandon me.
Each second lasts an eternity as I open my tightly closed eyes and await his decision. I stare at the floor, noticing every tiny spot and every intricate detail of the red carpet, not daring to raise my head. I can feel his eyes, those red and fiery torches, pierce me to the depths of my soul. I shake uncontrollably; I know my fate already. I’m done, as are my people.
And as I raise my eyes, without daring to lift my head from its downward position, I finally make eye contact with him. I plead to him with my tear-glazed eyes to grant me life. And as I lower my eyes again and start to sob uncontrollably, I can’t handle the suspense anymore. I look up.
And I see him, Achashverosh, king of 127 provinces, the ruler of the strongest nation of all the world, looking at me as if I did nothing wrong. His golden scepter is reaching towards me, growing bigger and bigger, until it finally taps my shoulder.
At that second, I hear his booming voice echoing through the hall, asking me what I wanted that I was willing to endanger my life for. I know that my desire was the same as Hashem’s. Achashverosh did not spare my life; Hashem was my true savior.
So confidently I answer back, knowing that G-d won’t forsake me any further.