You Can’t Please Everyone
By Rabbi Rami Pavolotzky
This week we celebrate Purim, so I would like to say a few words about it.
One of the most important laws of Purim is the reading of the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther. Thinking about the main characters of the book, Mordechai appears like a beloved leader. He is the savior of the Jews, a pious and righteous man, a model to be imitated. We wonder, who wouldn’t love Mordechai? Who wouldn’t like to be like him?
In the last verse of the Megillah, however, it says: “And Mordechai the Jew was second-in-command to King Achashverosh… and pleasing to most of his brothers” (Esther 10:3).
Most? Why not all? Didn’t Mordechai just save the entire Jewish people? How could anyone NOT like Mordechai? The medieval commentator Ibn Ezra (1089-1167, Spain, one of the most distinguished Jewish biblical commentators and philosophers of the Middle Ages) explains, “For there is no ability in man to please everyone, for the jealousy of the brethren.”
Therefore, the Megillah is teaching us an important lesson here: You can’t be loved by everyone! There’s always going to be someone who finds fault with you, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. Even “the nicest guy on the block” will have people who get annoyed by him or are jealous of him/her sometimes. In other words, you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try.
We have to try to be good people, friendly, caring, and welcoming, helping others whenever we can. At the same time, it is important to realize that ultimately, winning people over is simply out of our hands.
Don’t expect to always be appreciated, that is simply not possible. Do your best without expecting total recognition. It is a simple tip that can save us a lot of anguish! Very timely for Purim, when we are expected to be happy!