What is the universal lesson of Purim?

Charity can

Gifts to the Poor

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, provided the following explanation:*

Aside from the lesson Purim teaches us to spread Judaism amongst the Jewish people, it also teaches us that we must bring goodness, justice, and righteousness to the entire world, including the Gentile nations…

Not only should a Jew behave with total firmness and not allow himself to be intimidated by the Gentile, but he should also influence the Gentile to behave in a just, righteous manner, by bringing him to adhere to the Noahide Code. This is highlighted in the narrative of the Megillah [the Book of Esther]:

After Mordechai was appointed viceroy [of Persia], he strove to promote the well-being of all the inhabitants of the countries under King Achashverosh – both the Jews and the Gentiles of the one hundred and twenty-seven countries…[1]

Thus, the story of the Megillah holds another lesson: A Jew should exert effort to promote the well-being of all the Gentile nations. He accomplishes this by influencing them to follow the Noahide Code, whose underlying theme is maintaining a civilized world.[2]


[1] Historical background: On Nissan 13, 357 BCE, a royal decree was issued by King Achashverosh of Persia, ordering the killing of all the Jews in the following year (which was in his power, because the entire Jewish people resided within his empire). This decree was initiated by the wicked Haman, an Amalekite who rose to power as viceroy of the king. In that following year, due to Queen Esther’s intervention and G-d’s saving miracles, a second decree was issued by King Achashverosh, empowering the Jews to defend themselves.

On Adar 13 and 14 of that year, 356 B.C.E., the Jews fought battles throughout the empire against Haman’s fellow Amalekites who were planning to carry out the annihilation of all the Jews, G-d forbid. With G-d’s help, the Jews were victorious over these enemies, and the Jewish festival of Purim was then established by the righteous sage Mordechai (who replaced Haman as viceroy), Queen Esther, and the other Jewish sages of their generation.

[2] This directive is found in the Hebrew Bible in Isaiah 45:18 – “For so said the L-rd, the Creator of Heaven, Who is G-d, Who formed the earth and made it, He established it; He did not create it for a waste, He formed it to be settled [through people acting righteously with one another], ‘I am the L-rd and there is no other.’ ”

*Free translation from Hisvaaduyos 5743, Vol.2, p. 105, as featured in the book “To Perfect the World: The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Call to Teach the Noahide Code to All Mankind.”