Esther was adopted by Mordecai, her older cousin, after her mother and father died – a small detail in this grand story of vengeance, redemption and revenge.When Esther became Mordecai’s daughter, she was far from the heroine she would become. She was an orphaned child. Vulnerable. Alone. And Mordecai raised her. So the story opens with Mordecai honoring one of the two most commanded mitzvot: caring for the orphan.When Esther was taken to the palace by the royal queen-seekers, her now-father, Mordecai, paced outside the palace waiting for word, desperate to know what was happening with his beloved daughter.The mitzva of adoption – caring for the orphan – goes hand-in-hand with another much-commanded mitzva in the Tanach – caring for the stranger. The Torah mentions a minimum of 36 times that we must care for the stranger.And we have at least as many ways, today, in the State of Israel, to care for the stranger – the African refugees – largely from violent Sudan and enslaving Eritrea – who have fled their own version of the Assyrians and come to Israel.We know that Esther, secretly a Jewish refugee in Persia herself, was chosen as a replacement queen for Vashti.And shortly thereafter Haman persuaded Ahasuerus to cast lots to choose a date to destroy the Jews of Persia. Mordecai begged Esther to use her position to approach the king, to reveal her Jewish identity and stop the genocide. When she resisted, afraid of what would happen to her, he pushed back.“Don’t imagine that you alone among the Jews will escape to the king’s palace, and that this will save your life. Even if you are silent now, the Jews will get relief and redemption some other way, and you and your father’s house will be lost. Who knows? Maybe it was for just such an occasion that you were made queen!” Of all the things Mordecai said: You, alone, will not escape while the rest of the Jews are slaughtered! Even the opposite is true – the Jews will find redemption and your name alone will be lost! It’s a litany of seemingly desperate and incoherent threats. But again – like the brief mention of adoption – it is a small detail in this recitation of Mordecai’s that I find compelling and that, I imagine, Esther did too.Mi yodea? “Who knows?” Who knows? It is an acknowledgment that the world, that God, is far beyond our comprehension. Perhaps those two words – confessing utter humility or, perhaps, ironically serving as words of redemption – could even be called a theology. A theology of humility. Of not knowing anything for sure, but doing the best we can.Ahasuerus was very easily convinced that we were a threat to the throne. Haman was sure about us, about our evil, about the treacherous nature of the people of Mordecai. The strangers among any people are so easily targeted, their power overstated, their existence assumed threatening.And we hear this all the time about African refugees here in Israel. We are so sure of their threat to our society: “Their laws are different than everyone else’s, they do not obey the king’s laws, and it does not pay for the king to tolerate their existence.” (Haman) “They will rise up and join our enemies.” (Pharaoh) These mischaracterizations emulate those who have oppressed us, who have lacked any relationship to the mitzvot we claim to hold dear and that bring to life the words of our prophets.Mi yodea? Who knows? Maybe it is for the opportunity to honor the stranger now that we, ourselves, are no longer refugees and live as a free people in our own land. Rabbi Susan Silverman is the author of Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World (Da Capo Press). She thanks Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld for highlighting the question “mi yodea” in the Purim story.