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Monday, March 13, 2006

Yes, Purim

There's a very important lesson from Purim. Things aren't as they appear.

Let's start with King Achashverosh, who king over many countries, very powerful, but if you look at the text, you'll see from Megillat Esther that he was a bumbling fool and a drunkard.
10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine

In front of his friends, he called for his wife, Queen Vashti to come and display herself, but when she refused, he didn't know what to do and asked his friends' advice and then
21 And the word pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan;

Later on we see him obeying Haman
8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus: 'There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king's laws; therefore it profiteth not the king to suffer them. 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have the charge of the king's business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.' 10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy. 11 And the king said unto Haman: 'The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.'

Haman used this power to plan, legally of course, the extermination of the Jewish People,
13 And letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

Modechai knew that there was only one person who could save the Jewish People, Esther, the new queen, chosen in a beauty pageant after Vashti was banished.

Then Mordechai took advantage of King Achashverosh's weakness for a pretty woman, as Esther appeared unbidden, all dolled up:
2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight

Apparently, thinking about Esther's invitation to a "banquet" kept the king up at night,
1 On that night could not the king sleep;

So he decided to go over old records and discovered that he had neglected to reward Mordechai service above and beyond...

Not being able to make decisions on his own, he decided to consult with his trusty Haman to find out how to reward a national hero.
7 And Haman said unto the king: 'For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, 8 let royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and on whose head a crown royal is set; 9 and let the apparel and the horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man therewith whom the king delighteth to honour, and cause him to ride on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.'

Haman was certain he was to be honored, so he suggested what he dreamt of, but the person to be honored was the man he hated the most, Mordechai, the Jew! But he comforted himself with the knowledge that at least Queen Esther admired him, why else would he have had been invited to her special banquet. Then at the banquet she invited them both--the king and Haman--to another banquet.

And just as Haman was certain that everything was going his way, the king pledged to give Queen Esther whatever she wished
whatever thy petition, queen Esther, it shall be granted thee; and whatever thy request, even to the half of the kingdom, it shall be performed.'

And then came the biggest shock of all:
3 Then Esther the queen answered and said: 'If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request; 4 for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my peace, for the adversary is not worthy that the king be endamaged.'

And who was blamed?
6 And Esther said: 'An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman.'

And, yes, it was Haman who was hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordechai. But could Achashverosh cancel his decree to exterminate, kill all the Jews, young and old? No he couldn't. A law's a law, but he permitted them to defend themselves.

Have a Purim Sameach, and have faith that G-d is really in control, and we will see Haman on the gallows and a much better ending than we read in the Megilla.
3 For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren; seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his seed.

Remember that all this happened in "Chutz L'Aretz," the New York of the day. They let Achasverosh decide and rule instead of returning home and fighting for independence. We still have a long way to go.

V'Nafochu, May all the evil be reversed

2 comments:

martin efrat said...

Protexia wrote:
you forgot that King Achesvarush gave Esther "BEIT HAMAN:"

who in turn gave it to her uncle Mordechai

in 2005, Arik Sharon took Esther's 'house' and gave it to Haman

muse said...

Yes, and soon it's Pesach, and G-d gave the midwives "houses."