Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mercy to One's Enemies, Ask a Cancer Surgeon

The world hasn't calmed down since senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was executed in Dubai.  The United States Judicial is debating whether or not it's legal to support "just the" humanitarian projects of terrorist organizations.  Aren't things a bit upside down?  Has the world gotten their priorities twisted?  Sure, no surprise.

The timing of this scandal is just so... Jewish. Yes, it is. Next week is the Purim holiday, and this coming Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor.  One of the themes of Purim is that things aren't what they seem to be.

Do you want an espionage story?  Who was the greatest female spy?  Queen Esther, of course!  She managed to win the Queen of Persia competition, go through every stage of the contest, passing for Persian, without giving even a hint of her true identity.  Not only was she Jewish, of that annoying foreign people, but she was related to that nosy, trouble-making Jew who was always stationed himself at the gates.  Not only did he boycott the feasts celebrating Achashverosh's kingship, but he wouldn't bow down to high officials, like Haman.

In today's world, Mordechai and Esther couldn't have pulled it off.  Those new security X Ray machines strip us of all make-up, clothes and wigs.  The technicians attempt to play G-d, see what we're hiding.  But G-d sees what's really inside, under the bones, muscles etc.  G-d sees our soul, our essence.

"The world" is defending evil, being merciful to our enemies.  That only strengthens evil and makes life more dangerous for all.

Ask a cancer specialist.  If a cancer is growing on one's face or limb, what should one do?  We must remove the cancer, even if it means scarring and handicaps.  If we don't, the cancer will take over the body and the patient will die a horrid painful death.

Terrorism is a cancer, and we must do everything to destroy it.


Unknown said...

You said "In today's world, Mordechai and Esther couldn't have pulled it off."

Actually, they could. They did not disguise themselves and Esther did not lie. She just refused to say (Don't ask, Don't tell for an American reference). Achashveirosh did not want to lower himself by asking. His officials had proven incompetent by not keeping valid records when they first "recruited" her. The Medrash says that this was because they knew that she was not a valid candidate and took her anyway.

Since she just refused to say, every national group within the Empire "claimed" her.

This is an example of how Hashem uses the natural tendencies of people to cause his results to come about.

Batya said...

Thanks, I should have said that G-d would have helped them with different olam hazeh techniques.

Sammy Finkelman said...

It's true in this sense that today's world, Mordechai and Esther couldn't have pulled it off.

In today's world - and in many othwer places other than Persia at that time - they had different kinds of security measures. Either it would have been no trouble to see the king, or too difficult.

Let's disregard risking your life. You couldn't have gotten in to see Nixon at all, and couldn't even let him know you wantesd to see him. Haldeman was the gatekeeper and only Haldeman, Erlichman and kissinger and maembers of his family maybe could see Nixon unannounced.

But Persia at that time had this:

Any person who entered unannounced into the chamber of the king was to be killed - unless the king stretched out his golden rod.

Esther by the wqy had to do this twice -- also to get teh decree revoked.

Now about Esther's background. This probably wasn't asked officially, but at the same time it is what every person would have wanted to know. she didn't tell either her nationality or where she was born. Why it is not clear. the megillah doesn't say why Mordechai told her that. Maybe to avoid any kind of pressure or to avoid having them look for more Jewish girls, in case they foudn her beautiful.

An important point is: she was maybe not that obvious about it.

King Acheverosh DID NOT KNOW THAT HAMAN DID NOT KNOW (and neitehr did anybody else) that she was Jewish.

And the people around the palace did not know what Mordechai's relationship was to Esther.

I know there are interoretations of the megillah that do not assume that.

I also don't think that Haman was so rich. He didn't want tio bribe teh king. He wanted the king to appropriate money. The king never heard WHAT people Haman wanted to kill because he stopped him early. The Megillah is not abbreviating there - Haman actually never got around to naming the people he wanted to kill. Haman wanted teh *king* to give money tio teh tax collectors. He wanted the whole thing done thriough the tax collectors because the tax collectors were the only part of the Persian empire's government that got down to the grass roots level.

Oh and Mordechai's was Esther's first cousin not her uncle. Everybody says uncle, because they can't fuigure out the age difference. You see if Mordechai was one of the exiles from Jerusalem and this was 70 years later well, he had to be about 50 years older than her and that's too old for a first cousin. A first cousin really can't be much more tahn 30 years older than another.

But actually it was Mordechai's great grandfather (named Kish) who was exiled. We understand this wrong. That's partly because of the lost 163 or 168 years.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The first video about "New suspects in Fubai murder" cannot be played, at least in the United States, because it says, it contains content from CNN (Europe) which blocked it in "your country" on copyright grounds.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Errata: Dubai not Fubai

Batya said...

Sammy, doesn't it say "dod-ah," her uncle in the megillah? In terms of age difference anything's possible, since men with multple wives can have decades difference in age between their kids.

interesting abouyt the copyright restrictions on youtube.

At today's Shabbat shiur it was mentioned that there's a drash that Haman controled Achashverush, because he gave him money.

Keli Ata said...

"But actually it was Mordechai's great grandfather (named Kish) who was exiled."

Kish..wasn't that the man described in the bible as the tallest and most handsome Israeli? But who was also modest and hid behind luggage or something?

Sorry. Bits and fragments stick in my head but not the specifics.

Batya said...

Keli, you're thinking of King Saul, and yes, they were of the same family/tribe.