Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Very Important Purim Lesson for Today

I've just wasted a lot of time searching for a brief summary of Megillat (The Book of) Esther. Everything I found was much too wordy and even then left out a few important facts. As a high school EFL English Teacher here in Israel, I had to try to teach my students how to summarize. Everything I found on the internet was more of a paraphrasing and too many veered from the actual text by adding all sorts of midrashim and explanations. A summary should be a very bare outline missing many details, which I will try to write:
Mordechaiin sackcloth
After the destruction of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, many Jews were exiled to Persia where King Achashveros declared national feasting by all in his own honor, which was marred by his Queen Vashti's refusal to appear. She was replaced by Esther, a Jew who neglected to admit her identity according to the instructions of her guardian Mordechai.
King Achashveros appointed Mordechai's enemy Haman as his top minister, even giving him the powerful signet ring to declare laws. Haman made a law to destroy the entire Jewish People from old to young.
Mordechai reported to Queen Esther to convince her to lead the struggle to cancel the law. Esther ordered the Jews to fast for three days and then risked her life by requesting an audience with King Achashveros who welcomed her. She invited him and Haman to attend a special feast and then to another one at which Queen Esther revealed that someone in King Achashveros's court is planning on killing her and her people.
King Achashveros sentenced that leader, Haman, to death and gave Mordechai the signet ring and permission for the Jewish People to fight and defeat their enemies. The Jewish People are victorious and have been celebrating the victory ever since.
That's a summary.  If you want more details read Aish, Wikipedia, Ohr Sameach or anything else you can google.

Arthur Szyk
Most people get distracted by the more humorous and ironic parts of the story, those I left out of my summary.  There's the irony of Haman's expecting to be paraded around as "the person the king wants to publicly thank and praise," while it's Mordechai whom Haman must fit out in the king's finest. Mordechai is the person Haman has sworn to destroy. He even built a tall structure to hang him in view of all, but it ends up being used to hang Haman.

We shouldn't get distracted and lose our focus from the gist of the story. The Jewish People were saved because of two very crucially important reasons;

  • We recognized our enemies.
  • We physically fought them.
We did not negotiate, nor did we try being nice.  We made no excuses for them, nor did we try to "understand" their problems.

And just like we still celebrate the Puim Holiday, fasting, feasting, giving food and monetary gifts, we must take that old TNT tried 'n tested lesson to heart.

We will not live in peace until we physically destroy our enemies!

Chag Purim Sameach!!


Shy Guy said...

אמן, כן יהי רצון במהרה בימינו

But the bottom line is it's up to us to make the right moves.

Batya said...

exactly, Mordechai and Esther didn't wait around for G-d.

Shiloh said...

If God sent a Mordechai or Esther, or even the messiah, most would fight them anyways. Yes, we have to make the right moves with the person God Himself publically identifies in Israel. Anything else will fail as it has for thousands of years... Purim Sameach all!

Batya said...

Shiloh, G-d's true messiah doesn't change the Torah.

Shiloh said...

God true messiah, whom will be identified by Him, publically and witnessed by Jews, will correct the breaches in the Torah. If Moshe himself showed up, the Jews would scream, 'he's trying to destroy Judaism, he's changing the Torah". Maybe it's we who have already changed the Torah (anyone who has studied ancient history will know this). So any correction will be almost impossible based on our tradition. The game has been rigged by the Erev Rav.