Friday, February 19, 2010

The Story of Purim(Parst 2 and 3)

5th of Adar, 5770

(Continuation from yesterday...)

As part of his personal vendetta against Mordechai, Haman, the prime minister of the Persian Empire, decided to kill all the Jews in the Empire, the whole Jewish population in the world at that time.
But how do you kill a million people, spread all over a huge empire? Haman had a perfect genius evil plan. He issued an edict, which was immediately sent all over the empire, announcing that at the 13th of the month of Adar (few months from the issuing of the edict) every citizen of the Empire will have the lawful right to kill a Jew and take possession of his properties and assets…. By the laws of the empire, the Jews could not defend themselves! That was Haman’s master plan: motivating every person in the Empire to kill his own Jewish neighbors. No one would escape alive…

The Midrash tells that the non Jewish neighbors were fighting among themselves to determine who would kill this or that Jew on the 13th of Adar and take possession of his properties. The Jews declared a 3 day fast and implored God for their salvation….
The only thing left to do was to talk directly with King Achashverosh, bypassing the evil Haman… but who was going to do it?
Mordechai approached Esther and asked her to beg Achashverosh for her people. But there were very strict rules in the Persian Kingdom. For security reasons, no one was allowed to approach the King physically. If any person, even the queen, came close to the King, he or she could be sentenced to be killed on the spot...
But Esther, risked her life and approached the King. Esther invited Achashverosh and Haman to a private party. Achashverosh ignored the nature of the edict and Haman did not know that Esther was Jewish,
Once at the private dinner, Esther announced to Achashverosh that somebody wanted her and her people killed. The King, taken by surprise, asked with indignation WHO was behind this evil plot. Esther, signaled Haman, risking once again her life... At that critical moment, and still unsure if he would align himself with Haman or with Esther, the King leaves for his garden and when he comes back sees Haman begging Esther for his life, but allowing himself to get too close to her…The King saw this as an act of irreverence and ordered Haman to be killed immediately.

The edict was not canceled but reversed: the Jews now could legally defend themselves with the help of the Persian Empire enforcers and could get rid of their enemies.
Beyond the story with human protagonists, our rabbis taught us, the invisible "hand" of God Almighty was moving the strings in the right direction. God’s providence and miracles were performed in the small details, which ended up with the deliverance of our people from extermination.
We celebrate the festival of Purim on the 14th of Adar, this year 5770/2010 Sunday February 28th.

Shabbat Shalom!!!