While Purim is not a Pilgrimage Feast, Torah mandated Feast of the Lord or biblically commanded (by God) observance…it is indeed Biblical. The following passage from the book of Esther made vibrant for me the purpose behind the observance-which is a remembrance and sanctification of this special time. When you read the passage as if it were speaking to YOU one might consider, if I am bound up with Israel and the destiny of the Jewish people then YES! I consider myself allied with them, therefore I will not fail to celebrate with them. Every family, and every city…that includes my family in our place.
Esther 10; 26 Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and made a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. 28 So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants.
Purim fell out in an “inconvenient” time for our family this year. The busiest day of the week, baking day. That morning commenced the fast of Esther which would be most opportune being that there would be ‘tempting’ dishes being prepared the entire day. Spoons needing licking, broken cookies that ‘accidentally’ cracked while being removed from the pan, shards of cheese needing tasting. But ‘alas’ those needs would have to wait. My children and I discussed the night previous the significance of this fast. Why do we fast? We fast because Esther fasted. Why did Esther fast? Because the Jewish people were to be annihilated. What does fasting accomplish? We learn to remember what is really important, we can call out from a more humble place to Hashem.
When we do these things we can actualize our connection to those who came before us, to their plight and to their deliverance. It’s not enough just to dress up and party, that’s the celebration of deliverance…just as important is to remember the fear and danger, where it was coming from, why it came about and how our forbears dealt with it. In this case…it was with fasting and prayer. Now the people of the provinces of King Achashv’rosh who had received word of the extermination, the proclamation which enlisted and equipped all the civilian population to administer their destruction, were already lamenting and fasting. The fast that Esther calls for is on her behalf. She knows the power of repentance, especially when it is a people with one accord, one heart.
Esther 2; 1 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly. 2 He went as far as the king’s gate, for no one was to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. 3 In each and every province where the command and decree of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing; and many lay on sackcloth and ashes….
…2; 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
Even though I was busy I kept the plight and yet certain deliverance at heart and in mind all week. One way I connect with the recurring themes of anti-Semitism throughout history is to remember the Holocaust. This week’s “line-up” included a slew of documentaries I had not yet encountered. Each stunning, and heartbreaking… I can never escape the notion- how could this have happened? How could the world have allowed this to happen? And so it was the continual parallels between the straits of the Jewish people at the time of Esther and at during WWII continued to stare me in the face. How could SS and German soldiers commit such terrible crimes and then go home to enjoy Christmas with their families? Holiday carols becoming dirges in the camp where one officer, furious he did not get leave and instead had to ‘mind these Jews’, went on a shooting rampage. How could human beings sign on the dotted line at the bottom of a document which would expedite carnage for millions of souls and then go recline at white table-cloth, pulling on fine tobacco and sipping sweet wine?
Esther 3; 15 The couriers went out impelled by the king’s command while the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa; and while the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in confusion….
…5;14 Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
In the grocery store I pick up a bundle of discounted multicolored roses. I thought of Esther and her beauty. Like Yosef, handsome of form and handsome of appearance… kidnapped and taken to a pagan palace and being manipulated into a situation where he would have to commit a sexual sin with a dominant authority (only, unlike Esther, he was able to make a choice and flee). Joseph (like Esther) Rising to a position of prominence, marrying a foreigner, hiding his true identity. Being challenged with the opportunity to betray (or forget) his brothers or to come to their assistance…the very chance his God-made circumstances facilitated.
Esther 2; 7… Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face… 10 Esther did not make known her people or her kindred, for Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make them known….
B’reshit 39; Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9“There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
As I breathed in the sweet scent and pondered the stunning contrast of color in these roses: yellow, white and pink…I thought of the variety of Jewish women stolen from their homes and families for a fate to be violated by a king who knew no boundaries. Women being plunged into this “beauty treatment” which was much more than it seemed. The king observing them like a science experiment. The months spent in preparation weren’t for their own beautification or opportunity to dissociate with their former lives so much as they were to be for the sake of investigation. Did they have any diseases that might manifest during that time? Were their menstrual cycles normal and predictable (so as to time it out to avoid pregnancies which would ‘destroy’ their young shapely bodies and make them unappealing to the king)?
Esther 2; 12 Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women— 13 the young lady would go in to the king in this way: anything that she desired was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.
I thought of how many years past we would watch the despoiled versions of this account, “One Night With the King” or other constructions like it. We would take the opportunity to tell the children the truth about this “beauty pageant” the king called for. Pointing out all the errors in the retelling: “She was Mordechai’s cousin, not his niece.” “The King was not a beau, he was a kidnapping anti-Semite.” This year I felt absolutely no desire to continue the silver screen illusion even if it were being used as a tool to clarify the truth. That’s what part of reading the Megillah itself is for. I don’t desire for my daughter’s to entertain the delusion that this was some romance or sought after prize which Hadassah was blessed to receive. Truly it was destined and opportune, but around every corner was the chance to glean more understanding about what was really going on.
Esther 2; 5 Now there was at the citadel in Susa a Jew whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, 6 who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been exiled with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had exiled. 7 He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter….
… 29 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim.
So as I hastily finished the responsibilities I could accomplish in the short time I had before we would sit together and break our fast. I set out a table with Purim music playing. The young children had only requested sustenance a few times that day. As it is with a race… when the runner gets into the “winner zone”, as the sun set behind the mountains, they helped clean up and seemed to forget the pangs of hunger. The colorful fragrant roses were placed near a candle we would sing the Shehecheyanu around, dinner was warm in the oven and everything stopped. One by one we express what we “learned from our fast”. Each child elevated their responses beyond my expectations. Especially my son Malachi. This child has struggled to find meaning and purpose in anything aside from playing wild and extensive battleground games against invisible enemy combatants. He has the unparalleled skill of transforming even a scrap of rubbish or bent hairpin into a firearm, but little passion for personal accomplishment or the pleasure of his parents or peers. Tonight he cited point after relevant point that he gleaned from listening to Esther on audio. His explanation of the significance of diminishing ourselves for the sake of the fast in order to reach out to Hashem in times of hardship blessed my soul. Uncoached I was overwhelmed by his insight. The rest of this entry will be my turn to share with you.
Esther אסתר- is related to the Hebrew word- Hester הסתר which means “Hiddenness”
Although captured and forced against her will into life inside a Pagan Idolatrous palace…she remained set apart for Hashem in a hidden way that was to be revealed at an opportune time. Our missions may change as the seasons of life change…sometimes being more evident and relatable than at other times…regardless of our surroundings we can live for God and keep our hearts Holy to Hashem.
#5641 (v) satar סָתַר – hidden things, secrets, to hide oneself, to cover over, to veil one’s face, to conceal, guard or defend.
(note: strongs concordance is a list of possible definitions. One has to look at the context to determine the appropriate application.)
B’reshit (Genesis) 4:11 “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! 14 “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”15 So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. (First occurrence of satar-hidden, in the bible)
- When looking at the book of Esther, especially when coming to the end where we find the Jewish people killing those who would have sought their obliteration, we should keep in mind the commandment regarding murder (so many translate as thou shalt not kill…when the Hebrew word is not kill but MURDER). Furthermore, note that the edict which allowed the slaughter of the Jewish men women and children also encouraged the plunder of their property (another parallel to the Holocaust atrocities when unknown family treasures and valuables were stolen alongside the murder of their former owners) was NOT adopted by the Jewish people who defended themselves. Here we find the people of Hashem setting themselves apart intentionally (though the edict allowed for plunder), as this was not a desired rampage they engage in…they did not partake of the plunder– the point was never to ‘gain’ in these circumstances. (Note, the civilians of the king’s provinces were to be ready and prepared to take part in these actions. Another tie to the Holocaust, where many German civilians took part in bloodshed, betraying neighbors, surrendering friends, and even after the war Polish civilians alongside policemen and soldiers continued the murders of the Jewish people.)
Haman’s Edict (heartily compliant, and altogether condoned by King Achashv’rosh):
Esther 3;13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder. 14 A copy of the edict to be issued as law in every province was published to all the peoples so that they should be ready for this day.
Esther & Mordechai’s Edict which would allow the Jewish people to defend themselves:
Esther 8; 11 In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar). 13 A copy of the edict to be issued as law in each and every province was published to all the peoples, so that the Jews would be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 The couriers, hastened and impelled by the king’s command, went out, riding on the royal steeds; and the decree was given out at the citadel in Susa.
What the people chose to do (or not do):
Esther 9; 6 At the citadel in Susa the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men, 7 and Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews’ enemy; but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
…15 The Jews who were in Susa assembled also on the fourteenth day of the month Adar and killed three hundred men in Susa, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
Commandment which came prior to Matan Torah (the gifting of the Torah) at Sinai, God expected man to abide in this Torah (teaching) before it became ‘set in stone’ at Sinai:
B’reshit (Genesis) 9;5 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God
He made man.
Sh’mot (Exodus) 20;13 “You shall not murder.
# 7523 (v) ratsach רָצַח – to kill, to dash in pieces,
the act of homicide.
Sh’mot (Exodus) 3:6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid סָתַר his face, for he was afraid to look at God. 7 The LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. 8 “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land…
- Here we find the usual response to an encounter with the divine. In some belief systems it is taught among certain circles that one can look forward to a direct, hands and head held high, sort of greeting when we ‘meet our maker’. Hugs for daddy and the like. Scripture seems to express that an encounter with the Presence of God more likely will cause the servant to become prostrate, falling down, hiding one’s face… in awe of the audience with the Creator of Heaven and earth. This is what Moshe does when he meets Hashem at Sinai. This is the place where Hashem expresses His official marriage proposal to him to deliver to the Jewish people.
- The entire purpose for the liberation from slavery, and redemption from Egypt was for the nation to become one. As one they were to be “wed” to Hashem at Sinai, ‘signing’ the Ketubah (marraige contract), the Torah and ALL it’s commandments by uttering the words “I do!” “Na’aseh v’nishma” “We will do and we will listen to all that God has declared” Sh’mot ( Exodus) 24:7. From there the whole point was to come into the Land their Groom had acquired for them and to build the House where they could Live together. From that House the light of their love and the masterful functioning, the steady and polished method of their daily living with one another…would shine forth as a brilliant example to everyone who would see them or hear about them. This is of course an allusion to the return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), the construction of the Holy Temple, and the performance of the Torah with love and attention from there (the place where God’s indwelling Presence would by Physically evident).
“The Miracle of Purim took place during what was surely the darkest period in Jewish history up to that time. The First Temple had been destroyed and the Land of Israel had been virtually denuded of its Jews. Permission had been granted to being the building of the Second Temple- but then the work was halted by King Ahashv’rosh of Persia. And while it was still proceeding, only a very small number of Jews, barely 40,000 had the courage to return to Eretz Yisrael.” – Stone Edition Chumash commentary on Esther
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 29:29 “The secret things סָתַר belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this Torah.
The work of Hashem is constant in the Esther account, although his actual name, and the mention of Him is found nowhere in the entire sefer (book). We learn about God through the work that He does in the lives of His people and the circumstances surrounding them. So too it is with the nature of the Law, the Torah (which is best translated as teaching or instruction). Through learning and applying each commandment we learn more about the nature, ‘desire’ and design of the Lawgiver. There is a ‘hidden’ fulfilment (a word which doesn’t mean ‘end’ or ‘finishing’ but is better translated as ‘made replete with meaning’, furnished with significance, verify.) that He has at heart in each but we are not necessarily meant to grasp that aspect of the Torah. No, we are given God’s teaching in order to keep it. This word in the Hebrew is Shamar. It can mean to guard, or safeguard. We accomplish this by learning every day that we are alive and finding the beauty in attending to the things of God. These instructions for a Holy and set apart people. These teachings which are accessible and as God says, employable and achievable for ALL generations. They are by no means hidden.
Esther 3; 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain. 9“If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” 10 Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”
Those who believe in Hashem but look “into” events and observances such as Chanukkah or Purim and think : “How wonderful. They were preserved and delivered from the persecution and disaster that could have come about for them!”… may not be truly consuming the core aspects of these events in history. The most overt being that it was because of who they were : “Jews”. What makes them who they are? It is that which they weren’t willing to surrender or relinquish (the Torah of Hashem) under incredible pressure in ‘climates’ and ‘habitations’ most un-conducive for holiness. Their identity becomes integral with their guarding (observing) and fulfilling of Hashem’s Torah no matter what. When trouble arises for the Jewish people it is often because that One-ness designated at Sinai- the constitution for a Holy nation, becomes violated from within. When the Jewish people assimilate or succumb to the dilution of their destinies that exile produces… the enemies from without bare their teeth. The bottom line is that all enemies of God cannot stand His people keeping His Torah. One wonders why much of Christianity has abolished the Torah and frequently ‘looks down’ on the growing number of believers in Yeshua who are coming to love and trust in the entire bible as unchanging, applying the Torah laws in their lives.
Esther 3; 2 All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage. 3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” 4 Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.
Haman see’s Mordecai neither bowing down OR paying homage. Mordechai’s reason is simple. “Because I am a Jew- this is what Jews won’t do!” So instead of just his demise Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, any who “won’t do!” Haman knows the history. Haman knows that his descendants were the only in all of the words of Mordechai’s God, whom the Jew’s were told never to forget to forget forever. Haman’s descendants (Haman <—Agag <—- Amalek) were the only people in the whole Torah that Hashem, even then, said He would maintain a grievance against forever and for all time. As severe as this commandment may have been at the time of Moshe, looking from the perspective of the time of Mordechai the Jew we now have a better understanding.
Sh’mot (Exodus) 17;14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 25;16 “For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the LORD your God. 17“ Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, 18 how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. 19“Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.
Haman thought that he had been given the chance to derail this prophecy and promise. He saw the opportunity and took complete advantage of it. It was his total greed and narcissism which made him the perfect candidate to have Hashem’s glory be seen. What He has promised will not be found as vain. All He has said will be accomplished.
“He is the place of the world, but the world is not His place”
(Pesikta Rabati 21),
Space exists as a created entity within G‑d. G‑d is not circumscribed by (i.e., exist entirely within) the parameters of space. – Chabad.org
הַמָּקוֹם – The Place
#4725 (masc. n) makohm מָקוֹם– abode, habitation, where, the place of anyone.
B’reshit (Genesis) 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place מָקוֹם of which God had told him.
B’reshit (Genesis) 22:4 On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place מָקוֹם from a distance.
B’reshit (Genesis) 22:9 Then they came to the place מָקוֹם of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
B’reshit (Genesis) 22:14 Abraham called the name of that place מָקוֹם, The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
- The Jewish people were in exile and had been for about seventy years. The Babylonian empire becomes absorbed into the Persian empire and despite the decree of Cyrus, allowing the return of the people and permission to rebuild the Holy Temple only about 5% of the people take advantage of this opportunity.
- In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, upon the conclusion of the Lord’s prophecy, by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord aroused the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, and he issued a proclamation throughout his kingdom – and in writing as well, saying, “Thus said Cyrus the King of Persia, ‘All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord, God of heaven, given to me and He has commanded me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of His entire people – may his God be with him – and let him go to Jerusalem which is in Judah and build the Temple of the Lord…” (Ezra 1:3)
- It is taught that the celebration King Achashv’rosh was having at the beginning of the book of Esther was a merrymaking in the name of : The Jews will not be rebuilding the Temple- The Place. The fact that the Jewish inhabitants of his provinces took part in this festivity was the ‘final straw’ and Hashem had to act in order to get their attention. To cause a desire for repentance, and to put things back in perspective. The Mission always was to be in the Land of Egypt and to fulfill the Torah there. A HUGE part of the Torah is the “obsessive” detail in regard to the Temple service. The Mission cannot be accomplished unless The Place is regarded and attended to by the Jewish people- where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to be doing. This is The Place where Avraham and Yitsach made the way for God’s mercy and faithfulness to be called to remembrance by showing that nothing was more important to them than obeying Hashem’s command and doing so with love even if the hidden reasons weren’t clear to them.
B’reshit (Genesis) 28:11 He came to a certain place מָקוֹם and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place מָקוֹם and put it under his head, and lay down in that place מָקוֹם.
B’reshit (Genesis) 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place מָקוֹם, and I did not know it.”
B’reshit (Genesis) 28:17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place מָקוֹם! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
B’reshit (Genesis) 28:19 He called the name of that place מָקוֹם Bethel (בֵּית אֵל beit El- House of God); however, previously the name of the city had been Luz.
- The texts seem clear that The Place refers to the site of the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem, in the Land of Israel. The Place is not just a location but rather the indication of where Heaven and Earth connect. The Place is the origin of closeness and life’s meaning because it is The Place where God’s Indwelling Presence dwelt in a “physical” way on the earth. The denial of the importance of this place is in effect a denial of the importance of restoring that closeness, or at the very least the desire within God’s people for that closeness to be restored.
Sh’mot (Exodus) 16:29 “See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place מָקוֹם on the seventh day.”
- The Place is not just a Sanctuary in space, it is also a Sanctuary in time. We find this example within the Sabbath command. Being close to Hashem on a day that He called Holy as a Testimony to His word being viable, truthful, and eternal. Everyone to stay in his place can mean a number of things, one of which could be- to stay IN Him. Putting all other distractions aside and making that connection the foremost priority of the appointed time.
Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent חָרַשׁ (charash ) at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place מָקוֹם and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
- We spoke about the hidden nature of God’s work in the events recorded by the book of Esther. I believe this statement of Mordechai to Esther was meant to be a reminder and indication to her (and to us) of several things. Mordechai’s faith in Hashem and the trust that the people of Hashem would find deliverance from Him, the Place would be established and once more His people would be enabled to fulfill their mission, there would be no extermination. Deliverance would come from The Place, from God! Yet, Esther has (as each of us have) the choice to be a forever remembered piece in this puzzle or to be forgotten for her inaction.
#2790 (v) charash חָרַשׁ – to cut into, to be dumb, to plow, to keep silent, to keep still.
Exo 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent חָרַשׁ.” (Charash)
1Sa 7:8 Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry חָרַשׁ (Charash) to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
- Mordechai may be using other language to call to mind another time when Moshe was instructed His people to remain silent. The entire Egyptian army (like the forces of evil up against them once more in all the provinces of their earthly king) was closing in on them and they were afraid. They called out to God and He told them at that time to walk into a sea. The impossible. To keep moving forward and be silent for He would tear apart any obstacle in their path. In this case Mordechai may be indicating to Esther…this time you have to act, you cannot remain silent. God is with us and will yet move ‘walls of water’ for us but we all have to act. In the text of Samuel the people are relying upon this Man of God to continue to entreat Hashem for their security and deliverance. There is a person in a special position who ‘has the ear’ of the King of Kings, it is now Esther’s turn to use her position appointed and ordained by the same One in order to make her cry heard.
Esther 7:3 Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; 4 for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent חָרַשׁ (Charash), for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king.”
From the start we realize that this book is not an enthralling story to entertain us while we celebrate. This book speaks to each of us today. In some way, individualized as each of us are willing to “hear” the words from Hashem, this is our story.
King Achashv’rosh, like the world, instructed “do what makes you feel good, do what you desire!”
Esther 1;… king had given orders to each official of his household that he should do according to the desires of each person.
Esther is stolen from her path and forced into defilement and separation. Everything around her, like the world we live in, screamed idolatry. She didn’t become desensitized, when the time came, even though there was hesitation and fear, she spoke up and claimed her identity which was making claim to her faith and her God. This too we must accomplish with our lives in this deteriorating world in which we live.
When we understand that the trappings of this world can be painted over and made sparkly, much like the appearance and false retelling of this account, we won’t be fooled. Show business, prestige, politics, power… seems so appealing on the outside but has led to the most vile of sins: child molestation, sexual depravity of all kind, addiction, suicide, murder, conspiracy, treason. What is really going on: This was not a beauty contest. Esther was kidnapped as were the other women. While the others dressed and perfumed themselves she asked for nothing for she wanted nothing to do with it. “It” being the fact that the king would take each one of these women and sleep with them, then they would either become a part of the harem or become queen. In which case he as using them as he pleased the only difference being what they wore and where they slept.
Esther 2;15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised.
This helps us to relate to her fear of “coming to the king without being summoned”. Mordechai, in asking her to come to the king, is asking her to use her to seduce him. To use that position in order to help her people. One understands her apprehension. It was not just fear of death, it was a disgust with the whole situation. We then are placed in a position to better understand the sacrifice of this woman and her heroism to a new degree. It is also taught that a son born to Esther, Darius II succeeds Achashverosh as King of Persia. It is he who allows the Jews to finish the job they had started under Cyrus. If this is true we can further see the providence and plan of Hashem in its magnifience coming to fruition, we can better see what was really going on.
May you be blessed and protected in every place at every time. May there be ignited a sense of desire to pursue the truth of Hashem that is revealed and not hidden. May you be confident that although it seems Hashem’s hand in your life may be hidden it is always at work. May we each be endowed with wisdom and bravery when making our choices and be willing to act, be willing to intervene, be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of our families and communities. May we believe in The Place being as significant now as it was in those days at this time. May we always be looking toward and devoted to the services of Hashem in that Place. Until it is rebuilt and immersed with His Presence once more, something that can only occur when “every eye” has seen him. May we each look forward to a day when all fasting and mourning will be turned to gladness. So may it been soon in our days!
Revelation 1;7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him — even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.
Isaiah 61;3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. 4Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.
Esther 9;18 But the Jews who were in Susa assembled on the thirteenth and the fourteenth of the same month, and they rested on the fifteenth day and made it a day of feasting and rejoicing.19 Therefore the Jews of the rural areas, who live in the rural towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a holiday for rejoicing and feasting and sending portions of food to one another.20 Then Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, 22 because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
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