Monday 25 March 2024

Purim , תשפ"ד


 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.

This Purim, while reading this verse in the Megillah (Esther 6:13) I had a realization. The situation, at least to me, seems strange. “If Mordecai” be the seeds of the Jews”, appears out of place. All through the Megillah Mordecai is described as a Jew. When Haman first encounters Mordecai after being elevated to his high posting, Haman is told almost immediately that Mordecai is a Jew. Haman, his memory be cursed, far from being content to inflict his wrath on Mordecai only, seeks to wipe out all the Jews.

And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. (Esther 3:8).

So perhaps Ahasuerus could be uncertain who Haman wished to annihilate (although, some say he also knew), but Haman could have little doubt that Mordecai was a Jew. So how can we settle the dissonance here?

My realization is that while Haman knew that Mordecai was a Jew, he was totally clueless about what type of Jew he had gone against. Not the Jew who was trying to assimilate and fit in wherever he was in the Diaspora and not the Jew who refused to keep the King of Kings’ laws and instead abide by the laws of a mortal in the costume of a king. Mordecai was not a Jew of “trembling knees” but a leader and a rock firmly embedded in the heritage of his forefathers. Against a Jew of Mordecai's caliber protected by divine providence, Haman had no chance to succeed.

Throughout history, there have always been those Jews who were willing to “go with the flow”, adapt, and “get along”. And while adaptation, accommodation, and conformity have their place, they can not substitute for immutable values. There can be no surrender to evil and no mediocrity in virtue. For every Charle Schumer willing to compromise Jewish lives and values to find favor with a Joe Biden, there needs to be a Benyamin Netanyahu willing to stand up and oppose, regardless of the personal price, those who would impose conditions that would endanger the State of Israel, or otherwise put our collective future, as Jews, in danger.

I admit that Netanyahu is not perfect. Far from it. Yet just as the weight and the size of the rock does not guarantee that the waves and currents will not move it, but rather whether the rock, even if smaller and lighter, is secured in place in the bedrock to become immovable. A soft rock will become eroded, a large boulder will roll to the sea, or be tossed to the shore. A person embedded in the history of his People and immersed in the welfare of other Jews, just won’t budge.

Let us pray that Netanyahu stands firm and that the L-rd gives him strength to withstand Biden's pressure. This Purim, Netanyahu, like Mordecai from so many Purims before us, should find strength from our faith in G-d, Tzur Yisrael.

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