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Wednesday, March 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Purim

On a previous occasion, we have discussed that the story of Purim mirrors the story of yetzias Mitzrayim in many significant ways. However, it recently occurred to me that the very same time the story very much foreshadows the future destiny of our people, more significantly the events of the past century or so.


The period of exile between the two batei mikdash was certainly a difficult time. The destruction at the hands of Nevuchadnezzar and the subsequent subjugation in Bavel took its toll. But Haman's decree was a threat unlike any other which, if carried out, would have meant the demise of our nation. Similarly, in the period of galus we currently find ourselves, it can certainly be argued that threats we faced at the hands of Communist Russia and Nazi Germany were more grave and ominous than anything else we encountered throughout the millennia of pogroms, expulsions and persecution.


As the story progresses, we eventually find Esther, though unwanting, rising to power as the queen of the kingdom that essentially ruled the entire world. While we enjoyed our own sovereign monarchy for many centuries, the idea of a Jew sitting at the throne of a foreign power was certainly a foreign one. But desperate times called for desperate measures and this was necessary to put our salvation in motion.


The establishment of our nation state in Eretz Yisrael is certainly a hotly debated topic, even more than 70 years later. Like Esther's rise to the throne, it puts a Jewish state in a position of power which was never experienced throughout the many years of exile. But it can be (and has been) argued that this was a development born out of necessity, with millions upon millions of Jews having been defenselessly slaughtered by the nations that previously allowed us safe and tranquil refuge in their land. The "luxury" of self-determination became a tool for survival.


Just as it was Achashveirosh, the ruler of all nations, who put Esther on the throne, it was an act of an international body representing countries from all corners of the globe that made the State of Israel a reality. But in the megillah, we have Achashveirosh the man, who was very much an enemy of our people in many ways, alongside the concept of the king - hamelech. I do not know the exact source but there is a well-known idea that although HaShem's name does not appear at all in the megillah, the repetition of hamelech - which in some megillos finds itself at the top of every column - is, in truth, a metaphor for the true King who was really orchestrating all of the events from above. This was the case then and is surely the case now. In fact, it is always the case.


After finally escaping the clutches of Haman and all the death and destruction he had planned, we found ourselves on the cusp of the rebuilding of the bais hamikdash, which completed only a few short years later. We surely hope and pray that today, in our time, the rebuilding of the bais hamikdash is just around the corner, may it come speedily in our day.


Have a chag Purim samie'ach!


Eliezer Bulka

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