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Three Lessons to Learn from the Purim Story
Purim arrives Monday evening.
Three lessons pertinent to today are contained within the Purim story as recounted in the biblical book of Esther.
The first is that a totalitarian regime (e.g., progressivism) will not be satisfied until every last one of us submits. Haman was the most powerful man in ancient Persia other than the king. Mordecai was the only person who refused to bow to him, yet “Haman became full of wrath” because of a single individual’s recalcitrance. Learning that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman issued a decree that all Jews in the kingdom should die. Yes, I know, how ironic that modern Persia regards Israel as Haman regarded the Jews of his time.
The second is that each of us can make a difference. When Haman’s decree was publicized, the entire Jewish nation began to fast. But then Mordecai came to Esther, the Jewish queen who was not yet fasting, and told her that she had the opportunity to save her people. After dutifully fasting, she approached the king and requested that a banquet be held the following day with Haman present. During the banquet, she informed the king of Haman’s plan to kill the Jews, whereupon Haman was hung on the very same gallows he had set up for the execution of Mordecai.
The third lesson is that everything can instantly flip. We have a tendency to assume that a bleak reality can only get bleaker. We forget that the Soviet Union collapsed, Trump was elected president, and Israel and the Arab nations made peace. Virtually no one thought such scenarios were possible. The book of Esther is unique in that God is never mentioned. Yet he is the Director behind the scenes and certain commentators assert that the king of Persia — whom Esther approaches after her fast — is a personification of God. In our day as well, we may think that God is remote, yet He is always there, pulling every string.Published in General
I appreciated the lesson. I’m ashamed that I didn’t know that story (12 years of Catholic education and either they didn’t teach it or I wasn’t paying attention).
I’ve been enjoying Dennis Prager’s Bible commentaries a great deal. Exposed to perspectives and explanations that I don’t recall ever learning. It’s been a very positive journey.
I like the way you related the story to our everyday lives and our current difficulties. Nicely done!
This seems like an attempt to apply Biblical lessons to the completely different circumstances of modern times.
Ancient Persia was “totalitarian”? I think not. I think that you don’t have much of an idea of what totalitarianism truly is, if you think this. Though it turns out that most people just use “totalitarian” to mean “bad.”
Ancient Israel was quite an absolutist monarchy, too. First, there was the rule of God Himself, which allowed no compromise. Do you recall what happened when the people were disobedient? Do you remember what happened to:
There are others, in the times of Joshua and the Judges.
Many others, too, during the period of the Kings. Ahab and his wife Jezebel? The priests of Baal? (Elijah put them to the sword.)
So didn’t God demand that everyone submit to Him? As did Moses, and Joshua, and the kings of Israel and Judah. Didn’t they?
The problem is not authority and submission. Submission to God, and to authorities generally doing what is right, is taught in Scripture, both the Old Testament and the New. Submission to evil rulers, and even worse to idols, is condemned.
I suggest that the Leftist and libertarian rejection of all authority is such an idol.
A religion whose lessons couldn’t be applied to current circumstances would indeed be a very strange thing.
G-d bless Joshua. Enjoy the festivities. I noticed some of the kids around me (I live in an Orthodox Jewish/Hasidic neighborhood) dress for the holiday.
G-d bless you too Manny.