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Torah Attitude: Parashas Tzav - Purim, G'd's "Purim Shpiel"
We are all familiar with the open miracles that G'd made around the exodus from Egypt. "Our mere existence as a nation after close to 2000 years of exile is the greatest miracle in world history." We must understand that both when things work out for us the way we want it, and when they do not, it is G'd's hidden hand that orchestrates how things develop. The hidden hand of G'd throughout the series of events that brought the salvation of the Jewish people from the evil plans of Haman. Even before Haman's rise to power G'd orchestrated that all the characters of G'd's "Purim Shpiel" were in the same place. The Vilna Gaon points out, in his commentary on the Megillah, that this was all part of G'd's masterplan. G'd brought about that the Jewish people were saved from Haman's evil plans, and instead Haman and his compatriots had their downfall.
In last week's Torah Attitude, we discussed how our sages teach that we shall feel happy throughout the months of Adar and Nissan, due to G'd's miraculous salvations on Purim and Pesach.
We are all familiar with the open miracles that G'd made around the exodus from Egypt. Already while we were still in Egypt, G'd smote the Egyptians with ten plagues, and, although we lived door to door with our Egyptian neighbours, the plagues did not affect the Jewish households. After the exodus, we were saved at the splitting of the sea, while the entire Egyptian army drowned in the waters. Finally, G'd revealed Himself to us at Mount Sinai and presented us with the ten commandments and the entire Torah. Throughout our sojourn in the wilderness G'd provided us with Manna falling down every day from Heaven, the well of Miriam travelled with us and provided us with water, and the Clouds of Glory protected us from our enemies and from the elements.
The Ramban (Shemos 13:16) writes that when we contemplate these open, great miracles, it helps us to realize that G'd's Hand is behind all natural occurrences as well. If we only focus, we can discern G'd's involvement in our daily efforts, both on a personal level as well as on a national level. As Rabbi Yaakov Emden writes in his introduction to his commentary on the Siddur, "Our mere existence as a nation after close to 2000 years of exile is the greatest miracle in world history."
G'd orchestrates everything
And how many times do we experience that things "just happen to take place" exactly the way we need it. The truth is that we must understand that both when things work out for us the way we want it, and when they do not, it is G'd's hidden hand that orchestrates how things develop.
Hidden hand of G'd
Sometimes G'd hides and makes it look like that He is not involved. This is what it looked like at the beginning of the story of Purim. The heroine of the Purim story is Ester, who sacrificed everything and put her life on the line to save her people. Our sages explain that everything that happens is hinted to in the Torah. Asks the Talmud (Chulin 139b), where is Ester hinted to in the Torah? The Talmud answers that she is hinted to in the verse (Devarim 31:18), "And I will surely hide My face on that day, because of all the evil that was done." The Hebrew word for hiding, "Astir", is comprised of the same letters as Ester. However, if we investigate the story of Purim we can find the hidden hand of G'd throughout the series of events that brought the salvation of the Jewish people from the evil plans of Haman.
Even before Haman's rise to power G'd orchestrated that all the characters of G'd's "Purim Shpiel" were in the same place. In the beginning of the Book of Esther (1:2) it says: "In those days, when King Achashverosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital." Achashverosh was an usurper that managed to amass great wealth and married Vashti, who was of royal descent. He used his great wealth to establish his rule and quiet all political unrest among the 127 nations that he ruled over. He was obsessed with the Jewish people in particular and decided that he wanted to use King Solomon's magnificent throne. When this did not work out, he wanted to commission artisans to make an exact replica of King Solomon's throne. The only place this could be done was in Shushan. A group of very skilled artisans worked for three years and built a masterpiece of a throne similar to the throne of King Solomon. When they finished their job, King Achashverosh had planned to bring the throne to Babylon, where all his predecessors had reigned. To his dismay, it turned out that it was impossible to move the huge throne. Achashverosh had no choice but to move his royal court to Shushan.
The Vilna Gaon points out, in his commentary on the Megillah, that this was all parts of G'd's masterplan. Since Mordechai and Esther lived in Shushan, G'd orchestrated that Achashverosh moved there in order to bring everything together. Since Mordechai was in Shushan, he heard how Bigsan and Seresh schemed to assassinate Achashverosh. Later, when it was decreed that everyone had to bow down to Haman, Mordechai defied the royal decree and antagonized the arrogant Haman. All of these events could not have happened had Achashverosh stayed in Babylon.
This is but one little example how our sages open our eyes to the hidden hand of G'd behind the scenes. G'd organized that every member of the cast was in the right place at the right time for G'd's "Purim Shpiel" to unfold.
When we internalize this, it gives us confidence that also in our days G'd's hidden involvement takes care of all of us in the best possible way. And just like G'd brought about that the Jewish people were saved from Haman's evil plans, and instead Haman and his compatriots had their downfall, so will we one day see how G'd will bring about our salvation and the downfall of our modern-day Hamans and their cohorts, with the coming of Mashiach. Amen.
These words were based on notes of Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto.
Shalom. Michael Deverett
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