Our Purim vort is being sponsored by Ari and Aliza Rosenstein and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh. To the Rosenstein family, many thanks for your sponsorship and continued kindnesses.
As in previous years, this Purim vort is written a number of weeks before Purim.
In previous Purim vorts, this author has expressed that we, the nation of the Jews cannot put our trust, faith in man, our sovereignty and survival in the hands of nations, as has been proven, time after time, in Tanach and throughout our history. Our emunah must be ONLY in Hashem.
That having been written, we note, albeit post facto, how Hashem manages events through history to the benefit of B’nei Yisrael.
And so, insights regarding Purim are given from among the “127 Insights into Megillat Esther” (compiled from the words of Chazal by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach of Jerusalem), from the sefer, “Let My People Live”, by Yosef Deutsch, The Artscroll Tanach Series: The Megillah, The Book of Esther and The Artscroll Gemara Tractate Megillah which provide a portrait of Hashem handling events to save the Jews and which result in the re-acceptance of Torah.
Esther is already positioned as Queen for nine years when Mordechai gets word of Haman’s plot to eradicate the Jews.
Esther became queen after king Achashveirosh of Persia, in a drunken stupor during the celebration of what he thought was the end of the seventy years and without redemption of the Jews, accepted and carried out the advice of the most crude and nobility-lacking of his counselors, Memuchan — later known as Haman — who called for queen Vashti’s execution after she defied the king by not appearing before him.
Mordechai gets word of Haman’s plot to eradicate the Jews. Mordechai summons Esther to entreat the king, in his court, regarding the threat to the Jews.
It’s not the first time that Mordechai summoned Esther to use the power of her throne in defense of her people.
There was the assassination plot of two of the king’s servants, Bigsan and Seresh, both of whom hailed from Tarshish (“Let My People Live”, by Yosef Deutsch, page 142 citing R’ Shmuel di Uzidah, sefer Melo HaOmer). The two spoke openly about their plot in their native tongue Tarsi (The Artscroll Tanach Series: The Megillah, The Book of Esther, Chapter 2, notes to posuk 22, page 63 citing gemura Megillat 13b), a seemingly obscure, insignificant foreign tongue. Seated about 20 paces away from where Bigsan and Seresh hatched their plot and unbeknownst to them, Mordechai overheard their assassination plot. Mordechai, a former member of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish High Court) had to be fluent in all 70 of the world’s languages, which included Tarsi, to sit in as a member of that body. The story goes that Mordechai got word to Esther who informed the King, giving full credit for disclosure of the plot to Mordechai (despite Mordechai’s wish that his name not be mentioned), taking no credit for herself. (“Let My People Live”, by Yosef Deutsch, page 147)
Despite Esther’s hesitation in entreating the King, in his court, regarding the threat to the Jews, the dye resulting from Esther’s humbly informing the King, in Mordechai’s name, of the “poison plot” had been cast. Rabbi Weinbach (“127 Insights into Megillat Esther”, page 88) writes:
Mordechai’s decision to report his discovery to Esther rather than directly to the king can… be understood as a means of laying the groundwork for Esther’s redemptive action.
But, in the case of Haman’s plot and decree against the Jews, Esther is nervous.
A bit of background here: according to laws enacted during the reign of Dar’yovesh (Darius) in the aftermath of Balshazzar’s assassination, and updated, with additional provisions and strictly enforced by Haman, she can’t just enter the king’s court without first having been summoned. Such a violation would be seen as “a major breach in security.” (citing Let My People Live”, by Yosef Deutsch, page 222 citing Aggadas Esther; Menos HaLevi; Akeidah). In fact, Deutsch indicates (page 222 of “Let My People Live”) that Haman would screen all visitors to the king lest anyone reveal that he (Haman) “once sold himself to Mordechai” or lest anyone speak up for the Jews or advocate for rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash.
Esther’s nervousness and hesitation regarding Haman’s decree against the Jews seemed to this author to be puzzling in light of her apparent ease of access in informing Achashveirosh of the assassination plot (the “poison plot”)? Wouldn’t the Queen, as royalty, be exempted from laws denying access to the King?
The key seems to be that the “poison plot” occurred early in Esther’s reign as Queen, just prior to Haman’s rise to power as Viceroy and his resultant strict enforcement of laws regarding access to the King. Either the Queen may have previously been exempted from laws regarding access to the King, or the enforcement of the law initiated under Dar’yovesh may have been lax or non-existent or the King and his new Queen regularly spent evenings together providing Esther with the timely access necessary to expose the plot.
But it would seem that after the “poison plot”, with Haman’s almost immediate rise to power, things changed radically in the palace, including in access to the monarch. And on top of that, it seemed that Esther’s access to the King became more and more infrequent in the time-frame of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews.
Deutsch (ibid, “Let My People Live”) indicates that Esther queried:
“Do you think that he will let me set up an appointment? He hates me! Whenever he sees me, he remembers that if it hadn’t been for me, he might have had his daughter sitting on the throne.” (citing “Let My People Live”, by Yosef Deutsch, page 222 citing Targum; Rokeach; Targum Rishon; Menos HaLevi)
Esther fears being put to death, not out of fear for her own life, but out of fear of being put to death, and thus being unable to act to save her people.
Megillat Esther (Perek 4, posukim 5 – 16) tells of the dialogue of messages transmitted between Mordechai and Esther and of Esther’s hesitation to approach King Achashveirosh, unsummoned (a crime of protocol punishable by death) on behalf of her people.
The Artscroll Tanach Series: The Megillah, The Book of Esther explains (notes to Perek 4, posuk 11, page 78) that, in expressing her concerns and hesitation, Esther tells Mordechai:
“It’s already been thirty days, that I was not summoned by the King….”
In the climactic 13th and 14th posukim, Mordechai responds to Esther’s message:
“Do not imagine that you will be able to escape in the King’s palace any more than the rest of the Jews. For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place… And who knows whether it was just for such a time as this that you attained the royal position.”
We’ve viewed through history Hashem handling events to save the Jews, including the Parah Adumah (the red cow) created to rectify the incident of the “golden calf,” played out countless times, including during Israel’s nearly 71 years of modern sovereignty. We’ve viewed the events of the Six Day War, of Entebbe, of the bombing of the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors, as well Hamas rockets aimed at populous targets misdirected into the sea or onto uninhabited areas, terrorists emerging through tunnels only to be spotted by cameras in reaped areas and eradicated and countless foiled terror attempts.
As such, we must do as a proud, sovereign Jewish nation must do for our collective security and well-being, and believe and trust that Hashem Sees and Acts for His nation. Isn’t that the lesson learned both from Chanukah and Purim?
In a piece on the Israel National News site two years ago, it was reported that Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brother-in-law, said the following of Netanyahu’s meetings with President Trump:
” Bibi, this is the moment for which you became Prime Minister. Until now, you worked on holding off the tide. Now is the moment of truth – make a break for it and normalize the lives of half a million Jews in Judea and Samaria.
“….This is a basic demand, and if, G-d forbid, you fail this test, then as Mordechai said to Queen Esther, ‘Salvation will come to the Jews from a different place.'”
But in our time, while we can observe the Yad Hashem (the Hand of Hashem) in history for the benefit of Am Yisrael, who among us has the wisdom to know if, or whether or not this or that individual, even from among Observant American Jews, are the ones Divinely positioned to play a central role in assuring the wellbeing of Israel?
We, and our leaders, our governance must do as a proud, sovereign, principled Jewish nation must do for our collective security and well-being, and as a paradigm for all of the Ways of Hashem, while believing and trusting that Hashem Sees and Acts for His nation.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the twice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of four plus years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.