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A Purim Thought:
He saw him coming. Everyone else knelt to prostrate himself, but Mordechai sat upright. As Haman approached, his eyes met Mordechai’s. They didn’t see anger or rebellion, but rather the calm, resolute gaze of someone who knows what he stands for and chooses whom he stands with. At that moment, Haman decided that he would try to rid the kingdom of Mordechai and his people.
A little lesson in history: Haman was the Persian viceroy, the most powerful man in the empire that ruled the world. Mordechai was the leader of the Jewish people; he “sat at the King’s gate,” serving as one of the royal counselors. Haman had the king agree that all the people in the empire should worship him. Mordechai refused to comply.
Now why didn’t Mordechai bow down to Haman? Mordechai was a realistic person. He could have foreseen the consequences of his refusal. Why was he willing to risk everything -
For Mordechai, it wasn’t a question. Mordechai didn’t separate his faith from his life, or his principles from his day-
Abstract idealism? An impractical approach? Well, let’s see what happened. Haman was killed, Mordechai was given his position, and instead of the Jews being slain by their enemies, they annihilated all those who rose against them. Not bad for idealism. Because this was not just idealism, it was an awareness of the reality of our existence. It’s G-
One further point: When Mordechai and the Jewish people affirmed of their Jewish identity and faith in G-
The two aren’t contradictory. Since one Judaism and one’s connection to G-
Getting Shmattes All the Time
There is an old vaudeville bit in which the comic turns to the straight man and says "I invented smart juice!" "Smart juice?" says the straight man. "You can't get smart just from drinking something." "Oh, no? Try this!" So he takes a sip, makes a face, and spits it out. "That's vinegar!"
"You're getting smarter!"
If there ever were a time when we need to get smart, it's now. On top of all our other problems -
Here, in Tetzaveh this week, we discover the answer: "…make holy garments…for splendor and for beauty…a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a tunic of chequer work, a mitre, and a girdle…"
What? We're in a crisis that affects every aspect of life, and you're giving us tips from Ralph Lauren? Wall Street got us into this, and the Garment District is going to get us out? Let's get real!
Here's real: whatever our problems, do they compare to the situation our ancestors faced? Newly out of bondage in Egypt, with little more than the clothes on their backs, they are on a seemingly endless journey to the Promised Land -
But in the midst of all this, they are instructed to make fancy shmattes for Aaron and the other priests. Why? Because we're human. We need something to look at that excites our souls and reminds us of the blessings we have and the glory we're capable of. The robes -
Points To Ponder
When you get up in the morning, let the world wait. Defy it a little. First learn something to inspire you. Take a few moments to meditate upon it. And then you may plunge ahead into the darkness, full of light with which to illuminate it.