25- They Tried to Kill Us, We Won, Lets Eat! (Purim)
Continuing our discussion on the Jewish Holidays, Rabbi Lehrfield focuses on Purim.
Hey everybody, I'm Menachem Lehrfield and this is 0%. We've been talking about the Jewish holidays and where we see growth mindset, ideas coming to life. In each one, they say, you can sum up every Jewish holiday in nine words, they tried to kill us. We won let's eat. The same is true at the holiday of per that we celebrate tonight on per we read the book of Esther. It describes how the evil maniacal villain Haman tried to destroy the Jewish people, how he wanted to kill every single man, woman, and child. And we're still here today. So clearly Haman was not successful. And that is the perm story. And that is the book of Esther. What's interesting about the book of Esther is although it's one of the 24 books of the Bible, it does not contain the name of God. Not even once. We don't find any mention of the Almighty's name, which is strange.
You would expect the books of the Bible to speak about God. You'd expect God to be a central and pivotal character in the story. And yet his name is not found at all. Why not? If you look at the story itself, and it's a fascinating story with twists and turns, and it's one of the most entertaining stories I personally have ever heard. It begins with the king aha Roche, who the MCGI tells us ruled over 127 provinces, which was the majority of the civilized world at the time. So here is one of the, if not the most powerful king at his time, who has this vast empire. And he is essentially celebrating the fact that he now believes that the Jewish people will never return to the land of Israel and rebuild their temple. And he throws a huge feast. And although Mordecai, the leader of the Jews warns the Jewish people not to attend the feast they intend instead.
And the McGill describes that feast. And at this feast, the king aha Roche gets into a argument with the other people there. And he proudly proclaims confidently that his wife VAs is the most beautiful woman in the entire kingdom. And the people say, well, she's only beautiful because she's the queen. So she wears Royal garb and Royal clothes and, and the crown and jewelry and makeup. But if she was just like anybody else, then she would just be like anybody else. So Vero demands that Vati per parade herself around at the men's party wearing nothing but the crown. And we see an illusion to that, that he actually requested or demanded, rather that she comes completely nude. She refuses says, she's not gonna come. And aha is enraged. And he consults with his advisors and they suggest that he has Vashi executed so off with her head Vashi is killed.
He wakes up from his super realizes what he's done. And now he is in a state of cuz he is without his queen. So then one thing leads to another and that's a very common theme throughout the MCGI seems like one thing is leading to another. All the maidens are gathered from throughout the land, whether they want to, or not taken against their will, they're put into a hair where they're given anything that they want. And then eventually one by one, they are paraded in front of the king. They're not just paraded in front of the king, but he actually sleeps with each one of them to make sure and see if they are fitting to be the next queen. Now, obviously somebody who has slept with the king can't sleep with anybody else. And the only way to ensure that that wouldn't happen is to kill them.
So it was really a death sentence. If you weren't, as the queen, you were ostensibly banished forever or killed. So Esther is chosen. She was the last person in the world who wanted to be queen, but she's taken against her will. And before she goes, Morta ha says to her, not to tell anyone, including a hush Roche, where she's from next, we learn about the plot to assassinate Ave, which is uncovered by Mordecai. He hears two people, big son and se in the King's palace who are talking about this plot to kill the king Mordecai reports, the assassination attempt. They look into it and realize that they actually were trying to poison him. VI and Sarahs are killed. And the story goes on. We learn that Haman Hamman seeks to destroy the Jewish people and he is elevated to a position of prime minister of Persia.
He has given this new title, this new position of power Haman is enraged by the fact that Mordecai consistently refuses to bow down to him. So, so much so that he decides that he wants to kill every single Jew in the Persian empire. He convinces aro to give him permission to destroy the Jews which he does. And a Royal edict is given throughout the land that on the 13th of AAR, every single Jewish person, man, woman, and child are to be killed and exterminated and, and all their possessions plundered by the people of Persia. Then we learn that Mordecai. When he hears about this edict to destroy all the Jews, sends a message to Esther and says, this is the reason why you were put here. This is the reason why you're in the palace. You need to go to the king and you need to save the Jewish people.
Esther says, okay, I'll do it. But you first have to ask the Jews to fast and pray for three days, and then I'll approach the king. So Esther has this strategy where she goes into a Roche, not knowing how he's gonna respond, essentially risking her life, because anybody who goes in front of the king without being summoned first it's pun, punishable by death. And that includes his wife. As we know his previous wife and probably wives before that were executed for much smaller offenses, but she goes in any way and a Huper receives her. He puts out his Royal Septor and she comes in and he says, whatever you want up to half the kingdom and it's yours. And she requests that he and Hamman, he and Haman join her at a Royal banquet that she's going to prepare. And after the banquet Hamman again sees Mordecai.
He refuses to bow and he is enraged. When he get home, his wife zees suggests that he build a galls to hang Mordecai in a place that everyone can see. And he gets working right away to build the galls. Next, we have a scene change and we're told that the king aha Faroh cannot sleep. And he asks for the Royal Chronicles to be read and they opened up the book and coincidentally, it happens to open up to the page that describes how Mordecai saved the King's life. When big son and Sarah tried to assassinate the king and the king asks, well, what do we do to reward Mordecai? And they're reading the account and they say, well, nothing Mordecai didn't want anything. He did just for the love with the king and did it for the right reasons. And he received no reward whatsoever. Then we're told at that same night as the king can't sleep Hamman, Haman is so excited about his plot to assassinate Mordecai, that he can't sleep.
And he comes to the king in the middle of the night to ask for permission, to kill Mordecai, to tell him all about his plan. Now, before Hammond can even get the words out, the king tells Hamman about this plan. And he says, well, what should I do to a person who the king wants to honor? Hamman thinks obviously that the king is talking about him. So he comes up with this whole elaborate plan about how the king should put him in the clothes and parade him throughout the city. And someone should, you know, a very dignified person should lead the horse and yell out in front of it. This is what should be done to the man whom the king wishes to honor a Vero says, that's an excellent idea. Go do all of this for mortify. The Jew, as you can imagine, Haman was not very pleased with this.
So Hamman goes and he parades Mordecai throughout the streets saying, this is what should be done to the man who the king wishes to honor. The measure describes how, when Haman's daughter saw their procession, she assumed that her father Hamman must have been on the horse and the person in the front must have been Mordecai. So she took her chamber pot. This is again before indoor plumbing and she took her chamber pot and dumped it on what she thought was Morta he's head. She then realized too little too late that it was actually her father's head. And she had dumped all the contents of the chamber pot on her father's head. And the me explains that she then took her life, threw herself off the balcony out of sheer embarrassment and not knowing what her father would do in retaliation. This was obviously not a very kind and loving father in any event.
Hamman shows up to the Royal banquet after being covered in the contents of the chamber pot. We'll leave it at that. And at that second banquet, Esther reveals her identity for the first time and announces that she and her people have been sold to be murdered. And when aro is stunned and asks well, who is the person who's trying to do that? She identifies Hamman as the arch enemy, as her nemesis and the person plotting to kill her and her people. The king has Hamman hanged on the galls that have been prepared for Mordecai. And we see this complete reversal of fortune. This complete reversal of events, Mordecai is then named prime minister to replace Hamman. A second edict goes out because they can't reverse the first edict saying that everyone should kill all the Jews. But a second edict goes out, allowing the Jews to fight back and kill anybody who would try to harm them.
Then we get to our famous nine words. They try to kill us. We won let's eat. And the McGill describes how the Jewish people were victorious. They protected themselves. They defended themselves and they were saved. And then we talk about the let's E part, how they established the 14th and 15th as days of celebration. And these are the days of perm with the Mitzva of perm, including the let's E part, the festive meal, the exchanging of gay. If it's a food, what we know as the Michella and the mat of yo giving gifts to the poor.
And that in a nutshell is the story of part of the book of Esther. What's interesting is if you look at all of those individual events, as isolated instances is they all seem random. They all seem to be natural. It's only when you zoom out that you begin to see the hidden hand of God in every single step. In fact, our sages tell us that the almighty is not missing from the book of Esther. Rather he's hidden. Every time we find the word ha the king, it refers to God, refers to Ashe the almighty. Whenever it says, ha Ave king Ave, then it refers to the historic character in the perm story, king AVEs. But when it just says the king by itself is referring to God. That is what perm is all about. It's about seeing the hidden hand of God. And that's why the Tom tells us that in the per story, unlike the acceptance of the Tora Mount Sinai, the perm story was Kivu.
KIU when they really accepted the Torah, because at Mount Sinai, everything was clear. It would've been impossible for the Jewish people after experiencing the Exodus from Egypt and the splitting of the sea and standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, experiencing a national revelation for the only I world history, it was impossible for them to see anything but the almighty, anything, but the reality of God and godliness during the perm story, everything was hidden. We have to keep in mind that the perm story took over a decade to unfold. We look at the story and we say, yeah, so one led to two led to three. When we see them as scenes in a play, it's all happening and unfolding in a matter of 10 or 20 minutes. But when I recognize that, you know what those events actually took place over 15 years, if you lived during the perm story, it would've been almost impossible to see how God was guiding each one of those events.
And that's what perm is all about. That's what we don't find the name of God overtly mentioned in the story because he was there, but he was wearing a mask. There's something beautiful about the analogy of God wearing a mask. And that's, by the way, why we wear costumes on perm? When do I wear a mask? I don't wear a mask when I'm far away, I'm far away. And I don't want you to see who I am. I don't want my identity to be known and seen. I don't need to wear a mask because the distance accomplishes that the very fact that I'm far away means that I'm not gonna be seen. I'm not gonna be detected. I only wear a mask when I'm very close and for whatever reason, I don't want to be seen. That's what perm is all about. The book that we read is known as magi, Esther, the word magi, which we translate as a scroll also means Menga led to reveal and the word Esther, who is the, really the hero, the heroin of the poem story.
Isn't just her name. The word Hester means hidden. And therefore mcg. Esther can literally be translated as revealing the hidden. That's why we eat. Hum, tasian eat a pastry with the filling. The part that really is good. The part that we want is hidden deep inside. That's what the perm story is all about. It's about recognizing the hidden hand of God. And the idea is not just to read this great story. It's not just to be entertained by a story that happened thousands of years ago. The point is that when I read the Magilla, when I hear the story of Esther, I am supposed to be writing my own personal magi. I'm supposed to be able to look back at my life and recognize how every single moment, every single step along the journey of life has led to the next moment and the next moment.
And the next moment, the point is to write my own, to look back and see where I can find the hidden hand of God in my own life. The stories told of the steel company that hired a new CEO and this new boss was determined to rid the company of all the slackers, the people who weren't really pulling their weight. And as he's touring the facilities, the CEO noticed some guy casually leaning against the wall and the room was full of workers. And he wanted to let them know that he business. So he walks up to the guy and he says, how much money do you make a week? He was a little taken aback. And it's a strange question, but he looks at the CEO and he says, I make about $400 a week. Why the CEO says, wait right here. So he walks to his office, comes right back in two minutes and he hands the guy by $1,600 in cash.
And he says to him, here's four weeks pay now, get out and never come back feeling pretty good about himself. The CEO looks around the room and he asks, somebody want to tell me what this goofball did around here. And from across the room, a voice shouts out. He delivered pizza from dominoes. So often we convince ourselves that we see the full story that we see the whole picture when we're really just looking at a slice of reality. The last few months that I was living in Israel, there was a woman who would show up every morning to the old city of Jerusalem. And with the help of two or three people would set up at this massive canvas. It must have been 10 feet by 10 feet. And it was fascinating to watch her work. She would spend a few minutes painting and then she would turn around, walk all the way up the stairs.
For those who know the stairs, leading down to the hotel, she would walk all the way up those stairs, look, and then come back down and paint and then walk all the way up the stairs and look, and she would do this back and forth because when you're that close to the canvas, all you see is blurred colors. The only way to see the full picture is to take those steps back poem is about walking up those steps about looking backwards and seeing how every single event is a mere stitch on the tapestry of life. One of the growth mindset ideas that we saw from Judaism is the awareness that failure is not a permanent condition. We see this so clearly in the holiday of per and in the book of Esther, an awareness and a recognition that a at the moments of greatest despair at the moments that we think it's all over. It's those moments of challenge that make us who we are. And perm is an opportunity to reflect and understand how each one of those moments each one of those ordeals has made us into the person we are are today. Don't forget to subscribe and share with your friends, see you next week.