Freeing Mordechai from the Gallows

Friday, 11 March, 2011 - 12:32 pm

The Mishna states, "one who reads the Megillah retroactively (back to front) doesn't fulfill the Purim obligation." The Baal Shemtov interprets this to also mean, that one must not read the story as something that took place in the past (retro), but rather as it is happening now. In other words the Megillah must be relevant to us at all times.

In the Megillah, Haman comes to the king and makes the following accusation against the Jews. "There is one nation, spread and scattered throughout the nations, and their customs are different than all other peoples. They do not follow the customs of the king, and so, it is not worthwhile for the king to protect them." Later in the story, he wants Mordechai hung on a gallows because he refuses to bow to Haman as the custom of Shushan dictates.

Based on the Baal Shemtov's teaching of personalizing the Megillah, we must conclude that there is a Haman that makes the same attempt today. Of course there are the global Hamans, the Ahmedinijads, the Gadhafis etc., who seek to destroy us. I am referring however, to the Haman within - known as the Yetzer Hara - evil inclination - that seeks to lead us astray from our path of serving our G-d.

The internal Haman claims, that for Jews to make it in today's world, they need to stop being different. They need to adopt the customs of "the king" and adapt to the ways of society. We musn't be too Jewish - sticking out like a sore thumb. We will never be accepted if we cling to our old ways.

We all have a Mordechai in our family history. A grandfather that was a pious Jew, maybe a Rabbi or Talmud scholar, with a long white beard and very visible Jewish garb. Most of us are nostalgic when we think of our ancestors' religious lives. Many of us even consider that somehow our lives would be more fulfilled if we were more like our Zeides and Bubbes. So what does the internal Haman do to combat these feelings? He seeks to have Mordechai hung up. He knows that we will not obliterate this Mordechai from our memories. So he says, let's find a nice place on the wall. Then we will frame him and hang him up (double entendre). Now, says Haman, you can look at him and feel good, but he is high enough on the wall where he won't inspire you to any real change.

This Purim let us free the Mordechais in our life from off the gallows upon which we have hung them. Purim is about re-establishing our bond with Hashem and being proud of who we are, despite the Hamanic attempts against us.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Arnie Fielkow and his family upon the loss of his father, Mr. Jack Fielkow, may his memory be for a blessing.

We extend a hearty Mazel Tov to Tomer and Michal Monfred upon the birth of their daughter! 

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