Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Tables Will Turn

The story of Purim is more than just a tale of what happened to Jews generations ago. It also provides a narrative that is quite relevant to the times in which we live. There is unbelievable evil directed against Jews, and it seems as though God is nowhere to be found. The horrific murders of the Fogel family in Itamar were a terrible reminder of this predicament. A mother, father, 11-year-old, 4-year-old, and three-month-old baby were all brutally stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists. This act of barbarism shocked even some Jews, a people usually accustomed to tragedy.

During this month of Adar, and especially around this time of Purim, we're supposed to increase our happiness. As the motto goes, Meshenichnas Adar Marbim B'Simcha. But how is it possible to remain happy, or even maintain a degree of optimism, when there are so many people currently suffering from the effects of terrorism and other calamities? One particular line from Megillat Esther might help to improve our outlook: V'Nahafoch Hu - "and it was turned to the contrary" (Esther 9:1).

The Purim story provides an important historical precedent: when the enemies of the Jews plan great destruction, the Jewish people ultimately see great salvation. Keeping this in mind, one can only fathom how great the future must be, given the fact that so many people are either hostile toward Jews or actively seek the destruction of Israel. Although we live in an age in which God seems to be hidden, the same could be said during the days of Esther. And while everything appeared to be random and cruel, God was actually orchestrating events every step of the way.

In Megillat Esther, Haman goes to King Ahasuerus to present a false charge against Mordechai. He even prepares a gallows on which he plans to have Mordechai hanged. But before Haman can follow through with his plan, the plot he hatched against the Jews is exposed, and the king orders Haman to be hanged on those very gallows. While this was indeed miraculous, it was also a case of God carrying out the punishment for false witnesses ("do unto the perpetrator that which he wished to do to his fellow"). This kind of reversal in fortune can provide a lesson for both us and our enemies.

The lesson for us is not to scheme against one another. The next time you have a rift with a fellow Jew, seek to quickly resolve the conflict. It's better to swallow personal pride and maintain peace than to protect our egos and hurt someone else. It's just not worth it. Sooner or later, the tables will turn.

The lesson for our enemies is not to scheme against the Jewish people. Whether it's the United Nations issuing biased resolutions or the Iranian regime seeking to destroy Israel, they're overlooking this important historical precedent. For their own sake, it's not worth it. Once again, the tables will turn.

The state of current events may be dire, but it's only a matter of time until we witness the ultimate V'Nahafoch Hu - when good and evil will receive their just deserts. If for no other reason, that's worth increasing our happiness.


  1. "When a person oppresses his friend, G-d sends him troubles so that he forgets about persecuting his friend." [Rebbe Nachman]

  2. Yes the tables will turn. Then they'll turn back. Then they'll turn back again...

  3. Asher, you say, "The lesson for our enemies is not to scheme against the Jewish people".

    Unfortunately, one of the "wars" that will be left for Moshiach to fight is the war against evil and against Amalek. Amalek today is embedded everywhere and who he or she is nobody really knows, unless of course it's so blatant, as when 33% of "Palestinians" approve the Itamar massacre, or as when a creep like the Iranian figurehead wants Israel off the face of the earth.

    My point is, our enemies don't want to learn "lessons", they only continue to learn how to be sneakier or more murderous. Anyhow, because in the pre-Messianic era thins are becoming clearer as to who and what is evil, we can better identify our enemies for what they really are.

  4. You're right, some of our enemies will never learn. But this historical precedent will continue to repeat itself until the day evil is obliterated.