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Salvations at the Kotel: not only on Purim…

When it seems that everything is dark, when the world looks chaotic and dangerous and no solution to the political, military, economic and spiritual problems is visible on the horizon, when there is an urgent need for practical and realistic practices (even if these usually do not solve the situation) – in such depressing and frightening days, the days of “it seems that there is no more what to do” – Purim is the cure!

The good life

Over two thousand years ago, when the story of the Megillah took place, the Jewish people in Persia/Babylon were in a good situation. Seventy years of exile, which began with the destruction of the house, have ended. Four years earlier, Zerubbabel, together with the prophet and sage Mordecai, led the return to Zion and there began to rebuild the Second Temple.

But most of the Jews chose to remain in exile. Life in Persia was good, they moved up the social ladder. Their social status was so high that they were invited to the king’s banquet in the “White House” of the capital, Shushan! The future in Babylon looks promising. And then… “ונהפוך הוא”, in the blink of an eye, everything turned upside down! The power of Haman rose and fear and despair filled the hearts of the Jews.

The face of God was hidden (a word that recalls the name of Esther) and only in their most difficult and darkest hour, on the brink of actual destruction, where the Jews preferred their eternal king, over King Ahasuerus, the situation turned back to good, and the darkness was dispelled by the bright light of salvation.

Unreasonable deliverance

כל זה אירע בזכותו של יהודי עיקש ו”בלתי מעשי”, שסירב להיכנע בפני רשויות פרס. יהודי פרס כעסו עליו בשל כך, משום שלמראית עין, הוא העמיד אותם בסכנה! ההצלה הגיעה באמצעות אישה אחת, שגינוני החצר היו זרים לה,

All this happened thanks to a stubborn and “impractical” Jew who refused to submit to Persia authorities. The Jews of Persia were angry with him for this, because apparently, he put them in danger! Salvation came through one woman, to whom the yard etiquette was foreign, who had no political power, no allies or experience. She saw the situation, understood it and acted.

She ordered her people to fast and pray and then risked her personal well-being. She did not work in public, in front of everyone, but behind closed doors, in the king’s palace and in private rooms. The Midrash further adds and says that the salvation came thanks to their simple prayers of the Jewish children of Shoshan, who have not yet learned that prayer has no power in the political world. There are no visible “miracles” in the story of the Megillah and no miracle occurrences.

This is a “natural” story, about court intrigues and struggles for power and rule – king, queen, ministers, spies, with human nature dominating the level here. God’s name is not mentioned even once in the Megillah, but he is always there, guiding, deciding, watching and waiting to act behind the scenes, until the moment “ונהפוך הוא” is activated… and everything changes! According to the midrash, in every place in the Megillah “המלך” is written, the scripture refers to Ahasuerus only in appearance. The real king is God!

So today too – today we are also facing difficult and life-threatening situations: recession, unemployment, attempted terrorist attacks. How can we continue to preserve our Torah, our country, our land, our lives and the lives of our children? Are there answers to these questions? Nobody knows, it seems. Then comes the 14th of Adar and provides us not only hope, but also a precedent. “ונהפוך הוא” – nothing stands still.

Things change, turn upside down in the blink of an eye, in one “blink” of the “divine eye”. Just like Mordechai and Esther, we are tasked to look for solutions and to take every practical measure to maintain our safety and profit. But in the end, then as well as today, God is the driving force.

.Even in our lives, we get to see such miracles, and sometimes also those that are not really above nature

Many people who had all kinds of problems, each and every one of them, that no one knew how these problems would end and how they would come upon them. And even after they were saved, sometimes it was possible to explain everything that happened, as a chain of completely natural events, the embodiment of God’s finger in history. Like Esther and the children of Shushan, we continue to believe that our prayers are heard and that God is the one who guides history.

As believing Jews, we also believe in a unique and special mitzvah, the mitzvah “Gmilut Chesed Shel Emes” that has no equal in any religion, because who even thinks about those who are not even alive? But not us! It is precisely we who believe, sons of believers, who remember the miracles that God performed with us both then and today, we who believe in the preservation of the soul, precisely we are obligated to repay the kindness of truth with those pure and holy souls who did not have the privilege of leaving a lasting seed after them, and we are confident that God, who is the source of goodness and kindness, will return to us as our good reward. The action of “ונהפוך הוא” mainly depends on us…

The special opportunity for salvation

On 14th of the first Adar, which as stated in the Gemara, this day is not the day of Purim, and according to the words of the Gemara, “There is nothing between the first Adar and the second Adar except the reading of the Megillah and Matanot Laevyonim.” On this day we will start praying for you at the Kotel every midnight, for 40 consecutive days.

And with God’s help we will see salvation like in the days of Mordecai and Esther, Amen.

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