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Choose to Shine 


Purim is a favorite holiday on the Jewish calendar. The well-known story describes the plot of evil Haman to wipe out every Jew on the planet, along with our salvation. In hindsight, it is easy to celebrate the victory without giving much thought to the life and death threat hanging over our nation.

The current world situation has incredible parallels to the Purim of Achashveirosh’s time. He was the king of the entire known world. His edicts were published and sent to all 127 provinces of the kingdom. There was no place to run or hide from genocide. This was it. We faced the complete obliteration of our nation.

It seems that open hatred for our people permeates the thoughts and actions of others worldwide. While there are some bright spots where we have support, the vast majority of populations across the globe seem to be intent on our destruction. Mobs of people are shouting in the streets calling for the end of Israel and the Jews. From academics to artists to the  “FreeFree’s” to the supremacists, it appears their marches, protests, and shutdowns drown out our voices. This may be how it felt when Haman chose the 7th of Adar for his open season on every Jew, everywhere. 

Logic has gone out the window. The arguments make no sense at all. They are not factual. Gaslighting is the order of the day. How did it come to this? Where are we headed? Is there anything we can do as the calls for our death grow louder?

Personally, I take comfort in drawing the comparison between today’s circumstances and Mordechai and Esther’s situation. We retell the story of Purim not only to thank Hashem for saving our ancestors in their darkest days but to remind us that Hashem runs the entire world and everything that happens in it. He’s got this, and we shouldn’t let it get us down even a little bit.

You may wonder why He chose to give us these challenges and why is this happening at this particular point in time. I do not claim to understand the workings of Hashem, nor do I need the answers to keep my faith intact. But as long as we are spending a few minutes together, allow me to tell you what I do know.  I am a father and a grandfather. My greatest joy comes from being with my kids and grandkids.  My greatest sorrow is when they do not get along with each other, or when they do not fulfill their potential. If they are on the wrong path, I pray for a course correction.

Hashem is our Father in Heaven.  He loves us more than we can ever imagine. He wants us to succeed, and even more than that, He wants us to be united. If we are fighting and bickering, if our nation is divided, that calls for a wake-up. The best way to bring people together is to give them a common cause or enemy. They must unite if they are going to survive the challenge. They are also likely to come closer to Him as they pray for salvation. 

There are currently Zoom groups where five to ten thousand children pray every day. The prayers of our innocent, precious children are our secret weapon to reach the highest levels in heaven to reverse the evil decree. Every single one of us must also realize that we are living in a very special time in history. There is a spiritual awakening happening in a scope that I have not witnessed in my entire life. People who have never heard of Shabbos are clamoring for knowledge. People with tattoos ask for tzitzis to wear. Women who never separated challah are doing so eagerly. There are more Torah institutions on the planet than we ever had before now. There are shiurim online as well as study partners in kollelim.

May each of us realize that this is the time to do our best to come close to Hashem, and to feel perfect confidence and faith that everything is working out perfectly according to His plan, just as it did millennia ago.


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