erev Adar 14, 5780 (March 10, 2020)

The narrative of the Book of Esther, in all of its splendor, conveys more than what a topical glance would make of the interconnecting events. It is necessary to “read between the lines,” so to speak, in order to gain an in-depth understanding of this remarkable account of an actual historic event.

Consider that the events of this narrative, all took place over a nine year period; this may have been necessary, so that all of the so-called “coincidences,” regarding key turning points in the narrative, would fall into place at the exact moment necessary for maximum effect. This is the hidden hand of H’Shem (the L-RD; literally, the Name), inasmuch that His guidance of these events was left unseen.

Esther’s name in Hebrew derives from the shoresh (root word) meaning “to hide.” To the extent that G-d’s name is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Esther, it can be determined that this, in and of itself, is a clue to the hidden hand of G-d, working behind the scenes of the narrative.

Moreover, this concept is called hester panim, the hidden face (of G-d). A great abundance of emunah (faith) may be maintained, within the framework of this understanding. That is despite the apparent lack of response of G-d in times of tsoros (troubles), He is there in the midst of our challenges.

The tides were turned, when all seemed to be bleak; Haman, the perpetrator against the Jewish people was hung on the gallows, and Mordechai the Yehudi (Jew) rose to power in the same instant. Instead of the enemies of the Jewish people defeating the Jews, we gained the upper hand against our enemies.

Although the antisemites of the Kingdom of Achaseurus sought to destroy us, the threat was eradicated on the very same day that they planned to fulfill their evil intentions. Thus we celebrate Purim with joy, to commemorate the victory.

Although it may be an inexact analogy to draw, in like manner today, that the plague of the Coronavirus casts its shadow over the Jewish communities in New York, as well as all peoples throughout the country, and the world, may this plague be swiftly eradicated by the mercy of H’Shem. Amein.

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