Seeking Esther

March 5th, 2015 Posted by Susan's Musings 12 comments

Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is being analyzed by friends and foes of his, by friends and foes of Israel, by Israelis who care both about the threat of Iran and their own upcoming elections and by Jews and non-Jews around the world. Did it help Israel/America/the world or did it hurt? I’ll leave political scrutiny to others. 

As for myself, his speech had one glaring omission. He commented on the face of Moses which looks down upon Congress. He mentioned Purim, the Feast of Esther that would begin about 30 hours after his speech. He quoted from the Bible and referenced the original return to Israel of the Jewish people after forty years in the desert.

Yet, other than a perfunctory ending of, “God bless,” he left out God. One thing determines whether Jews celebrating Purim (the Feast of Esther) are observing an ethnic festival or a religious holiday. Is it a Jewish version of Mardi Gras or a day as important as Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)? The answer to that question depends on whether you see God in the picture or you don’t. Esther fasted and prayed for three days before approching the king, as did the whole nation per her request. She wasn’t counting on her own brilliance or beauty; she was presenting herself as a vessel through which God could work.  She did not shirk her responsibility but neither did she imagine that salvation was in her hands.

Binyamin Netanyahu spoke passionately and well before Congress. He told facts that needed to be publicly aired. The reception he received, the applause and standing ovations represent a true love of Israel and the Jewish people by most Americans. At the same time, I admit to an uncomfortable chill when I hear the phrase, “Never again,” referring to humans not allowing another Holocaust. There is much that humans need to do and, tragically, too many people today, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are not standing up to the challenges of our time. However, no matter what we do, no matter how strong our military, no matter how advanced our technology, we need to deeply believe and modify our behavior in accordance with, the additional words, “God willing,” iin order to act as descendants of Moses and Esther. May God deliver us from evil today as He did long ago in Persia, reaffirming the blessing we say before reading the Book of Esther, “in those days as at this time.”

 

To explore prophecies hidden in the Book of Esther listen to Clash of Destiny: Exploring the Secrets of Israel and Islam.

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12 comments

Linda Rollins says:

I agree with you. Unless God is in this and we acknowledge our need of His help we will not succeed in America or Israel.
Also, was able to catch your husband’s radio broadcast tonight (Thursday)and was very much enlightened on this topic. I already have the Clash of Destiny CD and need to listen again. Thank you both for all your help.

Judy says:

Thank you for your thoughts on this, as well as your husband’s. Especially thank you for the reminder of “God willing.”

Linda, it’s interesting that Abraham Lincoln also called for a day of fasting and repentance during the Civil War.

Thanks for writing, Judy.

J. R. "Tag" Coolidge says:

I was unable to listen in real time to Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, and I received my first impressions of the speech as I lunched with a dear friend (in his late 80s)who is very afraid for the future of Israel and of the United States. My friend felt that Mr. Netanyahu had delivered a fine speech, one that needed to be heard, but he was not sure that it would make a difference. Later in the day, I was able to listen to the speech in its entirety and to read the transcript. Like you, I felt that something was missing. I wondered if he spoke the same words to the people of Israel in the same way that he spoke them to the American people. I don’t believe that Queen Esther announced to the king that she and the nation had been praying and fasting. Even though God, by name, is not prominent in the Book of Esther, as it was not in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, it is clear to me that your comment “that we need to deeply believe and modify our behavior in accordance with, the additional words, ‘God willing’…” is absolutely true. I pray that he and key leaders of the United States and of Israel believe this also. I pray that they are seeking God’s guidance as they lead our nations in these perilous times.
I really appreciate the messages that you bring us each week and the work that you and Rabbi Lapin do. Thank you.

Jan says:

I am wondering how many people (what percentage?) will have to do God’s will in their own nation (amending their own lives, fasting, and praying) before God will choose to act to help them and their nation to return whole-heartedly to Him.

I appreciate your taking the time to write. Sadly, the state of Israel, like America, is divided between those who seek God’s guidance and those who don’t. It is actually incredibly more complex there than in the States.

Wouldn’t we all love to know that? Since we cannot know what is in God’s mind, the advice in ancient Jewish wisdom is to view the world as if it is on the dividing point and that each one of us with our actions can make the difference. In other words, not to throw up our hands in despair but to work on ourselves. Interestingly, Purim, the Feast of Esther, has elements of fasting and prayer but also joy and happiness. For some of us, it is harder to be serious and for others of us it is harder to be joyous. We need to really work on knowing ourselves to know where our self-improvement should be focused.

James says:

For my part, I was impressed by the abundant demonstration of bold and intrepid leadership that Mr. Netanyahu exuded from every pore, and likewise unnerved by the insipid reaction of rancorous disapproval from our Chief Community Organizer.
The Rabbi has confirmed for us how the Israeli State was founded by the godly, but not ONLY: also by a vocal and dedicated contingent of Soviet Jews who were dyed-in-the-wool exponents of communism at worst, socialism at least, or Big Government at best. I can only hope and pray that the worshippers of manmade Nimrodian Big Government will not invalidate the Divine blessing of protection that is Israel’s birthright.

James, You are right that the comparison between Israel’s prime minister and America’s current president is rather stark.
The modern state of Israel was founded by socialists with a socialist gov’t. That, thankfully, has almost disappeared and the economy is innovative and strong.
There are other challenges that are hard to understand from the outside. It is a country that houses people on an incredibly high spiritual level ( some look religious to our eyes and others don’t) and sadly it also has instances of low spiritual level (by those who look religious to our eyes and others who don’t) We can pray for Divine mercy and that God looks at the positive.

Lora says:

I just want to thank you- and your husband- for your insightful comments on what I consider a historical event. I hope and pray that people heard Netanyahu’s words. I hope they reflect on themselves and their relationship with God. I hope we as a nation can continue to stand for right. Not necessarily the right, politically speaking, but for righteousness, which rather transcends political parameters. From what I understand of the Bible, God not only moves in mysterious ways, but, to use a cliche, he totally thinks outside of the box. Which is so awesome.

Yes, that is awesome!

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