Published Date: March 13, 2020
This week’s music: Va’anachnu Korim
All of B’nai Yisrael are together in feeling the pain of each other and all of the world as the impact of the Corona virus keeps growing. I find it uniquely poignant that this is happening in the months of Adar and Nisan, the months of Purim and Pesach. In actuality these are the two holidays which we have which most emphasize the need to embrace a hope for the future. Let’s look at our history. Pesach starts with the hope which we experienced both in the desert from the time of The exodus from Mitzraim, through the incredible miracle of the splitting of the sea. This was followed by our standing at the foot of Sinai, the completion of the moment of the exodus. There we received with great blessing and gift of receiving the Torah from God who redeemed us from human slavery.
Some 1500 years later, we faced what perhaps would be the greatest tragedy until that time, the commitment and license for Hamman the wicked, may his name be blotted out forever, to destroy all of the Jews of Persia. Once again with the miraculous outcome, our hope was renewed. It was clear to all of Am Yisrael that Hashem, the King of kings saved us from this terrible plight.
Retroactively we realized that no matter how we were behaving, we were all still children of One God. Even though prior to our being saved we were a most divided people, we now looked for all ways to unite with each other, regardless of our personal opinions.
We are presently travelling on our annual spiritual journey from “Purim, Chag Ha’bitachon,” the holiday of strengthening our security in Hashem to “Pesach, Chag Ha’geulah,” the holiday of redemption. As the Talmud teaches us, in Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will be redeemed. (Rosh Hashanah 11).
The Slonimer Rebbe teaches us that Purim was established for us to enlighten us all about the great power of “bitachon,” always placing and strengthening our security in Hashem. When Mordecai approached Esther requesting that she go to speak to King Achashverosh he let her know in no uncertain terms that if she was not able to undertake this responsibility on behalf of her people, someone would definitely step up to be the vessel to bring it down to this world. “…revach vhatzalh ya’amod la’yehudim me’makom acher,” prosperity, safety and a sense of being saved will stand present for the Jewish people from another place (Megilat Esther 4.14). That other place, says The Slonimer, is our place of “biutachin,” feeling secure and safe with our Creator. Purim lights up our “emunah” and bitachon” so we can recognize the love that Hashem has for us. Whether or not I am conscious of this on an intellectual level, it is clear from the story of Purim that on a soul level I am in touch with my reality that Hashem is watching over our every need all of the time. Why does it seem so necessary for us to wait until we feel so threatened in order to realize that Hashem is the King, our father who is authoring the entire story? After all, Reb Levi Yitzchak teaches us that the message of “Parshat Parah,” which we read each year on the Shabbat immediately following Purim, is that the absolute only reason that we need to do the mitzvoth mapped out for us in our Holy Torah is because Hashem commanded us to do so. Why can’t I get in touch with my need to feel that sense of security as a child does, every day all year long, if I can get to that place of “bitachon,” sense of security, then I never need to feel threatened, no matter what the circumstances are.
If I am blessed to actually live daily in the spirit of Purim and feel how close Hashem is to me every step of the way, can that guarantee that I will now be blessed with the ultimate freedom and redemption, the final “geulah?” What is it that will take is to the “geulah?” Apparently Hashem is sending out a clear message is that the only way to get to “geulah” is by getting together.
How ironic is our current situation? For many of us who for 70 years we have been telling Hashem, “I don’t need to be close to You,” I can do it all alone. To make matters worse, simultaneously we have been telling each other the same. We keep finding reasons to say to each other.
“I don’t want to be close to you.” You are different than me, I disagree with your opinions, I can’t accept the way you behave, you are problematic!” Look out, as now we are in a situation where we can’t be close. The fact is that our physical borders have been forced closed upon us on a national level and on a personal level. We are all in some form of isolation from each other. We can all speculate on the reason that this is happening, but we may never really now the reason why. The real question from here on in is is what will we do when the gates reopen? Can we each find a way to fix between us so that we can bridge between our sense of security and the reality of a united freedom for all?
Maybe now it is the time to realize not to wait for the threat to get close to Hashem and not to ever say to each other I don’t want to be close to you.
Blessings to all of us for a total and complete healing on both a physical and a spiritual level. May we seize this perfect opportunity to prepare for Pesach with a great desire for freedom and a truthful Peace for the entire world.