We all need a little levity. The world is so upside down right now. And the world is not an easy place to be. The Libyans are still engaged in a bloody civil war to oust the terrible dictator Gaddafi. Israel is still reeling from the murders of a settler family in Itamar. And of course the situation in Japan is devastating. So many people are still out of work. Gas approaches five dollars a gallon. And life is hard for many people.
So Purim’s arrival is not a minute to soon. And The holiday of Purim shows us how to laugh even in the face of impending destruction. The story of Esther and her cousin Mordechai and how they saved the Jewish people from genocide foisted upon Persia by the evil Haman is a story of redemption. But it is a story with serious themes. It raises questions about intermarriage you see Esther marries a non-Jewish king! And slowly but surely slips into the Palace life. Of course she is warned by her cousin not to reveal her heritage. “Pass” says Mordechai. But in the end Esther can’t really pass herself off as a non-Jew. Her Jewishness can’t be tossed aside. She must risk all to speak up. And she does.
So this story is also about speaking truth to power. Esther risked death by speaking to the King when not summoned. But she managed to do so understanding that she might have been placed inside the palace by divine powers to exactly be in the right place at the right time!
So this story is also about synergy. Divine Synergy. Opening your eyes up to the possibility that God’s hand is always present. Our tradition calls it “hester panim” . The hidden face of God that is within the story although the Purim story doesn’t mention God!
So while we play Purim for laughs and levity and turn propriety on its head -the Purim story teaches us important lessons to help us cope with the world.
So join me tomorrow night- Saturday March 19 at 6:30 pm at Kol Ami (1200 N. La Brea, at Lexington.West Hollywood) for an opportunity to hear the story of Purim. We will read the megillah and then take a few moments to laugh even though the world is in turmoil. We need to laugh. Join us for the Rocky Horror Purim Schpiel.