Parasha Tzav/Shabbat Zachor/Purim

Purim, which begins right after Shabbat tomorrow night, is certainly not the most venerated of holidays, but there is a remarkable

Midrash on Mishle(Proverbs) where we see:

"All of the festivals will cease, but the days of Purim will not cease."

Our Sages teach that while other festivals defined in the Torah are destined to be annulled in the Messianic Age, Purim, which is rabbinically enacted, will be eternal.  This sounds surprising at first blush.  In the coming of the Messianic Age, we see the teaching of the Book of Esther 9:28 "that these days shall not disappear from among the Jews, nor the memory of them perish from their descendants."

The miracle of Purim is different from the "Torah miracles."  Torah miracles are overt, but the miracle of Purim was hidden and arises from normal historical happenings.  After all, Mordechai noticed nothing out of the ordinary or illogical (such as the splitting of the sea or the falling of the manna).  It is only when looking back at the account that we are astounded by all the incidents which led to the redemption of brethren during the reign of King Ahasuerus.

This begs the question, "How is this relevant after the Holocaust?"  All I have is questions; I do not have any answers.  Miraculous stories abound from the Holocaust.  The six million pale next to them, but I would like to share one I read recently.

A tourist arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel and upon entering a taxi immediately began smoking.  The driver asked him to stop, and the passenger refused; when the driver asked again, the passenger refused again.  The driver said "If that's the case, then give me one."  Stretching from the back, the passenger gave the driver a cigarette, and the numbers on his arm became clearly visible: 612402.

The driver instantly took a right turn, deviating from the passenger's destination.  The passenger cried out, "Where are you taking me?"  The driver told him to calm down, that he would like where he was going and it would only take a few minutes.  In no time, they pulled up to a nursing home in Gadera and the passenger came in with the driver.  The pair went to a room and there was an aged survivor.  When the two men's eyes met, you could tell they were in an emotional state.  They were brothers who each thought the other was dead.

The passenger asked the driver, "How did you know he was my brother?"  When the driver had arrived in Israel, the only job he could get was at a plant where they crushed pineapples.  One day he climbed into the enormous machine to free up the mechanism and it started up when he didn't expect it.  He was hanging on for his life and a man reached his arm in to pull him out.  For what seemed like an eternity, all he could see were the numbers on the man's arm.  He was forever indebted to the man and developed a relationship with him.  He never forgot the numbers on his arm: 612403!

What this and so many other stories can teach us is that miracles, be them small or large, do happen.  We are still experiencing miracles in our lives every day.  Thanks to Esther's bravery, which we will read about tomorrow night, we are given a reminder of just how lucky we are to have our freedom and to be reminded just how important it is to stand up for this precious freedom and what we believe in. 

 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Sameach!

Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham