Hi there ~ Sashya here.
We are coming up on Rosh Chodesh Adar, and do you know what that means? My favorite holiday of the year: Purim!
Wait, what? You don’t celebrate Purim? Oh, why not? I mean, I know, I know, it is not biblically commanded per se. But, call me a princess, (pun intended) I do LOVE an excuse for a dress up party! And what could be more fun than dressing in a disguise (to remind us how G-d chose to disguise Himself in the story of Esther), eating Hamantaschen and ice cream sundaes (our own family’s twist on a Jewish tradition) while reading the book of Esther out loud, shouting “Hooray” every time the name Mordecai is mentioned, “BOOOOO” every time Hamann takes the stage, and “Awwwww” every time Esther appears?
Well, ok. You are right. That sounds a trite boring, especially compared to what our fellow blog author and friend, Kari Miller, is up to this year. She wrote a Star Wars themed skit for this year’s Purim party at her synagogue! 1
So, in honor of the Girl Who Saved the Jews, I would like to dedicate this month’s post to unveiling the disguises in the book of Esther, and showing you three simple ways to change the world!
Grab a noise maker, and let’s begin!
1. Play the Role of “Mordechai, the Mensch”
One of the most effective ways to change the world is to love G-d with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. I see Mordechai showing his devotion to G-d by taking in his orphaned niece. 2 As a daycare provider and a mother, I know how difficult raising children can be. How much more so, raising children that are not your own? What’s in it for you? A chance to see your orphan grow up and become a hero, I guess…and the satisfaction of knowing you are serving the heart of G-d. (The hugs and kisses are nice, too)
2. Play the Role of “The Chronicler.”
One of the most disguised expressions of G-d in the whole bible is this servant who reads the chronicles of the King back to him. It is so easy, when you are “ruling the world,” to get too busy to remember all the kindness shown to you in one day. And this Chronicler recited back to the King the kindnesses that had been done in his court. This simple act of gratitude and faithfulness to his duty saved Mordechai and the Jews from destruction (and really ate Hamann’s lunch, too!)…
3. Play the Accuser, “Hamaan.”
……screeeeetch! What? I don’t want to do that! He is the bad guy! Sashya, have you lost your mind?
No, indeed, I haven’t. The title of this post was not, “How to Please G-d” it was “How to Change the World in Three Ways.” His little evil plan would have indeed changed the world. Let’s see what would have happened had he succeeded….
Esther and all the Jews of the world at the time would have died. End of story. No line of Judah, no bible, no chosen people, no Yeshua, no Paul, nope. Nada. OVER. Would that have changed the world? Most certainly. I shudder to think of it.
And yet, how often are we like Hamaan? Never intentionally evil, goodness no! We are a friend of the King. We love the King, we are looking out for the best interests of the King.
He plots to kill the Jews, (remember from the Veggietales rendition, “that sneaky little family doing sneaky little things, they stick their sneaky nose into the matters of the king…”) why? Well, the bible tells us it is because he is a descendant of Amalek, and Joshua (et al), well they were supposed to eradicate them from the face of the earth (a lesson to some that when we don’t completely obey G-d, we leave problems for future generations). But suspend what you know before and after the story for just a second, and zoom into the mind of Hamaan with me…Let’s get behind the disguise for one second and see what happened.
You are the most trusted servant of the most powerful man in the known world. The King tells you everything. You are invited into his private chambers for dinner. The whole world gets executed if they approach him uninvited but you, no, you can barge in during his sleep with an emergency. A privilege that makes you feel just a teensy bit superior to the rest of the kingdom. As it should.
This little foothold of pride, unchecked, it grows, and grows (it loves the dark, you see) and now any threat to you, begins to seem like a threat to the Throne.
That man never bows to you, is he trying to take your place? Does he think he is higher in the courts than you? Or wait, maybe the King is playing favorites and you are not as close to him as you thought?
Something must be done.
You barge in to speak to the King in the middle of the night, and he stops you and asks what you would do to give honor and glory to someone really really special in the kingdom. Your mind starts reeling….is he talking about me or another? Who could he be referring to? If not me, who? And you begin to imagine yourself in the King’s role, on his throne, what must he be thinking….
….and then you snap out of it. It has to be me, I am the second in command…No one in the Kingdom is as loyal to the King as me! And you tell him, in precise detail, how he, the King, can serve you and honor you.
Whoever feels that he is greater than others is rebelling against the Kingship of Hashem, because he is adorning himself with His garments, as it is written (Tehillim 93:1), “Hashem reigns, He wears clothes of pride.” Why should one feel proud? Is it because of wealth? Hashem makes one poor or rich (I Shmuel 2:7). Is it because of honor? It belongs to Hashem, as we read (I Divrei Hayamim 29:12), “Wealth and honor come from You.” So how could one adorn himself with Hashem’s honor? And one who is proud of his wisdom surely knows that Hashem “takes away the speech of assured men and reasoning from the sages” (Iyov 12:20)!? So we see that everyone is the same before Hashem, since with His anger He lowers the proud and when He wishes He raises the low. So lower yourself and Hashem will lift you up!
Therefore, I will now explain to you how to always behave humbly. Speak gently at all times, with your head bowed, your eyes looking down to the ground and your heart focusing on Hashem. Don’t look at the face of the person to whom you are speaking. Consider everyone as greater than yourself. If he is wise or rich, you should give him respect. If he is poor and you are richer — or wiser — than he, consider yourself to be more guilty than he, and that he is more worthy than you, since when he sins it is through error, while yours is deliberate and you should know better!
In all your actions, words and thoughts, always regard yourself as standing before Hashem, with His Shechinah above you, for His glory fills the whole world. Speak with fear and awe, as a slave standing before his master. Act with restraint in front of everyone. When someone calls you, don’t answer loudly, but gently and softly, as one who stands before his master. 3
As a disciple of Yeshua, it is my heart to be as close to the heart of the King as I can, a target we all must aim for. I pray that for this season, we would all remember to walk humbly before our king!
Shalom! And Chag Sameach Rosh Chodesh Adar!
SASHYA CLARK is a Disciple of Yeshua (Jesus) who practices Judaism. She writes, home-schools three beautiful children, and plays music. In her “free time” she also volunteers for Holy Language Institute and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to find her on Facebook, or follow her personal blog at thefringe2016.wordpress.com.
- (I am only a little bit jealous that I don’t live closer… maybe if you ask her really nice, she will let us publish it on the Holy Language website?)
- This week’s parsha, Mishpatim, uncovers how Hashem feels about orphans AND widows.
- an excerpt taken from Rabbi Nachman’s letter to his son, with the instruction to read it weekly http://www.pirchei.co.il/specials/ramban/printabl.htm