Purim is coming! Purim is coming! Thank God for Purim!!.
All year long we take life so seriously; Purim comes along and reminds us that even when life seems fragile or tense, humor is a very important tool for getting through.
The Story of Esther is, of course, not portrayed as a comedy; if you read the entire Megillah you come to understand that the Story of Esther is about a very serious and threatening time in the life of the Jewish People. The Jews of Persia are threatened by a madman who is determined to eradicate all of Jewish life regardless of the consequences to him, his country, or his people. The Story becomes the paradigm for us as a people regardless of where we have lived.
Yet, the Rabbis chose to deal humorously with Esther and her fellow characters. Perhaps it is because they understood that when you don’t have the power to change things that are terrible, you have to find the humor in them so that you can keep your sanity.
I think that is especially true for all of us today. We once thought the streets were safe, our water supply was fine, and we believed that if you lived a life of decency and honesty all the rest would fall into place.
What we now know for certain is that life is fragile. Fear and terror have taken a big toll on our world. Both have become part of our daily lives. We walk through life with fear of the unknown, fear of the other, and fear of our own vulnerability. And so many of the political candidates today are exploiting those feelings, often creating a wedge between people.
Yes, life is certainly uncertain. Purim reminds us of that in very powerful ways. It reminds us that sometimes everything is upside down, what you see is not what really is.
So, let us follow the leadership of our rabbinic teachers. Let’s laugh a bit at our own life’s situation. Let us step back and get some perspective. We are a people with a wonderful history and story, unfolding every day. As American Jews, we are part of a nation whose greatness is not in our military might but in our largess and our open hearts, our kindness and our basic goodness.
Come join the frivolity of the day. There are still 364 days to be overwhelmed by life’s trial. At least one day, let’s rejoice in the victory of truth and justice. See you at our Purim service, Wednesday evening, March 23 at