Adar is the month in which we celebrate the holiday of Purim. As we usher in Purim, we read the Megillah and let the world know that Judaism is a faith of joy and happiness. No other holiday in the festival calendar contains such an unbridled sense of carnival merriment. Children dress in costumes, the Cantor and I will dress in costume. Come celebrate with us Sunday morning, March 16, at 10:30 a.m. — you don’t want to miss it!!
Brave Mordecai and Esther will be cheered on as Haman’s plans are foiled. But are they? Haman is not dead. He lives in the minds of those who hate. He speaks with the mouth of prejudice. He acts with the cruelty of rumored lies.There is a vital need for us to tell and re-tell the story of Purim — to remember the lessons of history and reawaken our fellow human beings to care and to take action. In every generation Hamans of one form or another rise up in jealous resentment and anger against the examples of right and decency: Hamas, Hezbollah, even some govemment officials in Europe, especially in Hungary, among many others, are the Hamans of our generation.
Mordecai charges Esther to approach the King and intercede for her people. Although she fears for her own life, she knows that if her people are destroyed, she, too, will be killed. She intercedes. The King listens to Esther. The evil Haman, symbol of etemal persecution of the innocent, symbol of how people can hate, is cast into the world he created, and a people is saved.
Darkness becomes light, sorrow is turned to gladness, for “unto the Jews there was light and joy; happiness and honor.”
The Megillah closes by asking us to remember that by the act of one woman, the power of one man, the fate of an empire can be changed. The acts of a single individual can bring happiness or despair into the world. Each person’s life can make a difference in helping determine the course of human events.
May we be the instruments that bring joy and human dignity into the world; erasing hatred, destroying bigotry, achieving through our Jewish religion an appreciation for what is really worthwhile.