web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Road To Nowhere

“In those days, when King Achashveirosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and servants, the army of Persia and Medea; the nobles and officials of the provinces being present, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days.

“And when these days were fulfilled, the king made a seven-day feast for all the people who were present in Shushan the capital, great and small alike, in the courtyard of the garden of the king’s palace. There were [hangings of] white, fine cotton and turquoise wool, held with cords of fine linen and purple wool, upon silver rods and marble pillars, the couches of gold and silver were on a pavement of variegated marble. The drinks were served in golden vessels of diverse form, and royal wine in abundance, in accordance with the king’s wealth. And the drinking was according to the law; there was no coercion, for so the king had established for every officer of his house to do according to each man’s pleasure.”

So begins Megillas Esther, the quintessential Book of Exile and – not inconsistently – the last book to be added to the Torah.

Why does it begin with a banquet? What’s the big deal about a banquet? And we know that all the food was kosher, because we are told “the drinking was according to the law; there was no coercion.” Rashi tells us (Megillah 12a) that Mordechai was there, supervising the cupbearers.

But this paragraph sets the tone of the Megillah, and the theme is very clear: “Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the entire kingdom of Achashveirosh…” And remember, “all the Jews throughout the kingdom” means all the Jews in the world, because the kingdom covered the entire world.

Why should a kosher banquet cause a decree to be promulgated against every Jew in the world? What is going on here?

We are living in dangerous times, and that is why this Megillah is needed for us right now. It is essential that we discern subtleties and see with clear eyes, because we are standing on a precipice and our very existence depends on knowing how close we are to the edge.

We recently read that when Moshe Rabbeinu ascended Har Sinai, a “cloud covered the mountain” (Shemos 24:15). Why was a cloud in close proximity to the Source of all light? It reminds one of the maxim concerning “darkness before the dawn.” This is obviously a general truism if it is found in the Torah. (Our sages compare the end of the exile to the darkness before dawn.) Why must there always be darkness before light?

I suggest this darkness represents the trials we must go through before we achieve closeness with Hashem. We are very attached to our place in this world. We have extremely tight affinities, even obsessive passions, for the things of this world. Our yetzer hara pushes us to love the objects of our desire. In order to come close to Hashem we have to break away from our attachments, our desires, our lusts, our love for “olam hazeh.”

This powerful gravitational pull toward material objects and the tension of trying to break away from it is the darkness that stands in the way of unity with our Creator.

Bonding with Hashem is the object of our creation. “Our sages of blessed memory have instructed us that man was created for the sole purpose of reveling in the Eternal and delighting in the splendor of the Divine Presence” (Mesilas Yesharim/Path of the Just, Chapter One).

One of the greatest dangers of Galus is that we are surrounded by the culture of nations whose entire way of life is different from ours. For example, our Sages say concerning Shabbos, “You did not give it, Hashem, to the nations of the world, nor did You make it the inheritance … of the worshippers of idols. And in its contentment the uncircumcised shall not abide, for to Israel, Your people, You have given it” (Shabbos Shacharis). They have no comprehension of what Shabbos is.

About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “Working Toward Moshiach,” has been released in Israel and will soon be available in the U. S. Roy is also the author of “2020 Vision” (Feldheim), available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian; “From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian; and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Road To Nowhere”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow! At first I wondered if Mr Neuberger had written a Charedesque article. But upon further reflection I realized that this very message is what Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, would teach.
    The Rav wrote in his book, Five Addresses, on page 31 “There is secular culture, great and powerful technology creating wonders and changing the foundations of our life..This secular culture entails destructive elements, many negative and perverse aspects; it may be a blessing and a curse simultaneously, and thus AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT.
    We owe it to ourselves to remember what is our true goal in this evermore materialistic world really is.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow! At first I wondered if Mr Neuberger had written a Charedesque article. But upon further reflection I realized that this very message is what Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, would teach.
    The Rav wrote in his book, Five Addresses, on page 31 “There is secular culture, great and powerful technology creating wonders and changing the foundations of our life..This secular culture entails destructive elements, many negative and perverse aspects; it may be a blessing and a curse simultaneously, and thus AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT.
    We owe it to ourselves to remember what is our true goal in this evermore materialistic world really is.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Dore Gold.
Foreign Ministry Calls Sunni Arab Nations ‘Israel’s Allies’
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 were likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

More Articles from Roy S. Neuberger
Roy S. Neuberger

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

Front-Page-050115

Jews thank Hashem at every step. We thank Him for our most basic physical existence. We thank Hashem for every step, for every breath, for every aspect of our elevation from the dust.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves?

The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.

At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.

“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/road-to-nowhere/2013/02/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: