web analytics
July 31, 2014 / 4 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Visiting IDF bases and receiving briefings from IDF officers. Ultimate Mission – November 2014

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Purim Letter To Students – And The Rest Of Us

Males-031414

Each year at this time, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Kesher Israel Congregation sends Purim care packages to our college students. This is a beautiful project our shul is proud to carry out. Over the years, many students have told me how much these care packages have meant to them. I am always happy to write a short holiday letter to be included in the package.

After writing my letter for this year’s Purim package, it struck me that while it was written for today’s college students, the message is one that applies to all of usregardless of age. So, with a few very minor revisions for a wider newspaper readership, here’s what I wrote:

 

We are all familiar with Rambam/Maimonides and his 13 Principles of Belief. Those Principles are the 13 Ani Ma’amins that are found in just about every siddur. According to Maimonides, these Principles are the basis of traditional Jewish belief. (By the way, did you know that the Yigdal prayer is based on those 13 Principles as well?)

Let’s take a minute to review the 1st and 10th of Rambam’s Principles:

1) I absolutely believe that God created and continues to guide all of His creatures…

10) I absolutely believe that God is fully aware of all of mankind’s activities . . .

At the core of traditional Judaism is the belief that our world has a Creator. This Creator knows all that goes on in our world, and remains actively involved in all of its events – no matter how insignificant some of those events might seem.

Sometimes we may wonder why God bothers to take such an active interest in every single one of the world’s events. After all, doesn’t God have more important tasks to attend to?

I think the answer to this question lies in one of our people’s most important and celebrated experiences. About 2,500 years ago, God showed us how – despite all of the other pressing matters going on in His world – He was aware of and involved Himself in the outcome of something as silly as an official state-run Persian beauty pageant.

That’s right, it was that “silly” little beauty pageant which ended up saving our entire Jewish people.

Very soon, Jews around the world will once again gather to read Megillas Esther. We’re all familiar with the events of the book of Esther. From start to finish, the entire megillah is all about God’s ongoing involvement in and stewardship of our world.

Is there any other way to explain how Esther, a nice Jewish girl, was chosen from among the most beautiful woman in the entire Persian kingdom to become the next queen? It was all Divine Providence.

Our commentators explain that every step of the entire Purim episode, from start to finish, was a case study of God’s continued involvement in our world and the survival of the Jewish people.

Was it clear to anyone at the time as to why God should have taken an interest in that “silly” Persian beauty pageant? Absolutely not. In retrospect, however, God’s actions became completely understandable. It was only by Esther’s winning that pageant, and becoming queen, that the Jewish people were able to survive Haman’s decree of extermination. That seemingly insignificant beauty pageant played a major role in God’s plan in the great scheme of things.

The story of Purim reminds us all about God’s ongoing involvement in our world and our people’s survival. It reminds us that:

A) God is fully aware of and involved in all that goes on in our world.

B) Despite all of His many responsibilities, G-d is perfectly capable of multi-tasking and involving Himself in events of seemingly minor human interest.

C) All that goes on around us is part and parcel of God’s orchestrating our world’s events. We have no idea how one seemingly minor event can potentially have massive ramifications. As the world’s director, however, God has the ability to make those connections and understand why it’s important to use His Divine Providence to influence world events of all shapes and sizes, so that His ultimate plan can be brought to fruition.

As we celebrate Purim, let’s thank God for His continued interest and involvement in our world and in each of our lives.

My wife, Layala, and I wish all a Happy Purim.

About the Author: Kesher Israel Congregation’s Rabbi Akiva Males can be reached at rabbimales@yahoo.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.

No Responses to “A Purim Letter To Students – And The Rest Of Us”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
MK Moshe-Feiglin
We Are The Good Guys
Latest Indepth Stories
Parliament_House,New_Delhi

New Delhi would do well to remain aware of the predicament of Israel today.

120px-Hrw_logo

HRW “investigations” reflect anti-Israel bias, lack of research, and flat-out fabrications.

Borenstein-080114

his Tisha B’Av, and this Tu B’Av, remember: Hashem will protect us if we unite and rally around Him

Israeli flag

Israel’s morality is underscored by its unprecedented restraint and care for loss of life.

The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it.

Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.

Where is the outrage against Hamas ..?

When will the world realize, by the grace of Gd, we are here to stay?

World War I had sown chaos throughout the centuries-old Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.

The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.

Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.

For breaking his oath of allegiance, Tzidkiyahu was forced to witness the death of his sons before he himself was blinded and exiled to Babylon.

ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular.

Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring .

More Articles from Rabbi Akiva Males
Statue of Brig. Gen. John Gibbon

The power of “positive campaigning;” Nothing quenches your soul’s thirst like Torah.

Males-031414

At the core of traditional Judaism is the belief that our world has a Creator. This Creator knows all that goes on in our world, and remains actively involved in all of its events – no matter how insignificant some of those events might seem.

In a short span of time our shul raised and distributed thousands of dollars for relief organizations.

In 2007 my parents decided it was time to downsize and sell their home of more than thirty years. To help them pack up and move into their new apartment, I returned to Cleveland to offer my assistance.

Two recent experiences served to drive home the point to me that – with apologies to the popular Disney musical boat ride “It’s a Small World” – it really is a small Jewish world.

“Rabbi, is there any religious requirement for Jewish men to wear mezuzahs around their necks?”

“Rabbi, if you yourself are clean-shaven, why does this inmate claim his Jewish religion prohibits him from using a razor on his face?”

We are all aware of the terrible divisions among Israel’s Jewish population. My friends and colleagues in Israel tell me they cannot remember a time in recent years where so much fragmentation existed. All this when the external threats facing Israel grow greater by the day.

No matter our stage in life, one is seldom comfortable feeling left out. Unfortunately, many American Jews experience exactly that feeling each year as Christmas approaches. The term “December Dilemma” is used to describe the tension many Jews feel sitting on the sidelines, unable to fully enjoy or participate in the distinctly Christian themes and activities occurring all around.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-purim-letter-to-students-and-the-rest-of-us/2014/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: