“Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha” – with the coming of Adar simcha increases.
What is the biggest simcha? When God saves us.
There is an endless list of problems in this world. Every problem has a solution, but when the list gets too long, the solution seems beyond us. How can we cope with it all?
Saving the Jews in the days of Mordechai and Esther was beyond human capability. The Children of Israel were powerless in a vast empire that encircled the globe, at the head of which stood a monomaniac whose consuming desire was to “destroy, to slay and to exterminate all the Jews, from young to old, children and women, in one day and to plunder their possessions.” (Megillas Esther 3:13)
How did the Children of Israel react? Did they appeal to the UN? Did they petition Congress? What did they do?
“Esther … said to Mordechai: ‘Go, assemble all the Jews that are to be found in Shushan and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day, and I, with my maids, will fast also. Thus, I will come to the king and, if I perish, I perish.” (Megillas Esther 4:15-16)
Do you hear this?
“If I perish, I perish.”
This is courage. This is greatness. Esther put the survival of her people before her own survival.
I am writing these words from Yerushalayim. They say war is brewing in the north. On the streets the children of Ishmael walk unafraid. In Iran a wild man postures and gestures, and the world cringes. Turkey, once Israel’s friend, fires off diatribes of scorn and ridicule.
Who in the vast world is our friend? Who will stand up for us? And, if one does, is he strong enough to confront the rest of the world, which is bent on our destruction, God forbid?
I will tell you who can stand up for us: it could be the smallest, weakest man.
King David was relatively small in stature, but he defeated Goliath because he spoke in the Name of God.
Queen Esther entered the palace of Achashveirosh alone, and she was alone when she came before him and Haman to save her people. One woman defeated the entire evil machinery poised to destroy all the Jews. How? Because she spoke in the Name of God.
There is a taxi driver in Yerushalayim who late one night drove us home from a simcha. At every red light, he would turn on the overhead lamp and look down. What was he doing? Peering over his shoulder, I realized he had a sefer in his lap and was learning Torah at every stop. When we got out, I expressed my admiration, and he looked at me. “Ein bereirah” (there is no choice), he said. He has learned by heart entire sections of Torah while stopped at red lights.
This man is a mighty warrior of God. He may be unknown in this world, but in the World of Truth he is a giant in stature. He carries a flaming sword. He is personally standing in the way of empires bent on destroying the Children of Israel. This unknown taxi driver in the Holy City of Yerushalayim is holding the entire world together.
What is wrong with us? Are we living in a fantasy? Don’t we understand our lives are at stake? Are we greeting each other with love? Do we say “Shalom aleichem“? When someone says “Shalom aleichem” to us, do we answer? Do we daven for each other?
When Esther risked her life, God turned a supposedly impossible situation around. The weak were victorious and the strong were vanquished. Because in the eyes of Hashem it makes absolutely no difference who is weak and who is strong.
On the day we act like loving friends and family, the day we are willing to risk our lives for our brothers and sisters, the day we take seriously Hashem’s total control of the world, the day we understand that there “is no choice” other than to dedicate ourselves completely to Torah and service of Hashem, the Jews will once again have “light and gladness and joy and honor.” (Megillas Esther 8:16)