Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
“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)
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, "2020 Vision" (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian with a Georgian edition in preparation. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul" (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, Georgian edition in preparation) and "Worldstorm." Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com. Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
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If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
As shocking and insulting and horrifying as it is, Nazi war criminals are still living freely among us.
One can almost imagine a shocked Mr. Kerry thinking to himself, “How could he?” Yet not only did Mr. Putin do what he did, China, one of the three major international players along with the U.S. and Russia, agreed with him, not with Mr. Kerry.
Ramaz is a venerable Modern Orthodox educational institution whose mission statement contains the explicit commitment to “Ahavat Yisrael, and love and support for the State of Israel.”
In the course of the ages there wasn’t a Jewish community more convinced of its capacity for survival than the Jewish community of Hungary in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Liberals got an Affirmative Action president who doesn’t have the wisdom or the authority to change the battle plan.
The world excuses Islamic murder, but focuses on flaws, often imaginary, on the part of Israel.
Abbas also sent wreath to honor suicide bomber who killed 8.
It has been a very challenging year that has taken a toll on the Cohen family.
Hezbollah is attempting to restore its shattered image by fabricating threats against it.
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.
They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.
So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.
What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:
“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.
“Israel has bad public relations.”
This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”
Let’s face it: this is not going to be an ordinary year.
We are praying very seriously this year because we are praying for our lives. Yes, I know: every year we pray for our lives. But how many feel it? This year, whether we want to or not, I think we are beginning to feel it.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-taxi-driver-a-flaming-sword-and-purims-redemption/2010/02/24/
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