Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

One day thieves stole a chest from an old and solitary man who was rumored to keep a treasure in his basement. They breathlessly opened the chest only to find love letters the man had received over his long life. The thieves decided to return them. One by one. One a week. Since then, every Monday at noon, the old man would be waiting for the postman to appear. As soon as he saw him, the old man would start running and the postman, who knew all about it, held the letter in his hand. And even Heaven could hear the beating of that heart, crazed with joy at receiving a love letter (“Book of Embraces,” by Eduardo Galeano).”

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Old letters bring me the same joy as experienced by the old man in the story, especially when I discover nuances previously missed. A letter written by my father zt”l when he was in his fifties echoes in my voice now that I am the same age. The thoughts are those I share with my children. One day, a grandson, in his fifties, will read the letters and connect back through the generations to a great-grandfather he never met. Perhaps I should add a few thoughts to the page…

There were tiny bells on the hem of the High Priest’s tunic, our way of ringing the doorbell of God’s Home announcing a new letter, expecting God to read our letters and prayers with the same excitement as the first time we recited the words. The words may be the same as some very old letters, but we continue to send them again, ringing the doorbell, to be reread with the same joy as when first sent to God.

We read the Book of Esther as a letter, not the typical two sided scroll. “Then Queen Esther wrote this second Purim letter (Esther 9:29).” Esther wanted the mailman to ring all the doorbells in Shushan with a new letter from the Queen. Their hearts would beat with excitement as they never did for Achashveirosh’s volatile letters announcing nonsensical laws, pogroms, and then all sorts of changes. Esther’s letters were joyous celebrations of life, asking us to be happy and share our joy. I guess that’s why I can reread her letter so many times over so many years with the same excitement. I hope that my grandson will experience the same pleasure when rereading Esther’s letter so precious to his grandfather.

Whether letters to the old man, letters from my father, or messages sent to God, Esther believes that they can trigger the same heartbeating response as they did long ago.

I have to run – someone is ringing the bell, probably announcing a Purim package.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameiach

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