We are a lone lamb among 70 ferocious wolves. Our protection comes only from our Shepherd. He protects us and guards us. But when we choose to ignore Him and think we are perfectly capable of living our lives without Him, the wolves are unleashed and they mercilessly pounce upon us and devour us.
Did the Jews connect the dots? Did they understand that their enthusiastic participation in the banquet was the direct cause of Haman’s ascent and his plot to kill every Jew? Alas, no one connected those dots and when the decree came that all Jews were to be annihilated, they blamed Haman’s insanity, not their own behavior.
Mordechai sent a message to Queen Esther that it was time to act. She in turn instructed him to “gather all the Jews, let them unit in prayer, fasting and teshuvah.”
Esther invited the king and Haman to dinner in her palace. Why did Esther do that? I would offer the following explanation for her action:
In order to really pray from your heart, you have to feel there’s no one else who can help you but G-d. You have to cry out to Him with your entire being and shed tears from your soul. But if the Jewish people think their salvation can come from man they will arrogantly proclaim, “We can take care of this. We are in charge. Besides, we have Esther in the palace. She will never allow anything to happen to us.”
If, however, they come to believe that Esther had aligned herself with Haman, inviting him for dinner at the palace, they will have no recourse but to turn to G-d.
Tragically, the tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries. Today we tell ourselves, “We are well connected with the White House. I know this cabinet member. I know that senator. I helped to elect him. I make substantial donations. Nothing to worry about! America will always stand by Israel…”
So we continue to celebrate and drink until we don’t know the difference between Haman and Mordechai. We don’t want to recognize that the Mordechais are the earthly shepherds of Israel and are here to lead us to the Ultimate Shepherd, Hashem.
And we refuse to recognize that the Hamans of history are not just random madmen. We never stop to ask why and how, nor do we examine our hearts for the answer. We never ask what it means to be a Jew. But the answers are available to all of us. We read in Tehillim (Psalms), “If only My people would heed Me. If Israel would walk in My ways, in an instant I would subdue their foes and turn My hand against their tormentors….”
It’s easier for us to continue to blame blind fate and the evil of the Hamans of the world. It’s never us. We are never responsible. It’s never you. It’s never me. It’s always those anti-Semites.
If we would remove the dust from our windows and look out, we would have a clearer vision of our today and our tomorrows. The names and places may have changed but in the end it’s all the same. The dust on the windows allows us to delude ourselves into feeling we are safe, that all is well, that it’s a different world today.
It’s so easy to point the finger of blame at others, to believe the tragedies of Jewish history are caused by individuals who are evil or mad and not because we have turned away from our covenant with G-d due to our intense desire to become like all the nations.
Conversely, it’s so hard to storm the Heavenly Gates with our prayers and our love and observance of Torah. But the clouds are once again gathering throughout the world. We must dust off our windows before it’s too late.