The only other time in Tanach the term Ish Yehudi is used is in the Megillah, describing Mordechai: “Ish Yehudi haya b’Shushan” – a religious man, a leader, who himself was exiled to Babylonia shortly before God allowed His Temple to be destroyed. Mordechai realized the events that were transpiring were not happenstance but orchestrated by a God who though hidden was very much running the show. Mordechai is the Ish Yehudi described by Zechariah, a man who serves as a beacon of spiritual strength and faith.
Everyone recognizes God is with Mordechai. Along with Esther he establishes a holiday that will be celebrated even in messianic times. When all other holidays will be dissolved in the messianic era, the Rambam tells us, Purim will remain. Perhaps the reason for this phenomenon is because, as Rav Hutner explains, from the Purim experience we have learned to recognize God in the dark – and this skill, once cultivated, is never lost.
It is easy in our everyday lives to lose sight of God as our ego takes over. “V’anochi haster astir” – the “I” can easily hide God. However, if we work on recognizing God in the darkness of exile by loving truth and justice and acting benevolently toward others, it can have the effect of altering destiny and filling the world with the light of God.
This Purim may we all merit such brilliant clarity.
About the Author: Shira Gabriela (Salzman) creates one-of-a-kind custom Jewish artwork such as ketubot, illuminated manuscripts, handmade papercuts and family trees. Shira has also taught Tanach for over a decade in Israel and the United States. Her work can be purchased at www.shiragabriela.com.
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