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Beit Hamidrash

Magilat Esther and national honor

By: הרב שי פירון

God's name is missing from Megilat Esther. This is surprising given the fact that it was one of the twenty-four books of the Bible. It's clear that there's an effort to hide God's name, that even when it's obvious, it's written in an indirect language: "Profit and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place" (Esther). Even when we are talking about a fast it's not about prayers or why and what the fast is all about! The Megila ignores Jerusalem and Eretz Israel prominently. Jerusalem is only mentioned in the context of exile and destruction, "which banished from Jerusalem." A Jewish man was in Shushan. A Jewish man who refuses to bow to Haman. What for?

Chahamim discussed the reasons why Ahasuerus had Gzerut and noted two. One of them: "who participated in the dining pleasure of that evil." In first impression it seems like the punishment is attending a dinner that it's chief meaning is corruption and debauchery and forgotting God. Easy to guess what food they ate, what was the general atmosphere, modesty, purity of the poor and keeping the tongue. However, Rabbi Shlomo Elkabetz, explained that that's not the case. Rabbi says the pasuk: " and the drinking was according to the law " that the meal was perfectly Kosher! Shushan's Badatz took care of all the laws of kashrut. Sat apart and kept all the mitzvut of modesty. But ... where is the national honor? Where is the yearning for Zion, where is the mourning for the distance from the Holy Land? Forgetting Zion and Diaspora behavior meant that they were able to eat and drink from Temple Dishes: "and various containers tools".

Until Mordechai came. Mordecai corrects the sin of Israel. Mordechai is careful about Israel's national honor and credits the caliber of Israel. "Mordecai would not kneel nor bow." Only this way creates a new reality eventually leading Mordecai through the city on a horse. This has to be seen as the end of the process that gives israeltheir lost national honor. Where there is no national pride, no zion and no Jerusalem. You can

Recent events and public reaction to different situations require us to remember the importance of national honor. Sometimes, honor seems as a remote, a vice that needs to be rejected. However, we need to remember that Am Israel's honor has overwhelming importance on the yearning for Zion, to the love of country and desire to grab it.

The uniqueness of Megilat Ester is that it's a "secular Megila". The absence of God's name is intended to teach that God is also found in places and situations far from holiness. God's hand also manages the world in a reality of concealment.

Many are puzzled by the sacred Holines we attribute to our country. They often ask: "Where is the hand of God? And where is his name?" We study the Megila every year and therefore we know to appreciate the unique situation in which we live in.