08 March 2009

From: http://www.aish.com/purimthemes/purimthemesdefault/Darkness_Before_the_Dawn.asp

""All prophetic books and the sacred writings will cease (to be recited) during the Messianic era, except the Book of Esther. It will continue to exist, just as the Five Books of the Torah and the Oral Torah that will never cease." (Rambam, Megillah 2:18)

What is the lesson of this book that will never lose its relevance, even as all other troubles of the Jewish nation will fade from memory?

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, in his book Pachad Yitzchak, explains with a beautiful metaphor: There are two ways one can recognize his friend in the dark. One way is to use a flashlight. The other way is to get to know the friend by using other senses other than sight to recognize his presence. When the sun comes up, the one who used his flashlight will find it no longer necessary and will cast it aside. But the one who had to train himself in lieu of a flashlight, to sense his friend in other ways, has acquired a deeper knowledge and understanding of his friend and the relationship, even in daylight, will inevitably be enhanced as a result.

So, too, we - the Jewish People - have spent millennia in an effort to recognize God. Leaving Egypt was a flashlight - the Ten Plagues and the miraculous events that followed taught the Jewish People invaluable lessons about their King. And yet, when the sun comes up and the Messiah arrives, the revelation and clarity will be so bright that all holidays and writings commemorating those events will dim in comparison.

Purim, on the other hand, was a story in which no light was switched on. The heroes of the hour and the nation as a whole had to grope and stumble in the interminable darkness and slowly and hesitatingly train themselves in a new approach to relating to God in such a time."

I haven't written for awhile, been working hard getting ready for Purim, in fact! Not a lot of extra time on my hands.

However, I love this teaching about Purim. I have often said that if I had to choose between showing up at shul for the High Holidays and showing up for Purim, I'd pick Purim. If my someday-children ever start refusing to come to synagogue, I'll let them out of Yom Kippur before I'll let them out of Purim. (or Sukkot or Shavuot . . . with some special Tu B'Av muffins, and a HUGE Lag B'Omer bonfire . . . .who doesn't like muffins and fire???)

This I love: Getting to know God in the dark . . . and the idea that this is the chag we'll be celebrating with the Messiah . . .

Can't come soon enough!


  1. I love this post. It is very full on insight and spoke to my heart. Purim is a Jewish holiday that I also love, so thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you - this is just beautiful. Every year it seems there's a new concept I learn about Purim - this one will really stay with me.