Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Purim is coming! Everybody be happy! Seriously!

Purim is coming. In a few weeks, right before Easter, we will celebrate Purim. When I say "we" I of course mean all Jews, but also my Old Testament class. We will learn of Esther's story and how her husband, the king of Persia, did not know she was Jewish, and was also convinced by an antisemitic official to exterminate all the Jews. So then Esther gets all brave and tells the king she's Jewish and in the end, everyone except the antisemitic official (who is executed) lives happily ever after.

The point being, Esther told her secret, one that was too big for her to carry around anymore, and it led to a positive conclusion to the story instead of the death of all her kinsmen.

I was reading about Purim today, thinking about how to make it a bigger deal for my kids than I have in the past.

There are several rabbis I follow on Facebook, which time and again show me how much joy Judaism contains. And today, one of them wrote about Purim.

The book of Esther is the only book of the bible that never mentions God's name.

And this is part of why it's so important.

Passover is a big awesome amazing traumatic deal. God brought down hellfire on the enemies of the ancient Jews, saving them from slavery and drawing them out into freedom. God did this. All of this, Jews believe. Everything from too many frogs clogging the streets up to and including the death of the first born sons of Egypt. God's hand, God's miracles. God.

The book of Esther is about our hands. It is about our work to bring about the kingdom of God. It's about turning on the light and getting down to what is really wrong. It is about being brave and doing it. Using our senses and intuition and hands and everything God gave us and getting it done.

We don't see God's name in the book of Esther because people are doing the work and God is underneath it all.

All our choices to do right. All our challenges and synchronistic moment and every time we say, "oh thank God it happened this way."

And this is why Purim is such a joyful celebration. It is one of the greatest miracles of God because "the ultimate revelation of G-d's power and ever-presence is when He does not have to interfere. This is the meaning of the Megillat Esther--the revelation of hidden-ness. Within the free choice of people, G-d's will and plan are being completely fulfilled, step by step." (Rabbi David Aaron).

Everyday heroes. Ordinary folks. People who speak truth to power. People who bring about change in small consistent powerful ways.

People who listen to their instincts and open themselves up to that small voice.

And then get up and do what needs to be done.

That's God's story for us.

That's why I'm going to celebrate Purim with my 6th graders.


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