Things have been difficult in Israel of late.
There is a feeling that Israel has become many separate streams and flows – different and estranged from each other. Each “flow” does not accept the other, and the common discourse is “us and them,” “them and us.” We have become splintered. We forgot that we are one people, with one heart, with one Torah, with one God.
The biblical book of Esther was read this week in synagogues across Israel. (Thank God that our tradition is still kept united.)
In Esther it is written:
And Haman said, to King Ahasuerus, “There is one nation scattered and separated among all the peoples…”
This is how Haman actually approached King Ahasuerus. And this is how he presents the Jewish people. In fact, this is the “crack” through which the decree of annihilation was sown. When a people is not united within themselves, but scattered and polarized, they are in danger. Israel is in danger!
And history repeated itself more than once. When the people of Israel were divided, a disaster would scattered them among all the nations. It is not for nothing that we hear the saying, “We are our own worst enemy.” But it seems that despite knowing this phrase, the situation has become unbearable and we are in a daze of forgetfulness.
The wise Queen Esther understands that this is the real danger of her people, and as a cure for the division and dispersal of the Jewish people, she asks her uncle Mordechai to:
“Go and gather all the Jews who are found in Shushan…”
It is clear to Esther that the medicine necessary to turn the situation around begins with the gathering of the people, the unification of the people – one people with one heart. Unity is an antidote to the enemies within and without. It is a prerequisite to ultimate fulfillment of the prophecies and the word of God.
In these days when the scroll of Esther is being read and Haman’s cruel decree is remembered, it is possible to arouse a collective memory. We can also remember:
- Where we came from.
- Who we are.
- What we believe.
- Where our source of strength and power is to be found.
Thus it is possible to turn division into unity and acceptance. And for that we all need to mobilize. Unity begins within. It starts with reconciliation at home, in the family, in our marriages, at work. And it continues elsewhere.
It is possible to see the situation turn for the better. Just like it happened in the book of Esther:
“For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy… when their sorrow was turned into… celebration.” (Esther 8:16 & 9:22)
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