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Purim (1) No name of G-d?

In the role of Esther, G-d’s name is not mentioned anywhere. The whole story seems to play out as a normal sequence of events.

When the time of 70 years of exile for the Jewish people seemed to be coming to an end, at least Achashverosh thought so, and it did not happen, he was delighted. Apparently the G-d of the Jews was not as strong as everyone thought after all, and He had “forgotten” to deliver His people. Now they would always remain His subjects, which made him feel more powerful than G-d.

Powerful he wanted to be, but in the whole story he doesn’t actually play a real leading role. Everything is determined by the players around him. By the ministers, by Haman, by Mordechai and Ester.

A minister, Haman, who tries to work himself up at the expense of everything and everyone and finds Mordechai (and therefore his people) irritating because he does not wish to bow down to him. There are two possible reasons why he did not wish to bow, the first is that Haman saw himself as g-d the other is that he wore an idol as a necklace. Either way Mordechai wished to bow only to G-d and not to an idol.

It is a commandment for a Jew to give up his life when it comes to violating the prohibition against idolatry. Noahides are also forbidden to worship idols, however, they do not have to give their lives for this, but if one does, they do receive a reward from heaven. Mordechai also received a reward from heaven, and so did the people, for they would be saved from the hands of Haman.

Hamam wanted to be honoured and exalted by people, wanted to be considered important. He would indeed be exalted, raised on a pole to horror and put to shame, and Mordechai whom he wanted to degrade and kill was exalted. The people he wanted to exterminate were saved.

In short: a lesson we can learn from this is: that people can see themselves as god, consider themselves important and exalt themselves. But that there is no one higher than Hashem and that we worship only Him, and that people who elevate themselves will eventually be lowered. So in this blog we read that even though G-d seems absent, He is ultimately in control. That everything goes exactly the other way around, than people had planned and expected. In the next blog – Purim (2), I want to look at why it seems that even prayer to G-d seems to be covered up and what we can learn from it.

By Angelique Sijbolts

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