HASHEM'S RADIO STATION
Why did the Jews of the Purim story deserve to die? Our rabbis tell us that it was because "they enjoyed the meal" -- King Achashveirosh's 180-day celebration feast to which the entire kingdom was invited.
Why did the Jews of the Purim story deserve to die? Our rabbis tell us that it was because "they enjoyed the meal" -- King Achashveirosh's 180-day celebration feast to which the entire kingdom was invited. The catch: Non-kosher food was served (according to one opinion), upon utensils which had been stolen from the Holy Temple. They rationalized -- everyone else was in attendance. It was the President's Ball and the Jews were invited. This was the big opportunity for them to finally make some advances in Persian society. How could they refuse an invitation to such a party!
Albeit the Jews may have viewed themselves as being "forced" to attend, the Talmud clearly states that it was because they actually enjoyed the feast, that they were deserving to die at the hands of Haman. The Temple utensils were being defamed, non-kosher food was being served, all kinds of immoral activities were going on around them, yet they still enjoyed the party. What a shame.
Oftentimes, Hashem places us in awkward situations which provide us the opportunity to choose the right course of action. Sometimes we choose correctly, and other times we make mistakes, but we always have the ability to make the correct decision. The lesson which we need to learn from the Jews of the Purim debacle is to tune into what the Almighty wants and expects from us. Hashem is always there giving us the proper guidance, but we have to adjust our spiritual radio dial to WGOD so that we can actually hear what He is telling us. No doubt Mordechai was standing outside of the castle gates, warning everybody not to attend, but they were uninterested in his sagely advice. Hashem gives us the keys to success, but it will only matter if we make an effort to hear what He has to say and then follow up on the newly discovered knowledge with action. When placed in awkward situations, think about what the Torah would want us to do. For that matter, when placed in any given situation, our actions must be guided by the words and wisdom of the Torah. Only then can we hear Hashem's radio broadcast loud and clear.
Benyamin Cohen, a native Atlantan and alumnus of Yeshiva Atlanta, is a sophomore at Georgia State University.
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