FedTalks Purim – Transcript
So we’ll say it three times over the course of Purim, three shmoneh esreis, and at least one benching. “Biyemei Mordechai v’Esther”, the story takes place as we say in al hanisim, in the days of Mordechai and Esther. We’ve got to ask the question: were Mordecai and Esther, no more than a date in the story? Surely they are the main players! What doesn’t Esther do for her nation? What isn’t she prepared to sacrifice? So why the credit stripped from them?
So the answer is that actually Mordechai and Esther know the true nature of their role, the truth secondary nature of their role. And as Mordechai says to Esther, “the main player over here is not you. If you don’t step up to the plate right now, someone else will fill your role. Because “revach vehatzola yaamod laYehudim mimokom acher”, Hakodosh Boruch Hu is directing things and will bring a yeshua for klal Yisroel. Choose to be in on it! You can, but you don’t need to when someone else will”.
There’s an amazing piece of gemorrah. Esther is sitting around the table at her second feast, next to Achashverosh on one side, Homon is on the other side, especially invited for the occasion. She can’t afford to make the slightest mistake and she raises an accusing finger and points at none other than her husband. The gemorrah tells us that a maloch needed to direct Esthers hand to point instead towards Homon. But then how could she have blundered at that critical moment? The Vilna Gaon explains it all and he tells us that in her mind she might have been talking and being in the company of Homon and Achashverosh and the words had to make sense to Homon and Achashverosh, but she was really doing something else. She was talking to “Hamelech”, to Hakodosh Borch Hu. And she is communicating in tefillah. And in the tefillah role there is actually to reshoim here. There is an Achashverosh and there is a Homon. And she ends up pointing by mistake in the tefillah-role, and she ends up pointing at her husband. It is only the maloch who interferes and ensures that the right person is being pointed at. And this is because Esther realizes the true nature of the mission ahead. Esther realizes that wen a tzoro strikes klal Yisroel in a time of crisis, the only one really worth talking to is Hakodosh Boruch Hu. There might be other things that need to be done in order to get things right, but don’t lose sight from the main job at hand and that is tefilloh.
And Mordechai is exactly the same. Mordechai has just been paraded around the streets of Shushan on the king’s horse, wearing the king’s clothes and crown and led by none other than Hamas. And as Homon gets home, his family make it very clear that they understand the direction of play. You fall into the hands of the Jew.
So Mordechai, you’d expect to go home elated. But no, says the Gomorrah. “Vayoshov Mordechai el shaar hamelech”- Mordechai returns to the gate of the king. That same gate of the king that that he’s been at for so long, wearing sackcloth and ashes. And it’s the gate of Hakodosh Boruch Hu, at which and to which he returns, b’tefillah, in prayer.
And we can only ask ourselves: the story has just taken a turn for the better! Look! Mordechai, don’t you realise that the decree is going to be over? Things aren’t what they were. But the answer is that Mordechai isn’t going to be swayed from his real mission, because he understands that when a crisis hits klal Yisroel, the real mission is tefillah.
And it’s not tefillah just as crisis management, but it is tefillah for its own sake. So he’s not going to be stolen away from that agenda. Even as the tides turn for the better. “Vayoshov Mordechai el shaar hamelech”.
So “Biyemei Mordechai v’Esther”, from their point of view this just took place in their days. They had a mission to fulfil in life, like every other Jew has a mission. But they didn’t see themselves as anything particularly special. And to our mission, as Yehudim who carry that same title as Mordechai HaYehudi, what is in that title? A mission to carry Hashem’s Name around and to bring it glory wherever we go and to be close to Him wherever we are and to be in communication in tefillah with Him, whatever we face. Let’s not be distracted from our mission and get it done.