Thursday, March 17, 2011

Purim Is Approaching

It's Taanis Esther and I'm wondering. Are we ever hungry for food? Some people in some situations are surely and sadly starving for food. I for one am - thank G-d - never really starving for food. My hunger, even when it seems like it's for food , is for something else. I hunger for my own miracle of Purim. I hunger for the end part, where you realize that a long process in your life was a miraculous journey with a divine grand ending. And it doesn't end with happily ever after, but with happy enough. The megilah took place over a long period of many years. Rav Chaim Schmuelewitz suggests that the reason why the rabbis considered not canonizing the megilah as a holy book was because they didn't want the message to be lost. A major lesson of the story of Purim is that we could all write our own megillah, and see how it's a miracle that we got from point a to point z. Today, with the megilah as a holy book we run the risk of considering it a miracle story that could never happen to us. Mistake. The seemingly natural story of Purim, which ends with a salvation that leads to a continued exile and struggle is the story of our lives. (On Purim night I once said that Dvar Torah in Rav Herschel Schachter's home and he said that he really liked the idea.)

I'm writing after teaching three classes, before teaching two more, am tempted to save and tweak later. I want this to be a pure post. I want to write what I write and then press publish. Soon.

Purim is a day of divine providence. Rabbi Michael Olshin, head of Torat Shraga once mentioned me in a Purim shiur he gave (maybe more than once, but someone told me it's recorded and they heard it). He told the story of how one summer an administrator from a school was pressuring him to take a job as a rebbe in a Yeshiva HS in New Jersey. He wasn't interested. But the person needed a good teacher and kept pushing. I was brought in as a guest speaker at the camp where R Olshin was teaching. He asked me, as a favor to him, to apply for the job - just to get this fellow off his back. I applied. I got the job. Fifteen years later I am grateful to G-d and to Rabbi Olshin every day.

May we all be blessed to see the miraculous providence of every twist and turn is our holy lives.


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