American Jews rally for Israel
American Jews rally for Israel Flash 90

There needs to be a time, right after Purim but before Pesach stares you in the face, to be able to ponder the issues of Purim and to apply some of its lessons to today.

Haman presented his case before Achashveirosh to get royal permission to kill all the Jews of the kingdom, the nation of Mordechai. One of his main points was that the people were scattered throughout the kingdom.

They posed no threat of fighting back, because they lacked unity. Haman offered a large sum of money to the king for his permission to do as he wanted. The king decided to grant Haman the royal permission to kill all the Jews and waived the offer of the 10,000 silver talents. Shows you that Haman is not the only villain of the Purim story.

Having successfully been saved, the holiday of Purim was declared and the different ways that it is celebrated are considered refutations of Haman's claim the the Jewish people lacked unity. This includes SEUDAT PURIM, MISHLO'ACH MANOT, and MATANOT LA'EVYONIM, all of which put a lie to Haman's claim.

Commemorating the mitzva of MACHATZIT HASHEKEL by reading Parshat Sh'kalim on or before Rosh Chodesh Adar, and giving ZEICHER L'MACHATZIT HASHEKEL before Megila reading, brings into the picture our mitzva that represents Jewish Unity, because everyone gave MACHATZIT HASHEKEL equally, because the amount of HALF makes the statement that we are all part of something together.

But the nagging question that we each must grapple with, is - Was Haman right? Are we a scattered and fractionalized people? Or have we learned the lesson of Purim and drawn closer together as one AM YISRAEL? Do we have to spell it out? Look around you. Do you see Jewish Unity? Or do you see religious and secular, Ashkenazi and S'faradi, Mitnageid and Chassid, Zionist and non-Zionist and anti-Zionist, Dati Leumi and Chareidi, political right and left, two-state solution people and one-state people, military service for Yeshiva students or not... Sadly, we can go on and on with the splits that divide us.

The differences are not going to go away so quickly. What perhaps can be worked on is something that we learned along time ago - at the conclusion of the Torah: ATEM NITZAVIM HAYOM KULCHEM... we are all standing before G-d, together. There are more than enough peoples in the world we can't stand the Jews. We need to seriously change our attitudes towards HOW we argue with each other. HOW we differ. We can disagree. Even passionately. But that doesn't mean we should hate.

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