The month of Adar occupies a unique place in the Jewish calendar. It is a month of great joy and celebration. So much so that our tradition teaches that if one has a court case it is best to schedule it for hearing during the month of Adar. For a mourner, however, the restrictions on celebration remain even during Adar; so much so that even on the holiday of Purim an aveil’s participation in the joyous customs of the day are greatly restricted. Thus, this year my Purim will be quite muted. I will not receive Shalach Manos (holiday gifts) and for the first time that I can remember Marilyn and I will be alone for the Purim seudah (festive meal). Without a doubt approaching the Purim holiday from the perspective of a mourner is among the most potent messages delivered during the year of mourning.
This is all the more true in light of world events. How telling that just a day before the start of the Purim holiday the Prime Minister of Israel had to take the world stage to warn the world of the very real existential threat that Iran, the Persia of today, represents to the Jewish State and Jewish People and to plead as Queen Esther did in her day, “if it please the King let my life be given at my petition, and my people at my request: for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated.”
How demoralizing and frightening that today’s King Ahashverosh, President Obama, pointedly and immediately dismissed the plea and petition.
Clearly, the Almighty has His plan. He will never forsake the Jewish People. Tonight when we read Megilas Esther (the Story of Esther) we must stop and repeat – again and again – the words of Mordechai to Queen Esther, “relief and deliverance will arise to the Jews from elsewhere”. Only when that message is chiseled into our hearts and minds will we and Jews everywhere experience “light and gladness, joy and honor”.