This Wednesday my son and I are heading to Yerushaliyim to our annual Matzah Baking. We’ll be spending most of the day, running around shopping for things we can’t get here, and then start baking at 6:30pm. We’ll probably finish by 11:30pm and will have to make a decision to attempt to drive back up north or stay overnight. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good group of guys who work together. My official job is to cool down/weigh/pack/mark all the matzos and boxes. I think I’ve been doing this for 12 years or so. Each year I write something silly on everybody’s boxes, such as “Made in China”, “This year we washed our hands before starting”, “Find a Pita, Win a Prize!” Much to my friends chagrin, everybody comes in when they have few minutes to read what everybody has on their boxes. So, I get the attention, while he, who is doing the actual baking, gets none. Poor him J
If anybody has any cute ideas on what to right, I’m certainly open. I’m running out of them, and if I write things from previous years, I get in trouble.
p.s. Due to the intensity of the day and coming home, etc… I’m not sure I’ll be around next week to write.
“When the king’s word and law were publicized, and when many young girls were gathered to Shushan the capital, to Hagai, Esther was taken to the palace (literally: house of the king), to Hagai, keeper of the women” (Esther: 2:8)
It’s important, that while learning Megillas Esther, to remember that there are many layers of the Megillah. Many things are hidden within the words. After all, that is one of the overall themes of Purim… the hiddenness of Hashem in the story. We have a tradition to that there is a difference in meaning when the Megillah says “King Achashverosh” or simply “The King”. When the text says “King Achashverosh” it’s speaking of King Achashverosh himself. When it says “The King”, it IS speaking of King Achashverosh on a simple level, but, on a deeper lever, it’s speaking of Hashem.
As I was learning the Megillah, I was trying to keep this in mind, and trying to see how to fit “Hashem” into the story. I thought occurred to me when I learned the above pasuk, specifically, “Esther was taken to the house of the King…”
Here we have Esther, who grew up in the home of Mordecai, one of the leaders of world Jewry, and THE leader of the Jewish people in Shushan. She grew up in the frummest of the frummest home. She is a direct descendant of King Shaul… and suddenly, she is ripped away from her home to be brought in front of Achashverosh himself, knowing there’s a chance he will force her to marry him. Can you imagine something like this happening to a frum girl today that grew up in Meah Shaarim?
Yet, the pasuk says that she was taken to the house of the King, not the house of King Achashverosh.
I want to propose that perhaps we see a sign of where she “was holding” spiritually. While normal people would have begun a descent into the pits of depression, Esther was different. She strengthened herself at this critical juncture where things were seemingly lost, and actually grew because of it. Her spiritual level grew in faith in Hashem, and therefore, she was brought to the “house of the King”, being Hashem himself. It’s known that for every descent, there could be an ascent to follow, that would bring a person to even higher levels that he was previously at. And this, I propose, is a proof to show that is exactly what happened with Esther.
Whenever we start to feel depressed or down, or we feel that our spiritual situation has been slipping, fortify yourself emotionally and spiritually. Keep yourself involved in Torah and mitzvos, even if it’s just at a basic level… you never know when the ascent will happen and where it will take you if you just hold on.
Have a great Shabbos!