(Don’t Run) FAST for Your Life: Taanis Esther to the Rescue!

Taanis Esther - Miriam Leah
Taanis Esther - Miriam Leah

This past year has horrifyingly proven, unequivocally, that our archenemies openly will continue to terrorize us until we are none. They have become more brazen and heinous.   Amalek of long ago never really left, rather he has been evolving and gaining strength throughout the centuries, in different guises. Unforgivably worse, the world has not only joined hands but embraced him while our children are being slaughtered. The nations readily mock and defame us, yet cry for his wretchedness!

Before Purim we fast on the 13th of Adar.  As in the days of Esther and Mordechai, it is incumbent upon us to fast for our lives, immerse ourselves in prayer, and do Teshuva.  For only the Holy One Blessed Be He can rescue us from obliteration.  Taanis Esther is really not a “minor” fast!

Celebrations of Purim are withheld until the Taanis is over.  Comes the Megillah of Esther to enlighten us and bring us renewed strength.   Megillas Esther tells us a bizarre and yet wondrous story of intrigue when you think about it.

On Purim, we forgot who we were, wanted to fit in and please the wrong king.  Purim presents Amalek’s descendant, Haman, preying on the weak.  Weak, precisely because faith in HaShem wasn’t what it should have been, so national unity was absent.  Throughout the generations, as told in the Haggadah, nations rise to rid the world of HaShem’s Chosen people.  Haman certainly was determined to do just that, for no other reason than we were Jews.  To Haman the thought of not getting his way and feeling that his power was challenged, because one Yid literally stood up to him and wouldn’t bow, sadly wasn’t remarkable.  It was tragically revealing.

Many characters in the Megillah depict the diversity of human nature.  Arrogance, greed, foolishness, wickedness, passiveness, modesty, humility, bravery, faithfulness… it’s all in there.  It is largely a story of deceptions and plots.  Things often weren’t what they appeared to be.  Everything turned on its head in the end.

Twice we must listen to the whole Megillah, uninterrupted:  First we do so after we complete our fasting and again the next morning.  Then, when we are infused with hope, we do as Mordechai revealed and directed -to lead us in national unity: we give Tzedakah, Matanos l’Evyonim, deliver Mishloach Manos, and ensure all have a hearty festive Purim Seudah.

Purim is a day of rejoicing, we were slated for annihilation but with HaShem’s help through Esther and Mordechai, v’Nahafoch Hu, we were given the chance to eradicate our enemies without holding back.

Remarkably, we as Jews have our Holy Land of Eretz Yisroel.  We have the ability to defend ourselves in our own land as we haven’t since the times of David HaMelech.  How incredible!  It is unquestionable that the Ribbono Shel Olam orchestrated this modern day miracle.  It is ours to reconnect with our G-d and serve Him by doing His Mitzvos.  It is ours to build. It is for our children and their children for generations to come.

The forces of Amalek are thriving in the world nonetheless.  The Persia of yesteryear is the Iran of today.  Israel struggles for her very survival.  We must never allow Amalek to prey on the weak again, nor gain any stature.  There are Amalek viceroys and there are every day Amalekites who deceive.  The perils of deceit are hurtful and dangerous.  They can strip and destroy one to the point of despair.  They somehow will never accept us or the fact that we can fight for ourselves in our Holy Land.  Rockets, bombs, knives, rocks, and text books are all weapons of mass destruction in their hands.  They vehemently seek to push us into the sea, wash us away into vast nothingness.  It is an ongoing battle not to let Amalek consume and conquer us or our spirit.

Purim is coming and we will once again be listening to Megillas Esther.  Why must we not miss a single word?

The fascinating detail of the Purim Megillah is that while HaShem’s divine name never appears in the text, there are too many occurrences of “coincidences” to be overlooked.    Hashgacha clearly is ubiquitous.  Melech Malchei HaMelachim, Our King of Kings was always there.  Are we paying enough attention?  Does this register with us?  Will the Amaleks of the world ever come to realize HaShem always protects His people?  Each and every word is of import, hidden meanings abound. We are commanded to eradicate Amalek and thus make noise during the recitation of Haman’s name during Megillah reading.  We still have to hear his name, much as it horrifies us.  We need to know who our enemies are.

Purim is hard.  Families gather and spend time together and much is done in jest.  Unfortunately, a whole “megillah” of horrific things has happened this year, twisted plots and all!  We have lost too many loved ones to terror and tragedy, zk’l.  How can we possibly celebrate?  Should we give up, run for our lives?

*I  BELIEVE we FAST,  that Taanis Esther gives us the opportunity to fervently pray for the strength and courage of Esther and Mordechai, and for the Amaleks of deceit to perish!

We need only remember The Almighty One is always here, He is present through all our difficulties and challenges, even when we are overwhelmed by enormous odds.  Surely the Megillah shows us this.  It’s whether or not we choose to see or accept His presence which makes the difference in our lives.

Then we’ll be ready to celebrate Purim to the fullest!  Costumes, delicious Hamantashen, crazy “grammen” lyrics sung just for the sake of laughing, all pretty good stuff…  until oh my, when one doesn’t know to bless or curse which ??  Was it Mordechai or Haman?   Boooo! – get out those Graggers!

Purim Graggers – Miriam Leah

In stark contrast to the terrorists giving their children candies to celebrate the deaths they’ve inflicted, and scorning us as Jews,  we’ll be sweetening our children’s lives with yummy goodies and candies in simcha that our fasting and prayers came to the rescue!

 v’Nafoch Hu!     Chag Purim Sameach!


Miriam Leah

(*see my previous post)

About the Author
Miriam Leah Epstein Preil grew up in the midwest, but her heart has always been in Israel! She began playing piano by ear when she was six years old, and by age seven was already studying piano seriously. Her musicality and passion for music were remarkable from an early age. She and the piano are inseparable! Music fills her life and home. Miriam Leah has composed pieces for piano, piano and voice, and many Niggunim. Her poetry is unique, each poem stands on its own yet becomes greater within her collection of poems. All universal. She utilizes her writing to engage people in thought, stir discussion, share insights, support causes, bring forth truths, educate, and inspire souls. She has taught Judaics and Jewish music extensively in Jewish Day schools for many years. Miriam Leah combines her love of music and creative writing with her devotion to Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel, through her writing of Divrei Torah and advocating for Jewish values and Israel.
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