Egypt is in disarray. Syria is teetering, as Al-Qaeda takes stronger and stronger hold there. Israeli troops are massing on the northern border in preparation for a Hezbollah attack. This one – they fear – will be reinforced with chemical weapons seized from Assad. Israeli citizens are lining up for gas masks once again and preparing bomb shelters.
What lies ahead for the Nation of Israel? Can the Jewish people ever find some comfort and security?
It is worth considering that these latest events are taking place right around Purim – a holiday that celebrates God’s hidden hand behind world events. Purim teaches us that, when we connect the dots, amazing patterns emerge leading us to… salvation.
This Purim/Zachor sermon seeks to do so by examining the behavior of the King Achashverosh of Persia – who seems to be a most mysterious man possessed of two faces. First, he sides with Haman in his genocidal plot against the Jews. Then, he sides with Esther and Mordechai and, because of him, instead of Purim being a day of tragedy for the Jews, it became a day of celebration.
So what are we to make of all this waffling? Was he a villain? Was he a hero? Or was he just an idiot who couldn’t make up his mind?
In answering these questions, we take the enigma of Achashverosh – and indeed the enigma of Purim – further. We connect the dots – the pixels of history – to create a bigger picture that explains the past and gives us a glimpse into the future.
And in the process we find the answer to the following questions as well: Who are the players in the current conflict in the Middle East? How can we help them find their way to fulfill their divine mandate? And what each of us can do about it in our personal lives?