Looking back, post-salvation, it always seems simple. The Jews knew they would be saved, they believed it, and things turned out happily ever after.
At times I wonder, though, what it was really like to be in the generation which left Egypt, or among the Yidden in Persia at the time of the Purim story. Did they really believe things would turn around and they would be saved? Did they, perhaps, believe it in the general sense, but then struggle with it in their day-to-day comings and goings?
How about the general population? Did they expect that miracles would happen to the Jews? Did they recognize G-d’s hand in the world travels and adventures of the Jewish people?
I suspect that in the future, when we will look back on our current time period, the eventual outcome will be just as clear as with the story of Purim. Though the events described in the Megillah took place over a span of 13 years, all of the happenings – the highs and the lows, the regular and the spectacular – led to one place: the great miracle of Purim which we celebrate to this very day.
One might even propose that we will look back and only see our faith. Not the daily struggles or the challenge of maintaining our emunah b’viat hamoshiach. Rather we will see a generation supra-rationally positive about the future, expecting the coming day to be better than the previous, as if possessed with inside knowledge on how it would all end up.
Meanwhile, who would’ve guessed we would have another candidate riding the wave of promises to “fix the system” and that voters would again line up to show they’re “fed up with the system?” It’s as if a candidate’s actual political experience is a negative, because their faults, inevitably, are on the public record. I’m assuming people don’t hire CEO’s this way.
“You say you have no experience? Perfect!”
“You know how to fix things although you’ve never done so? You’re hired!”
With the world in such disarray, wouldn’t we want someone who has actually accomplished something?
Either there’s a disconnect between the way we run our daily lives and our attitude toward the outcome of who we choose on the ballot, or we have been so spoiled by the labor and toil of the previous generations that we expect everything, ripping down anything in our path in which we find a fault – it’s either perfection or destruction.
In the international arena, we see another development which has caught everyone by surprise: the announced evacuation of Syria by the Russian army. Who knows who will fill up the vacuum they will leave behind? No one predicted Russia would enter Syria, and no one predicted they would suddenly leave. The truth is, no one predicted the Syrian revolution in the first place, or the partnership between Israel and many Arab countries, or that Israel would become a respected leader of the free world. One wonders when the political pundits will show a bit more realistic humility when boasting their knowledge of current realities and future events…
In the story of Purim, Mordechai and Esther had complete faith that miracles would happen but nonetheless, they fasted and prayed. Indeed that year they didn’t eat matzah on Pesach so that their teshuvah would be complete and accepted on high!
We too have complete faith that whether it’s Trump (for real?!) or Clinton (liar), Sanders (who?) or Cruz (run for cover!), we will continue to strengthen our presence in the Promised Land and with G-d’s help succeed wherever we are. Together with that, we must still do teshuvah and perform good deeds. Like Mordechai told Esther: salvation will surely come, but if you want to be a part of it then you have to answer the call.
The medrash says that the joy of Purim which followed the mesiras nefesh of all the Yidden is so great it will stand out even after the coming of Moshiach. It’s high time we experienced it for ourselves.
May we have a joyous Shabbos and a festive Purim together with the rest of the Jewish people,