Newsletter

ROYAL APPAREL

Roy Neuberger - Feb. 27, 2015


As I write, it is the coldest day I can remember in my entire life. Since when does the New York temperature drop to zero, with gale-force winds? Is anything normal these days?


Last Friday night we lost electric power. Thankfully, we have an emergency generator, which got us through the Sabbath and basically enabled us to keep warm. With hot cholent (delicious traditional Sabbath stew) “borrowed” from a neighbor, we made it through.

The wind is howling and the temperature is dangerously low. A person could die outdoors tonight. As King David says, “He hurls His ice like crumbs; who can stand before His cold?” (Psalms 147:17) We live behind a fragile layer of protection. When the power fails, we have the generator, but what if the generator fails? What if the electrical grid breaks down, either through accident or sabotage? What if ….?

And so we come to the holiday of Purim.

Do we have any concept of the magnitude of this story? Do we have any clue how big the events are about which we read in the Scroll of Esther? Well, G-d is helping us to understand, because, around us in the world today, epic events are also transpiring. In Shushan, suddenly all our protection was removed.

There is a massive plan to history, which our prophets foretell and our sages explain. We can affect that plan positively, but only by trying to understand what the Master of the Universe wants of us. We can come out on the “good side” if we hang onto Him and His Torah with a steel grip.

“How great are Your deeds, G-d. Exceedingly profound are Your thoughts. A boor cannot know, nor can a fool understand this. When the wicked bloom like grass and all the doers of iniquity blossom, it is to destroy them until eternity.” (Psalms 92)

We believe we know what is happening in the world, but “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways… saith the L-rd. For just as the rain and snow descend from heaven and will not return there … so shall be My word that emanates from My mouth, it will not return to Me unfulfilled unless it accomplish what I desired and brought success where I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)

The great rabbis have a way of putting these words into very powerful perspective. Recently, I saw the account of a talk delivered by Rabbi Yaakov Galinsky about the insignificance of man and the danger of crediting oneself for one’s accomplishments. “Rav Galinsky, who was very short, remarked, ‘Who would ever have thought that I would be taller than the Twin Towers!’” (Yated Ne’eman)

We believe that we are living in an advanced civilization. It is easy to become infatuated with the achievements of Esau’s culture. But the Twin Towers fell in a few minutes, and today, the same people who attacked the World Trade Center are attacking targets all over the world. (In today’s news: “Terror in Denmark” and the murder of Egyptian Copts in Libya.)


The Jews in Shushan thought that they were living the “good life.” Suddenly, “King Achashveirosh promoted Haman ben Hamadasa ha’Agagi and elevated him! (Esther 3:1) The Talmud tells us that, in the days before Messiah, “the Holy One will appoint a king over us whose decrees will be as harsh as those of Haman.” (Sanhedrin 97b) – unless we return to Him!

Should we not be afraid? We have a choice: tremble before man – which is forbidden– or tremble before the King of Kings!

There is a fascinating correlation between this week’s Torah portion and the Scroll of Esther. G-d says, “You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aharon …” (Exodus 28:2) And the Scroll of Esther tells us, “Mordechai left the king’s presence clad in royal apparel of turquoise and white with a large gold crown and a robe of fine linen and purple…. (8:15)

Do we tremble when we pray? Ideally, “one must pause for an hour before he prays, in order to apply his heart… and pause for an hour after the prayer…. One should approach with … dread and submission.” (Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim 93) Granted that is the level of exceptional people, but that is the goal.

Do we dress as if we are standing before the King? If we knew Who was in front of us, would we not want to take upon ourselves the appearance of nobility like Aharon the High Priest or Mordechai? If we lack at least the appearance of nobility, it implies that we do not think we are actually standing before Him. In order to speak in G-d’s Presence, we have to believe we are in G-d’s Presence!

The Talmud says that when we say “G-d is One”, the words should be “al levavecha… on your heart” (Berachos 13a). Do we place the words upon our heart? Do we translate physical actions into spirituality?

A great man recently stated that G-d demonstrated the meaning of the Half Shekel by showing Moses the “fiery shekel” from beneath His throne. Everything on earth, including ice and bitter cold, is a reflection from the spiritual realm. The events of today, like the huge events which occurred long ago in Shushan, are precursors of monumental changes which will bring redemption to this beleaguered planet. Even in this generation, we can try to imitate Aharon and Mordechai. If we don the robes of royalty, then perhaps we will merit to stand before the Throne of Glory.

Like our ancestors in Shushan, may we soon see “the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and the month which had been turned about for them from one of sorrow to gladness and mourning to festival!” (Esther 9:22) When salvation comes, we will all be robed in royal apparel like Aharon and Mordechai!

 

Recent Posts


Tags

Babylon Magog Benjamin Teshuva Exodus Isaac Earth Passover Seder Moses eternal Protective edge Jews commandment menorah chaos Abraham media lights bris milah Purim Eglon judgement High Priest repent repentance Bais Hamikdosh mitzvos Esau Sukkah Holy land Edom Matriarchs Maccabeans Tallis Geula Talmud Sefiras haOmer King of the Universe Pinchas darkness heavenly gates Nation of Israel death Rosh Hashanah sanctity Zechariah sin mikveh Song of Songs Israel Divine presence materialism King David Rome Rachel meraglim Master of the Universe Greeks Judah Jerusalem flood Balak terrorist Red Sea Holocaust Holy Ark hubris Yerushalayim Amram Heavenly Mercy evolution Jewish festival Torah pain rosh chodesh Hebrew war leprosy yeshiva keys Jeremiah deluge prayers secret 2020 Vision ancestors Amalek Creator Chafetz Chaim kesuba Pharaoh Shabbos Western Wall heaven Maimonides Moshiach automobiles danger Rashi Ishamael prayer book miracles Midrash Chol haMoed minyan kinneret siddur cries Ishmael Banias Mount Zion three weeks fault Mordechai redeemer shmittah Land of Israel Sukkos Malbim Moshe water locusts Judaism barley Tu b'Av High Holy Days Holy Temple Rabbi Akiva terror self-worship Beit Hamikdash yarmulke shofar night Matisyahu tabernacle plague Ten Commandments Torah portion Solar eclipse alone angel biblical Sea of Galilee slaves Ezekiel God Garden of Eden Aharon seder survival miracle Raiders of the Lost Ark Blame spirituality Lot eternity persecution mikveh, Sabbath idol Eve slavery Jewish People song Achashveirosh Miriam culture Rebbe Moshaich Terror Attack in Jerusalem prophet salvation evil Samuel the Prophet Zion, Angel Lunar eclipse Dead Sea Golan Jew moon stones Samuel Sabbath Galil Rosh Hashana stars Ashkenazi Adam Bilaam murder terrorism fear angels kosher Tisha b'Av Rebecca violence Europe Hashem Torah scholars cholent sun bible heavenly throne Elul Laban mitzva dreams Gog Jewish holidays kiddush tears Sages messiah G-d chessed rabbi fragrance missiles holiday Shushan Boaz Macabees Final redemption Prophecy ethics prayer Solomon Red Heifer blessing incense Ruth Sarah Joseph Moab Father in Heaven synagogue Tefillin tremors soul esrog Haman Psalms Hasmoneans Faith Angel of Death spies enemies India pray Mount Sinai Zohar Day of Judgement tablets patriarchs'matriarchs Hagar Second Temple purity Chanukah fires paradise liberation Esther Shavuos Sephardi Yom Kippur gossip Miraglim Chofetz Chaim Isaiah Canaan Mount Hermon logic United Nations sacrifices Passover forefathers King Solomon redemption Rabbis trees Babylonia Sodom prophet Samuel Ammon Yaakov Avraham Western World Baku rain Children of Israel America compassion exile Temple Egypt Zion Repentence creation Parsha priests Temple Mount holy patriarchs Shechina shield of Abraham evil inclination world to come king Day of Atonement terrorists peace Judgement Day idolatry brotherhood Psalm Ishmeal Leah matzos resurrection New Moon prophets End of Days Golden Calf light Genesis Holiness Abrahem Jacob Jewish Tzuk etan Golus earthquake spiritual David Tu b'Shvat Chanukkah bird Noah

Archive