THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT TZAV 5779

BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER

 

Before we find the connection between Purim and this week’s Parsha, we need first to address the seemingly unnecessary repetition of detail of the various types of sacrifice appearing both in last week’s Parshat Vayikra and this week’s Parshat Tzav. Simply put, last week the Torah discussed which offerings the individual can bring should he wish or need to offer a sacrifice. This week, however, the Torah instructs (Tzav) the Kohanim how to offer these sacrifices procedurally. And for the duration of the Temple periods, due to the daily and weekly sacrifices, HaShem was indeed an integral part of the daily lives of the common people, let alone the Kohanim and Leviim.

 

Contrast that with today, when we have no Temple, and HaShem continues to hide His Divine Presence. But then again, the whole story of the Megilla shows us that in spite of HaShem’s continued “Hester Panim” (hidden Presence), miracles continue to happen.

 

Incidentally, assuming the Purim story took place between the 2 Temples, some commentators criticise Mordechai and his generation for not making a larger effort to go to the Holy Land and take part in the building of the second Temple.

 

Personally, what I find so amazing about Purim is the roller-coaster dramatics of the Megilla. [It would surely make a great film.] Specifically, the inevitable uncertainty of what life has in store for us is what I learn from reading this powerful part of our History.

 

Before Haman came to power the Jews in the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire had it good. Too good. They were invited to and willingly participated in the regular feasts [orgies?] put on by the King. And suddenly they faced annihilation. One man, a newly promoted leader, changed everything.

 

Esther, an innocent orphan, lived a sheltered life with her famous uncle. And suddenly, because Queen Vashti refused to comply with the King’s demand that she appear naked in front of his courtiers, Esther is forced to leave her Jewish environs and live with the King. And when she is just starting to enjoy a break from her new “job”, she is asked to go back – at enormous personal risk.

 

Haman comes to the King to request permission to hang Mordechai. Instead he finds himself parading his sworn enemy in regal clothing on the king’s horse. And while attending an exclusive dinner party with the King and Queen, his seemingly all-powerful political position crumbles into disgrace and death.

 

The Jews faced certain and inevitable annihilation and overnight not only was the decree rescinded, they became heroes and idolised by the Persians.

 

And the list goes on.

 

How many times have your carefully prepared plans been changed by totally unexpected new circumstances? How many of us anticipated not that long ago that we would be living here in Netanya, and part of this amazing Community?

 

The trick is to recognise that in spite of the Hester Panim and no daily Temple activity, HaShem still remains very much part and parcel of our daily lives.

 

Shabbat Shalom,