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Looking Inside

By: Rav Aharon E. Wexler

The God of Israel is the God of History. When God appeared to us at Sinai, He did not introduce himself with, “I am the Lord your God who created heaven and earth,” but rather, “I am the Lord your God who took you out of Egypt.” God makes himself known to man by acting through history to bring about His will.  The Tanach is a record of God’s interactions with man.

The final book added to the biblical cannon is the one we will read next week, the book of Esther. As is well known, the book of Esther differs from the rest of Tanach in its omission of the name of God. Esther tells the story of the Jews in exile, facing for the first time the silence of God. No longer does God appear as he did to Yeshayahu or Amos. The book of Esther lacks any of the “Thus says the Lord of Hosts!” that pepper the other books of the Bible.

Esther and Mordechai are faced with the destruction of the Jewish people and must act in the vacuum of any obvious sign from God pointing the way to bring the salvation for His chosen. Esther and Mordechai must use the tools learned over the past millennia to interpret history and find a way out of their impending doom. They do so brilliantly, as ‘history’ falls into place and light and gladness is brought to the Jews.

The book of Esther is God’s final message to the Am Yisrael. It sets the stage for a people who have matriculated beyond the biblical period and are now ready to take their first steps into adulthood. This new rabbinic period is one in which we will have to look inward to the Torah and ourselves to find God’s will, rather than upward towards the heavens to hear His prophetic call.

The book of Esther is our annual reminder that we must act to advance the cause of the Jewish people; that we must do so in God’s silence, but also in the faith that He is behind everything, pulling the strings like a master puppeteer to tell the story He has to share.









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