Rabbinic Reflections: Shabbat Tetzaveh

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our first entry of Rabbinic Reflections which will appear each Shabbat and include some announcements as well as thoughts for the week.

First, as we enter the month of Adar, we are reminded of the Mitzvah to be happy. As our tradition teaches, “one who enters Adar shall rejoice.”

Well, you certainly have come to the right place! On Monday night March 9th @7:30pm we will join in costume and friendship for a special reading of the Megillah, followed, of course, by snacks and festivities. It promises to be a memorable evening and we encourage you to bring your personal happiness into our midst. For those of you who are early risers, please feel free to join again on Tuesday March 10th @6:30am, followed by bagels and coffee.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting characters in the Megillah is Uncle Mordecai. We know that he stands up for his people and encourages Esther to do the same. But, think about it! While this was going on, Haman had already set up a 150-foot tree from which to hang him (obviously, they did not have the same zoning laws as here in Fort Lee).

However, before Haman’s plot comes to fruition, Mordecai saves the King, works with Esther to save the Jews and is paraded through the streets in royal clothing on the King’s horse (again, here, probably no Department of Traffic regulations).

Rashi, a medieval commentator, notes alongside the Midrash Rabba, that the amazing thing about Mordecai was that he was the same at the beginning of the story as he was at the end. He was the same righteous individual under pressure as he was when finally becoming the victor. Regardless of life’s circumstances, each day he remained a model human being in terms of sharing his love of God and Judaism with others throughout his community.

So, while the theme of the Purim story is in many ways that of Antisemitism, I prefer to take the more positive message of steadfast love of God and the Jewish community. We here at CBIOTP want to share that love and continue to share happiness with all.

B’Shalom Rabbi Eric L. Wasser