My daughter was selected by her school to give a D'var Torah (a word of Torah) as part of this Motzie Shabbat (Saturday night) school celebration of the coming of the month of Adar and soon arrival of the festival of Purim.
Here's what we came up together (credit to the writings of the Rebbe's [grand rabbi's] of Lubavitch chassidim):
Are you afraid?
Israel is in danger. Terrorists, non-religious government.
Terrorists threaten America.
Mordechai refused to bow down. He was not afraid.
Why not? Because he was "Mordechai Hayehudi" (Mordechai the Jew). Yehudi (Jew)? He was from shevet Binyomin (the tribe of Benjamin, he should have been called Mordechai HaBinyomini, Mordechai the Benjaminite)! "Yehudi" is from "hoda'ah", meaning "to acknowledge". By refusing to bow to Hamon harasha (harasha=the evil), and the idol he wore, the Talmud says "when a person rejects idols, it's like he acknowledge the whole Torah". Yehudi, Yehudim, Jews, acknowledge the whole Torah.
We do not bow, generation after generation, we stand with Torah.
Halacha says, "One who reads the Megillah backwards has not fulfilled the mitzva of reading Megillah."
The Baal Shem Tov says a special meaning, if you read the Megillah thinking it's only about the past (backwards), you missed the point, instead it's about how a Jew should be at all times, now as in the past.
A story from Russia. There was a revolution, communists. They made Torah and mitzvot against the law.
In the city of Rostov, the 5th Rebbe of Lubavitch was with his yeshiva.
Purim came, the students came to the Rebbe, what to do?
The Rebbe said, "For the sake of Purim, we'll forget the situation. Go and buy drinks and let there be light for the Jews!"
They had a Purim party (a farbrengen).
Suddenly the police came and started banging on the door.
Said someone "Rebbe, the police are demanding to come in. If they see us gathered here it will be our end...G-d forbid."
The Rebbe said, "Open the door for them".
In the doorway stood two tall and scary policemen. "What is this gathering? What is going on?"
"This is the Rebbe Sholom Dovber of Lubavitch. He is teaching Torah to his Chasidim. The Rebbe is busy with his talk and he cannot be bothered."
The two police were amazed at the Chasid's nerve, and they turned and left.
"An open miracle!" the Chasidim exclaimed to one another. They felt protected and sang with greater energy. Thus passed two hours.
So in their joy, they did not hear the police knocking again... "Rebbe, what shall we do?" several scared Chasidim cried out.
The Rebbe said, "Open for them! I don't fear them." The Chasidim understood that another great miracle was about to occur.
The police burst through the door, their weapons in hand. The Rebbe ignored their threatening presence and said,
"We will begin saying some words of Torah." The Rebbe raised his voice and began, "Amalek is first among the nations but his end will be destruction."
The faces of the police softened. The swords returned to their sheaths, and they watched with growing perplexity as the Chasidim listened to their Rebbe. They looked at one another and then, without a word, turned and left...
Thursday, March 10, 2005
// 3/10/2005 //