What better time to talk about Iran then at Purim, the commemoration of the heroism of Esther, who, with her cousin Mordecai, saved the Jews from a plot to destroy them entirely in ancient Persia, modern Iran? The villain in Esther’s story is Haman, an…
adviser to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.
The villain in the current Jewish drama (Iran and the bomb versus Jews and their instance on living) depends on your point of view. If you agree with the United Nations General assembly, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Hillary Clinton, then Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel are to blame for this region’s problems; the Arabs have no choice but to blow up things and dedicate themselves to he destruction of the “cancerous” Jewish state because…well, the Jews are here, they are thriving in the land, they defend themselves and they are building all those homes.
But Jews fighting to survive as a people is the same old stuff.
The celebration of Purim (which means “lots,” for the drawing of lots in the Esther story) is preceded by a “minor fast,” The Fast of Esther, and then things turn lighthearted. At school, at work and on the streets, children and adults dress in exotic costumes. There are Purim plays, fun-loving reenactments of the accounts from Esther. Gifts are exchanged. Songs are sung. We eat “Haman’s Ears.”
All this to commemorate just one of many episodes of the Jewish people withstanding attempted eradication—making a big deal out of abiding.
But not that all Jews are of like mind. There are elite factions in Israel and America, by their own account more enlightened, intelligent, thoughtful and insightful than just about anyone else, who, despite the enduring testimony of the famous Persian, Haman, and the Assyrian, Tiglath Pilesar III, the Babylonian King Nebuchandezzar II, Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Roman general Titus Augustus, Hadrian …
Bar Kochba’s rebellion had disastrous results. Cassius Dio, a second century Roman historian, claimed that the Romans killed 580,000 Jews during the war. The Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem, and are believed to have run a plow over all or part of the city. The surviving Jews were expelled and were banned from returning to Jerusalem.
…and numerous other events leading up to the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian pogroms and Adolph Hitler’s Final Solution, believe that an American president named Hussein is their friend and our modern day Haman, holocaust denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, can be reasoned with.
Not Torah, the Prophets, or the Writings but a bewilderingly smug liberal intellectualism is their surrogate faith, having become so clever they can no longer tell a friend from an enemy. No matter. Really intelligent Jews have guessed wrong in our furnace of affliction for several thousand years.
God has still spared us, not because we are deserving but because He said He would.
Who will save us now from American scolding, UN condemnation and the Iranian bomb? (And we will be saved.) It will not be liberal Jewish thought, the Israeli Defense Force, a UN committee, NATO nor an American president.
It will not be a man at all. Thank God.