Soon we will be reading the Megillah (scroll) of Esther this Purim, which is also Le’galot Ha’ester (meaning “to reveal what’s concealed”). The word Esther is related to the Hebrew word, “I will hide,” which is said in Devarim when God says, “I will surely hide my face.” (Deuteronomy 32:15) The Megillah is one of the only books in Scripture not to mention Hashem’s name at all. It’s a story that took place in the Persian Empire long after the Biblical stories in which the miracles and revelations took place.

Purim, like the present, is a time in which Hashem, Melech Ha’olam (King of the Universe), has hidden himself in the universe (Olam / עולם). The root of ‘Olam’ is also something that is unseen, hidden or disappeared (Ne’elam / נעלם). Hashem has hidden himself in the universe so that our actions are of our own free will, but when we create space for Him, we can peel back a bit of the concealment and see Him guiding and blessing us.

During Passover, we retell the story of Egypt to relive it as if we too are being freed and to remember that we too were once strangers in a strange land. With Purim it is said, “If one reads the Megillah in the wrong order (‘literally, ‘backwards’), he has not fulfilled his obligation.” The Baal Shem Tov explains that this refers to a person who reads the Megillah believing that the story it tells occurred only in the past (as a retrospective account) and that the miracle does not endure into the present. With that mindset, the  person hasn’t fulfilled their obligation, because the purpose of reading the Megillah every year is for each person to learn how a Jew should behave in the present. Purim is the living revelation of the concealed. 

As we go into Purim, we need to tap into the energy of the month of Adar, known as a month of celebration and joy. Adar was the last month that B’nei Yisrael were in Egypt before the Exodus, the time right before things became clear and Redemption revealed itself. We learn in the Talmud that “when the month of Adar arrives, we increase in joy,” welcoming this time of miracles. I pray that we are able to celebrate and focus on joy, illuminating ourselves and each other, sharing and shining light to dispel all the darkness of concealment so that we can revel in the Light of the Infinite with the coming of the Moshaich and the final redemption, speedily. 


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