The recent motion that was passed in the House of Commons stopping arms supplies to Israel and reinstating funding for UNWRA, is certainly very alarming. We are motivated to strengthen our efforts to increase awareness of the truth about Hamas and of the Jewish people’s right to live in Israel. At the same time, it should be a wake-up call to recognize that we cannot rely on the Canadian government or any government or individual to ensure our existence. This lesson can be found in the Megillah, in the story of Purim.

When Mordechai discovers Haman’s plot to commit genocide and kill all the Jews, he sends a message to Esther, telling her she needs to go to King Achashveirosh and plead on behalf of the Jewish people. Esther responds that if she goes to the King uninvited, she could be killed – and then who would be in position to save the Jews. Mordechai responds with one of my favorite lines in the Megillah. “Do not imagine that you will be able to escape in the King’s palace any more than the rest of the Jews. For if you persist in keeping silent at a time like this, Revach v’hatzalah ya’amod laYehudim mimakom acher, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from some other place, while you and your father’s house will perish, and who knows at this time next year if you will still retain your exalted position.”

Mordechai is telling Esther that even if she doesn’t go to the king, Hashem will save the Jews through some other means. You have an opportunity to be the one, but don’t think the Jews won’t be saved if you can’t do it. Esther agrees to take on the mission and go to the king. She now understands that becoming the Queen of the Persian Empire was highly unlikely, just so that she could be in position to save the Jews. She tells Mordechai to gather all the Jews and have them fast and pray for 3 days. She then invites Haman and Achashveirosh to a party just for them.  Why did Esther need to invite Haman? Why couldn’t she just speak to Achashveirosh by himself?

Esther was concerned that despite the threat to their lives, the Jewish people felt a sense of security knowing that Esther, the Jewess, was in the palace. Esther wanted to make sure that they understood the source of their deliverance was only One – Hashem. By Esther inviting Haman, the Jews would be concerned that they lost an ally, and they would devote their energies focused in supplication to Hashem.

While we must make every effort to convince our political leaders to help Israel and the Jewish people, we cannot lose sight of the fact that ultimately our salvation and support is from Hashem. We all play an important role on behalf of the Jewish people. We must pay attention and use the opportunities that present themselves to take direct action. At the same time, we continue with our prayers and Mitzvah performance knowing that it is Hashem who will bring our redemption.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach,

Rabbi Shaps and the JET Team