The whole Megillah, revisited

Posted by on 03.10.09 | 12 Comments
Filed Under Uncategorized

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

This post is part of a synchroblog that is more or less monthly. This month’s blogfest celebrates International Women’s Day. And by the way, this is the 2nd anniversary month of the Virtual Tea House. Happy birthday to us!

What I did this month is a little different–I asked my dear Jewish friend Krayna what woman in the Torah she admires most, and with the votes all in, it was Esther. Last night, March 9 Krayna and an intimate group of Jewish friends plus lucky token Gentile friends, Andy and me, celebrated the Feast of Purim. It was a fabulous re-enactment–with some embellishment–of the story of Esther, helped along with martinis. According to these knowledgeable friends, the recap of most Jewish feasts is: ‘They tried to kill us. It didn’t succeed. Let’s eat.’

Our little festival was complete with face paint, outlandish costumes and jewelry, and hours of dancing to Motown, Jagger, and eventually even to the 45′s! The point of the festival is to eat, drink and be merry until you can’t tell Haman from Mordechai. I’m happy to report that we got there! I wish you all could have been there, but the pictures are locked up and won’t be released until we’re all dead, but never forgotten, you know?

Here without further ado is Krayna’s perspective on Esther, certainly the woman of the year, whichever year that was. She’d be the woman of the year in any year, in any time, any religion, any circumstance, me thinks. May she inspire all of us towards grace, integrity and grit. May what is concealed in us be revealed. Enjoy!

Purim is celebrated in the month of Adar; it is written that when Adar enters, joy increases (Mi sheh nichnas Adar marbim b’simcha). Purim is akin to “carnival”, given the high spirits and festivities that abound: masks, costumes, rule-breaking, noise makers, parties, special pastries and “intoxication”. We celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Esther is the heroine of the story (“megillah”) – and the Megillah of Esther is read during Purim.

The bold daring of Esther always fulls me with awe and joy. She was orphaned at a young age and raised by relatives. She transforms from Orphanhood to inhabit her Queenly Self by the end of the megillah. Esther is chosen to become part of the king’s harem. She keeps her identity hidden; no one in the palace knows she is Jewish. The word for “hidden” is “nistar”; Esther is nistar, concealed. Some aspect of herself is concealed, even from her.

She is approached by her relative, the humble Mordachai, for her help after Haman’s plan to slaughter all the Jews, with the king’s agreement, is unmasked. After some initial reservation, as she will need to entreat the king to stop Haman, she decides to pray and fast for three days and nights. She tells Mordechai to ask the community of Jews to do the same. After three days and nights, she goes from “purdah”, the women’s abode in the palace, to see the king.

Imagine the very long corridor she walks down, slowly, not knowing as she leaves her familiar zone, whether she will live or die when she presents herself to the king. The risk she takes could cost her her very life, as no one comes to the king unbidden. Her audacious, fierce determination, and her Queenly essence become revealed, “nigleh”, as her core identity is unmasked. Beneath her costume, persona, fears and habitual way of life, is revealed a deeper, hidden essence, or truth. In presenting herself and her request to the king, her Jewish identity is also unmasked. Her inner authority and relationship to the Divine are all conveyed in that moment; the king does not have her killed, but instead, agrees to assist her and her Jewish community. Haman’s plan is foiled, and by the end of the megillah, he is hanged. Everything is turned inside out, upside down!

How did Esther do it? How did she put her life on the line? Certainly, she prayed and fasted for three days and nights. As Reb David Wolfe-Blank, of blessed memory teaches, she “intoxicated the small mind” that inhibits intuitive knowing and the capacity to “surrender to functional responses.” She instead, was flooded with awareness of herself as a G-d drenched being, a Queenly being with a royal inheritance.

G-d’s name is never mentioned anywhere in the megillah, and is seemingly concealed, yet, the Holy is revealed as present and active through the action. Esther’s journey is one of transformation from concealment to revelation. This is a very powerful teaching for me about the intertwining nature of concealment/revelation, and the discernment of G-d’s presence in every fiber and detail of my life. Purim, and Esther, inspire me to become more transparent and unmasked. In so doing, I revel in the joy of Oneness with all life within the world of multiplicity. I remember my own “little Purims” – the times when against all odds, it turned out as I make my “purdah walk” in life. Oy, joy…and I celebrate!

A bow of thanks to Rabbi Marcia Prager for her teachings on this!

Please visit my friends’ blogs to see other outstanding posts focusing on celebration of International Women’s Day.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

]]>

timeline

12 Comments

have your say

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

:

: