A Modern Purim Message

Question

Hi Rabbi, what do you think is an inspiring message that we can learn from Purim to improve our everyday life? Thanks and Happy Purim!

5 months

Answers

  1. We spend our lives looking for excitement, fulfillment, happiness and closeness to God. We somehow dream that it exists elsewhere — wherever we are not. If we only had another job, another family, another community, then…. I would like to share a story whose message is that happiness and fulfillment must come from within; that God is close to us in whatever situation we find ourselves. And, if all only we “look” — we would find.

    Rabbi Nachman of Breslov used to tell the story of a poor man who once dreamed that if he would travel to a certain bridge in Vienna he would discover a great treasure.

    After having the same dream two or three times in a row, he began the long trek by foot. Arriving in Vienna after many months, he noted that the bridge was patrolled by foot-guards. As a result, he could dig at the base of the bridge for only a few hours in the middle of the night and then needed to painstakingly cover up his work before the morning.

    After digging for months, he was finally apprehended. When the guard accused him of espionage, the poor Jew responded that he was simply following the dream that he had in Warsaw. The guard laughed derisively, “How stupid you are to follow your dream! I, too, had a dream that under a pauper’s hut in Warsaw I would find a buried treasure. Do you think I would ever bother to make such a foolish trip?”

    And guess what? When the pauper turned around and went home to his own town, his own house, his own bed, he discovered that the treasure was there the whole time. He did not need to go anywhere. All he had to do was look — and he would find.

    Rabbi Nachman commonly offered no explicit moral for his parables. He used to say that even if you learn nothing from the story, at least you enjoy the story! Here, however, the moral here is clear.

    The message of this story is important the entire year, but has special connection to Purim. We often seek the Hand of God in the flamboyant, the dramatic, the miraculous or the supernatural — that which is far removed from the mundane experiences of our daily lives. Purim, was a “nes nistar” — a hidden non-supernatural miracle which could be misunderstood as a series of coincidences. It occurred in a time of Divine concealment, through a heroine whose very name connotes concealment, Esther. Purim teaches us to see God and feel His loving embrace in whatever place we are.

    And by reminding us that surface appearances do not correspond with inner realities, ultimate purposes, and final meanings, Purim should impel all of us to search for that hidden treasure within — the core reality that underlies the superficial. And if we search, we shall surely find.

    Happy Purim!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team