“The Jews fulfilled, and accepted upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them…” (Esther 9:27)
While the plain meaning of this verse refers to the holiday of Purim, ordained at that period (as a result of the events of the book of Esther), the wording contains a puzzle. Presumably, one must “accept” a law first, and then fulfill it, not the other way around, as in this verse. Therefore, our Sages see an indication here that the Jews renewed their fulfillment and acceptance at this time of a law ordained prior to these events. Specifically, when God revealed the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai, the force of the miraculous revelation left Israel with no room to refuse. As such, their acceptance lacked an element of free will which would have made their acceptance complete. The redemption that occurred at the time of Purim, however, took place with no open miracles, no supernatural revelations “proving” undeniably that God brought about the salvation of the Jews. The Jews had the liberty of seeing the invisible hand of God acting through “natural” events, or to interpret the fortuitous turnaround of events, the shift from the pits of despair to the halls of celebration, as the result of a confluence of accidents. The Jews chose to see God as their redeemer, thereby ratifying their original acceptance of the Torah, their covenant with God, with a newfound degree of free will they had not had at Sinai. Their new reacceptance of the Torah surpassed that of Sinai, for the Jewish people undertook this acceptance absolutely willingly, with no coercive factor present.
We find ourselves today in a similar position to that of the Jews in Persia at the time of Esther. We live in a time in which open miracles and “absolute proofs” do not greet our senses in our daily living. Yet we can see God’s workings in the world around us if we so CHOOSE.
In the merit of choosing God, may He choose us in turn, and may we merit to see the final redemption speedily in our days!
Visit us on Facebook: facebook.com/60secondsoftorah
(Image from: fabuloussavers.com)