The rabbis tell us that nothing happens by chance. So it is more than interesting that Adas Israel, The Jewish Congregation of Mason City, Iowa received a telephone threat this past Sunday. The caller said, "We're going to spray your sh--ty synagogue with pigs blood. Get the f-ck out!" While we find this repulsive and hateful there is a large lesson here:
This week we will read the Book of Esther for the holiday of Purim. Purim marks the holiday in which the Jews were saved from the evil Haman. Here is that story, in brief:
In the Book of Esther we learn the evil Haman cooks up a plan to have all the Jews in the land murdered. He tells the king that any troubles the kingdom has had is the fault of the Jews. (Sound familiar?) Haman also sees himself as worthy of being the king so he plans to assassinate the king once the Jews are out of the way. Esther, the wife of the king, learns of the evil plot and is encouraged to report this to her husband. But, here is the back-story. Esther is Jewish but has kept that a secret. Her uncle Mordecai tells Esther that she must share this news with the king. But, to do so could threaten Esther's life.
In the end Esther does go before her husband and shares the plot and plead the case for her people. The king is incensed and it is Haman and his henchmen who are executed and Mordecai is given a commission as prime minister.
The lesson is this...evil is allowed to triumph when good people do nothing.
The outpouring of support from Mason City and the rest of Iowa has been welcomed. This Friday evening we will not only read from the Book of Esther but we will also read from the book of Deuteronomy 25:17-19 in which the Jews are commanded to remember (zachor) what evil there is in the world and to never let it win.
Services at Adas Israel are at 7pm this Friday evening 10 March. Our Midrash or Bible Study will take place on Saturday starting at 10am.
May you have a peaceful Shabbat and holiday of Purim.