The Megillah of Esther itself tells us that the memory and commemoration of the days of Purim will continue until eternity and never disappear from Jewish life. Extraordinarily, the Talmud expands this statement to mean that even at the end of days when the other commandments of the Torah may no longer be necessary because of the exalted state of spirituality within the Jewish nation and mankind as a whole, the commemoration and memory of the days of Purim will continue even then.
Jews live with a constant Purim story unfolding in all generations and over all time. The story of Purim, as it has come down to us through the writings of Mordechai and Esther, is a story replete with individual characters whose personalities and actions define the story itself. These characters are prototypes for later personalities, ideas, plots and events that occur throughout history.
Every generation is charged with reviewing the story of Purim in its time and to see the events and characters of its generation in the light of the grand heavenly scheme that Purim represents. Surveying today's scene and events, I think that I can identify someone who can fill the bill as far as King Achashveirosh is concerned. I can also cast someone as a humble and destroyed Queen Vashti.
There also are an abundance of tyrants, haters and corrupt officials who certainly can represent Haman in our current reconstruction of the Purim story. Even some of the minor characters of the Megillah, such as Charbonah can be discerned in our current world. But my fantasy Purim story has, as of yet, been unable to fit in the two main characters, the heroic figures that make the story of Purim timeless and eternal.
Who is to play the roles of Mordechai and Esther in our current Purim scenario? Where are they when, seemingly, we need them most? Against all odds, ignoring advice from friends and threats from foes, Mordechai will not kneel nor bow down to false gods and cruel tyrants. Queen Esther for her part risks life and limb, position and honor, wealth and comfort, to come to the aid of her people in their hour of need. She is a Jewess first and only secondarily is she the queen of Persia.
These two people, Mordechai and Esther, have set very high standards for Jewish behavior for all later generations. Criticized from within and persecuted from without, they persevered and through their loyalty and commitment to the Torah, people and the Jewish nation, brought about salvation and triumph.
There are such people amongst us today as well. Our task is to recognize and identify them, strengthen them in their efforts and support them against the misguided other Jews and non-Jews. All of us have the ability to fill in our own playbill with the characters – the heroes and villains, if you will – and construct our own current living Purim story. We live in momentous times where miracles abound for the Jewish people. Just as in the original Purim story the miracles were hidden and not necessarily obvious to all, so too is this the case in our time as well.
It apparently requires dangerous circumstances to bring about some semblance of Jewish unity. Even then, there are always those who dissent, carp and criticize. They were present in Persia long ago when the original Purim story unfolded, and they exist today in various forms, organizations and institutions. They always profess great human goals and deep concern for the future of the Jewish people while at the same time taking actions that are detrimental to the Jewish present and outrightly dangerous to the Jewish future.
Mordechai and Esther are a little too Jewish for them. They are too brash, too stubborn, too clannish and are unnecessarily provocative. Mordechai and Esther in their time did not receive universal approbation. It is only history, in its unfolding of events, that has proven them correct and heroic. We cannot expect that people who aspire to be Mordechai and Esther in our time should be universally accepted, loved, admired…. and followed.
This is a reality of Jewish and human life that must be accepted and factored into the general pursuit of the good and noble. Hidden miracles abound in our current world as far as the Jewish people are concerned. Anyone who has the good fortune of living in the Land of Israel today instinctively realizes this on a daily basis. Let us strengthen ourselves and be determined and strong as our current Purim story unfolds around us.