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Jewish Culture

How to Look at Current Events

Moshe Unger
Posted 3/11/22

The Holiday of Purim is approaching. This year it will be this coming Thursday, March 17. The Story of Purim is written in the Book of Esther – one of the last books to be canonized in the …

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Jewish Culture

How to Look at Current Events


The Holiday of Purim is approaching. This year it will be this coming Thursday, March 17. The Story of Purim is written in the Book of Esther – one of the last books to be canonized in the Bible.

The Book of Esther is somewhat less than 5,000 words. According to a Google search it takes 17 minutes to read 5,000 words. It’s worthwhile to take the time and read the story and if possible, to look at some commentaries. Especially this year, it has special relevance as I’ll try to show in this article. Aish.com or Chabad.org are good places to find interesting material on Esther.

The Book covers the famous story of King Ah’chash’veirosh or otherwise known as Xerxes who at a party kills his queen and then chooses Esther as a queen. Haman becomes prime minister and convinces Xerxes to kill the Jews. The Jews pray and a fast three days and then start a chain of events that turns around the decree. Esther calls the king to a party together with Haman. The king reads at night about Mordechai, the Jewish Minister, who saved him years back. Haman prepares gallows for Mordechai and tries to get the King to agree to kill Mordechai. The next day the King orders Haman to honor his enemy Mordechai. That night Esther accuses Haman of trying to kill her and he gets hung on the gallows he prepared for Mordechai.

Why is this story relevant for us?

This story spread over 13 years. Had we been there we would have seen every sequence of the story as a single news item. In hindsight we see a full story unfold. This is very true in our lives as well. We hear all sorts of news and headlines, including frightening ones. We shouldn’t get too carried away or too afraid because we are in the middle of a long story, we have absolutely no idea how things will work out.

In the story of Purim everything gets flipped. What seems bad at first turns out to be the source of salvation. This is also true with current events. Things get flipped and interesting events come out of unexpected results.

Many times, we don’t have to wait too long to see them – just a few years. I once pointed out here that the Iran deal that President Obama made that was seen as very bad for Israel turned out an unexpected result that the Gulf countries are making alliances with Israel in ways that was never imagined before.

As bad as the Russian invasion of Ukraine looks, I’m certain that good things will come out of it. There are a lot of people suffering now and we have to help them as much as we can and extend ourselves even more. However, we shouldn’t go into anxieties and worries about the future.

We can look back at our lives and see how the many sequences of events became a fascinating story. Many times, what looked bad was a place of hidden blessing. What we were worried about turned out to be the opposite. The challenges were opportunities of growth, and the obstacles helped us become what we are today.

G-d’s name is not mentioned in the entire Book of Esther, but the guiding hand of Hashem (G-d) is seen through the sequence of events. The same is with our lives in the past and the future and the same is with global events. Communism and Radical Islam was a challenge that built America. We could rest assured that everything will turn out best like the story of Purim. We just have to do ours - do the best we can and believe in the guiding hand of Hashem.

Comments? Email: moshe@mosheunger.com


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