“And Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches and the multitude of his sons, and all that the king had promoted him and that he had exalted him over the princes and the king's servants. And …
“And Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches and the multitude of his sons, and all that the king had promoted him and that he had exalted him over the princes and the king's servants. And Haman said,
“Esther did not even bring anyone to the party that she made, except me, and tomorrow, too, I am invited to her with the king. But all this is worth nothing to me, every time I see Mordechai the Jew sitting in the king's gate.”
This is a verse from the Book of Esther (5,11-13) which is read by Jews worldwide on Purim. This year Purim is on Thursday night and Friday morning, February 25-26.
The quote is Haman's words at the peak of his career and what led to his downfall. He had everything, he was prime minister, fabulously rich, and a very big family.
He orchestrated that everyone in the King's palace should bow down to him and everyone did except Mordechai. This made him very mad and his plot to kill Mordechai led to his downfall.
The verse hides a secret for life in his words. Haman said, “But all this is worth nothing to me”. He had virtually everything, as he himself recounts, but the one thing missing, made him consider whatever he had to be worthless.
That's the wicked trait that eats up people. Everyone has hardships but when the hardships obscures seeing the blessings and the good, it is a great pity.
In our world of consumerism the big advertisers (not the local ones...) want to convince us that we are missing something and that their product will be THE thing that will make us happy.
Politicians (not everyone of course...) tell us how wrong the world is and if only they can get our vote and confidence all will be fixed and perfect. Many times the world is simply not so broken and certainly they are very limited in what they can fix and eventually it becomes apparent to everyone.
It's not wrong to realize that something is missing and even be bothered by it, just the opposite, needs creates progress and innovation. Human endeavor is one of the tools G-d uses to run the world. However, when the need obscures our positivity to what we do have, that's when it oversteps. The urge for the needs and the urge to complete our picture of life don't have the right to say, “everything is meaningless unless...” fill in the blanks.
The reason why it can't say so is because it's not true. The blessings we do have are blessings onto themselves and not dependent on the fulfillment of what we don't have. When we recognize the blessings as such, we will keep on appreciating them always.
Joy in life comes from appreciation. If one doesn't appreciate they don't own what they have and they don't live it. To have a life full of joy is only possible with constant gratitude. A person can go around all day and recount the blessings they have and the blessings they had throughout life and suck out of these blessings joy and excitement. Our bodies are really awesome. Our minds are awesome. Food and shelter are awesome. Family and friends are awesome.
So many joys to take and enjoy. The ruminating thoughts of what we are missing is a little bottle of sour taste ready to sprinkle and make sour every good tasting food.
May we take this message of Purim and rejoice in G-d's goodness on Purim and all year round.