Sunday, January 21, 2018

Persia, Iran and Purim Today…

In Israel this week, beginning the evening of March 7th, Jews will celebrate the festival of Purim with mardi gras-like pageantry and sumptuous meals. But there is more to Purim than just festivals and food. There is also fasting, praying and tzaddaka, doing good deeds, especially to the poor.

The moral of the story in the Megilla, (Book of Esther) isn’t just about revenge over ones enemies. It is one of courage and standing for what is right in the face of certain death and destruction. It is the timeless story of God’s chosen people and what they have gone through since the time of their captivity in Egypt. It is about redemption and God’s ultimate plan for Isra’el and the Jews.

What makes this story important today is the fact that Iran is modern day Persia, and once again, the leaders are calling for the annihilation of Isra’el and the Jewish people. These aren’t idle threats, as we see Iran poised to manufacture nuclear weapons capable of doing just that.

But who is going to be an Esther today? Who is standing up for the Jewish people?  While the Jewish population in Iran is second to the largest outside of Isra’el, they are a repressed society within the Muslim dominated culture. They are subject to Iranian law, which is anti-Semitic. On any day, any one of them could be arrested, imprisoned, or hanged. For no other reason than because they are Jews. It has happened. There is no recognized Sabbath, and no rabbi in Iran, and they are not allowed to leave the country as a family. This keeps them very isolated from the world.

This means we must be their voices…if only raised in prayer to Adonai Eloheinu on their behalf. Pray for a modern day Purim miracle. Who knows, maybe a Hadassah-Esther will be raised up for such a time as this. Esther 4:12

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