From Where I Sit
My Dear Friends
Many may argue the facts behind the fable. Some will tell you that its origins are rooted within the mists of mythology; god and goddess. Marduk and Ishtar joining in ascendancy and certainly there are elements of that. Traditionalists will tell you that the story is exactly accurate as written. The story is the word of G in which we see the hidden hand of G. Historians will tell you that Ahshverosh (sounds like a sneeze) was really Xerxes and on and on.
But as for me, in reading Sacred scripture, I have the one and only definitive and absolutely correct answer to the fractured fracas of factuality of the chronicles.
(Drum roll please…)
The answer is: “I don’t care!”
I do not go to my sacred guide to ferret out facts; I wander through TaNaCh (Bible) tracking truths, personal paths to probe.
When I read the text, I first peruse the Pshat, the simple contextual meaning. Pshat is the preface to the magical mystical tour of Torah learning. It is a step not to be skipped. But it is only the first step.
The next level requires the Sherlock Holmes in us. It is called Remez.
Remez are the hints that we use to discover the deep mysteries within the parable of Purim. Remez becomes questions.
Oh look here is one now>>>> “which forces are visible and which go on behind the curtain of this juicy holiday?”
To explore the answers we must delve deeper than Pshat. We wade into the waters of Kabbalah. Here, truly we find the magical mystical Mikvah and immerse ourselves freely, openly.
If we are going to play the Kabbalist Sherlock Holmes (KSH) we must be willing to descend deep into the waters, the source of life. To us, as KSH (Kabbalist Sherlock Holmes), it is evident that whatever we find in those sacred waters is, in reality deep within our own psyche, our spiritual DNA just waiting for us to open the treasure trove. In that treasure trove is the dangerous but delightful Drash lurking, waiting for us to feed upon it.
Drash is the personal interpretation that will be right to one person but meaningless to another. My Drash might be formidable fuel for my future and yet without meaning or merit to someone else. This is the unique power of Drash. When I use it to power my search for meaning, my Spirit Quest, it is very powerful search engine. If I use it to try to convince others of the rightness of my path, its dangerous sharp sharded sides reveal themselves.
In the Drash interpretation that we find when diving deep into the sacred waters of the story of Purim we must dare to open that hidden treasure trove. It has a power to replenish our soul’s life force. That force will lead and guide us to direct and control our responses to all the future events in life. It might even hold the key to our personal power and the bounty that will abound through us in the Assiyah world where we all reside.
In the eyes of KSH, Megilat Esther speaks to the forces that unfold in the innermost parts of our five-fold soul. Forces that direct us, point out for us the riches of relationship with the Wholly One of Being. It becomes a guide to the life giving waters, a treasure map to the treasure trove. We discover through our exploration of Drash the names of these forces; they are called Mordechai, Esther, Haman, and Ahashverosh.
The story of Purim unfolds before the building of the second temple. At this stage, the people of Yisrael who represent the desire to begin the Spirit Quest live calmly and peacefully in the kingdom of Ahashverosh. One way of translating Yisrael is Yashar El. This represents the desire to go straight (Hebrew – Yashar) to (Hebrew – El — G) the Source of Blessing and to learn from G the ways of the universe, the ways of life on this planet and beyond.
Mordechai, in this Drash/interpretation, represents the inner force that desires Devekut, that oneness with the Source of all. Yet in the story Mordechai seems to live in happy complacency in a peaceful kingdom. Where was the desire? The questions tantalize and tease us into delving deeper.
By careful examination, playful exploration we bring some golden coins from the treasure trove to the surface. From the very beginning, there are Remez – hints in the narrative that something is not quite right: “There is one nation that is scattered among the nations,” says the text. Israel is that ‘nation’ and we are scattered, as opposed to being centered. Do you see how subtle the Remez are? We almost missed it. Yet our Remez map jumps out at us like a road sign to the discontent and disconnect on the human path. It is a sure sign that humanity has not yet found its soul path, its destiny, for only in the unity of difference can we find our goal, to live according to the ways of earth and heaven. In other words the only way to get it together is together.
The evil Haman represents the self centered ego in us, what Yisrael needs to avoid or, as in the story, defeat. Haman’s goal is to exploit the situation for selfish gain. He is the one who despoils the earth, who blurs distinctions between peoples or foments hate for those differences. He eventually wants to overthrow the King. He is the descendent of Amalek the destroyer. He is the ancestor of Hitler (Yimach Shemo). He is all those who tell us that to be different is to be less, unequal. His lesson is that differences are to be used, misused and exploited. He is also the one who declares that all people are the same, and we should give up distinctions and differences, the very flavor, the spice of life. Our goal is to notice differences, accept differences, and revel in differences. That is the revelation of difference.
Haman sees and seizes opportunity in the idea that Israel is a ‘scattered nation’, calling it weakness, confusion and lack of faith. He finds the situation an excuse for eliminating, from the face of the earth, those who are different. They stand between him and his short sighted, selfish greed: exploiting Gaia earth spirit and the Creator of Gaia way and Halacha path, for his own gain.
What Haman fails to understand, however, is that Yisrael is dispersed only in spatial terms. Yes they disagree on the ways of Halacha. It is true that people disagree and argue and enter into disputation, yet that is the surface structure adjusting to time and space. Underneath, deep in the Neshamah soul of sacred connection there is a oneness that is firm and flowing.
That Neshamah soul level is the direct and open thread, the sacred connect with the Source of Being. It is a bond so deep that some don’t even recognize it as they focus only on the surface paradigm shifts. And yet, in those quiet moments of spirit questing, something that we may not have noticed becomes apparent; the spider web connection glistens. Indeed we see the truth of it when, at the end of the story, all peoples re-form. That is, they form again, accepting the potent potential of Holiness, of wholeness for ourselves and our world. In this story, that awareness is called Yisrael.
The frightening danger is our delusion that the 5-fold soul is, like the body, limited. That limitation is what the evil of Haman wants to exploit. That is why we need to discover and confront the Haman within us. Our bodies have limits and those limits are teaching devices for the soul. But the soul is limitless and always learning, growing and, if we listen carefully, teaching.
The beginning of the story tells how Mordechai the Jew saved the king from the two assassins Bigtan and Teresh. Naturally, we would expect the King to reward him for his deed, perhaps an honor, or at least recognition.
But things aren’t quite that simple, for Mordechai is the Israel in humanity, it wants nothing but to be in contact with the ineffable name. It wants no personal gain; therefore you cannot give it any gift, for it has no other desire than oneness.
Thus, to our surprise, we read that it isn’t Mordechai who is honored. The one who craves surface honors, Haman, the ego, the needy, the whiner; it is Haman who the King appoints as head of all the ministers. Haman gets total domination of the Kingdom and all are ordered to bow before him. The ego has now risen to frightening proportions.
Of all the people, only Mordechai sees through the facade and refuses to bow before anyone but the King (G). Mordechai represents the spiritual in us all. As plants are heliotropic, they point towards the sun, the human soul is Theo tropic always point toward, seeking out G’s light. Mordechai is the only one in the story who still remembers this powerful pointer, when the whole town of Shushan is bewildered and bedeviled. Even when his life is threatened, the hidden power of Mordechai chooses loyalty to the King, the source of all, the Wholly One of being over all else.
It is only through magnifying Haman’s ego to this out of proportion level that the people could see the danger, could realize how right and righteous was Mordechai’s way.
The difference between the road Haman takes and that of Mordechai is the core around which the story revolves.
Haman wants to exploit the King and use the authority to take over the Kingdom. His ego epitomizes the most vile force on the planet, the desire to rule the world at all cost, even that of the world’s destruction, even his own destruction.
Mordechai’s only goal, on the other hand, is to unveil a true path in this world, to learn from the Wholly One of Being how to conduct himself for the betterment of the world and all who dwell there. Therefore he cannot be bribed in any way. He can stand at the King’s castle and guard the gate while everyone bows before Haman. There is no material pay for his loyalty. Mordecai follows the Talmudic advice to serve a master without seeking reward. He knows in his holy optimism that the day will come when light will shine and truth be revealed. He also understands that he cannot impose his will upon others. And this too is his power.
Haman gets control of the Kingdom, precisely for the purpose of increasing his desires. The egoism is revealed as are the destructive forces that dwell within him. Haman decides to utilize the authority he’s been given in order to carry out his plan to destroy his primary enemy – the Israel within.
Haman is then asked – what is to be done with the man the King holds dear? His ego being certain that it is him the King holds dear, he suggests that he be seated on a horse (the elevation of the 5 fold soul path, that inner force of humanity) and it be publicly declared: “Thus will be done with the man the King holds dear”. But it is not the ego of Haman that is held dear but the straight path of the G seeker, Mordechai that is held high. It is Mordechai that is elevated. And Haman’s ego blinds him to the lesson. He continues his plot of ego gratification and destruction of anything that challenges it.
Haman carefully plans his actions, prepares the hangman’s tree and the rope, confident that in a few moments, the power standing between him and his dream, will have been eliminated.
At this point in our tale, the unity of Israel the Yashar El path is revealed. For Esther the quiet, seeks the power to stand up to strength, to ignore authority. The people of Israel, the Yashar El seekers, pray for her path. Their collective prayer for the success of Esther’s mission, representing the force of faith, puts the lie to Haman’s belief in the devaluation of difference. One of his ego flaws is that he sees difference as separation. He believes that people with different paths are not aiming for the same holy space. He believes that he can separate, suppress and destroy diversity.
Esther is the powerful mythical heroine who enlightens the power of diversity as a force for unity. That power and awareness is the courage that allows her to address the King directly, which is one of the miracles of Purim. Prior to that, no one could or would address the King that way. Only the united spiritual support of the people, in prayer, and her great courage give her the necessary armor to come out of hiding (Heb: hEster means hidden) and into the presence of the King. She reveals the King’s panim/essence of flow – to bestow on all humanity the great awareness of our potential. She, in facing the King, challenges us to share differences in love and harmony with none to make us afraid.
Only then does Haman (the egotistical dark force within humanity) discover the flaw in his dastardly deeds, but it is too late for him. Too late, does he discover that the purpose and process of humanity is the revelation of the hidden light, the truth hidden within our inner selves to enlighten our outer shells. Unlike G, who is Ehad, one without parts, we are Yahad, one made up of differences, we are made up of parts and each part is precious. From the learning and the sharing of the parts, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
The climax of the story occurs when the destructive sentence which Haman himself had passed on others is turned back upon himself.
The great battle of Haman (the ego) to rule over the Kingdom versus Mordechai, the desire to live in harmony, is engaged.
In our story, Israel represents the deeper soul desires of humanity to discover the King’s path of possibilities and the possibility of paths, ways to reach out and ways to reach in.
In our story, Israel represents the desire in humanity to be in perpetual Yihud, contact with the Source of reality.
In our story Israel represents us all when we accept the challenges of life with the inner certainty that those challenges only rise up to reveal our path to the palace of the King.
Israel is us, when we remember the Source of our lives and strive to utilize every opportunity explore the path and to fortify the bond with G.
Israel is us, when we do not give way to despair even when facing grave difficulties along the way.
We become Israel when we finally see beyond the surface and seek the inner light, when we learn acceptance and awareness of the oneness of the different paths of life.
We become Israel when we turn concealment into revelation and write with our deeds the story of Mordechai and Esther.