Today’s post is dedicated as an ilui neshama for Sarah Zucker.

Hi everyone, Good Shabbos, and Freilechen Purim!

A hidden King, a hidden queen, a hidden life, a hidden scheme.

A hidden light, a hidden beauty, and hidden might, all in one story…

What do these words evoke thoughts of in your mind?  Perhaps Purim?

You solved it.

The tale we read of in the megillah, opens with King Achashveirosh’s lavish banquets, the first party lasting 180 days, for all of the noblemen of the kingdom, and the second continuing for a week, which all the populace attended.. including nearly all Jews in the city.

This was truly a tragedy.  The Jews committed many aveiros while at the party, the greatest being that they enjoyed themselves at the sinful celebration–   they gave in to the Yetzer Hara’s temptations.

Yirmiyahu haNavi predicted that Galus Bavel would last 70 years, and then Hashem’s Children would return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the Bait haMikdash.  But we weren’t sure as to when those 70 years began.  Did they start when Yirmiyahu relayed his first prophecy?  When Nevuchanetzar exiled us?  When the Bait HaMikdash was actually destroyed?  Our uncertainty led to decreased faith in Hashem.  We cried, ‘Hashem has forsaken us!’  And when we weakened in our emunah and bitachon, we began to assimilate.

This angered Hashem, and also made Him very sad.  Kabbalah teaches, that Hashem, when His children don’t follow His derech (path), ‘hides’ Himself in His deepest Essence, and ascends (‘further away’ from us).  When we did aveiros during the Purim story, we ‘hid’ from Hashem, and He acted in kind– He hid from us.  “Vanochi haster astir Panai bayom hahu – And I will surely have concealed My Face on that day (Devarim 31:18).”


Even though we struggled to see Hashem in these dark times, and we struggled to find the light, Hashem is Ribbono Shel Olam, always conducting the Universe.  Even though we didn’t realize it, Hashem’s hidden scheme, the miracles and events that we know today as the Purim story, began to unfurl.

(Hashem’s Name is not even mentioned in the megillah!  Is this not shocking?  This is one reason why we dress up in costumes and masks on Purim.  By doing so, we remember how Hashem was ‘hidden’.  {Please see comment below for another intriguing reason as to why we dress up}.)


Queen Esther, a woman of bravery and mesiras nefesh (self-sacrifice), legacy and inspiration, can teach us eternal lessons.

Esther.. Beautiful, graceful, and a proud Jewess.  Orphaned at birth, raised by Mordechai her cousin, who later married her as a wife.. was uprooted.  She was taken forcibly to the palace of Achashveirosh, making a mandatory appearance before the king, who was searching for a new queen (we all know the cruel punishment that was the doom of the wicked Queen Vashti), and was torn from her husband, life, community, and home.

When she was called before the king, he was swept away with her true beauty.  What was so exquisite about her?

Esther was one of the 7 Nevios (prophetesses- along with Sarah, Miriam, Devora, Chana, Avigail, and Chulda), and her beauty was that of a prophetic, pure spirit.  Its divine glow emanated from within, and surrounded her– her external features reflecting the beauty within.  In fact, the letters in the Hebrew word for “face – paneem”, can be rearranged to spell “p’nim – inner”.  This is what enchanted the king, and others, with such intensity.  The Sages of the Talmud (Megillah), stress this attribute of Esther, stating that she was like a statue everyone looked down upon with equal affection; that everyone who saw her wished she was part of their nation, and so on.

This is what made such a sharp contrast between Esther and Vashti.  Vashti was vain, and only cared about her superficial beauty.  The moment she lost it, her true self was revealed, and she lost everything– including her life.  Esther, on the other hand, exemplified modesty, which brought her inner beauty into focus.  She never lost her beauty, because the source of it, which lay with her soul, was eternal.  Vashti’s vanity brought about her downfall, paving the way for Esther to reign as queen, and to bring salvation to the Jewish People.

Behind the obscuring curtains, the Great Director was conducting the show.. and we melt into the next chapter of the story.. the rule of Queen Esther.  

What is your true beauty?  How does your inner light shine and affect how everyone sees you?


Before her abduction, and trip to the palace, Mordechai begged her to not reveal her Jewish identity to the king, for her safety, and for the sake of the future…  Mordechai’s words seared into her heart, she kept her pledge.  The time  she spent in the palace, she practiced her Yiddishkeit in secret, keeping her faith hidden in her chamber, heart, and soul.

Esther teaches to hold onto our traditions and Torah, even in times of adversity.  She was forced to live in the palace, among pagans, and gardens adorned with idols, yet she maintained her Yiddishkeit with scrupulous observance.  She held fast to the 3 mitzvos bestowed upon Jewish women, of taharat hamishpacha (family purity), kindling Shabbos lights, and taking Challah.  She observed Shabbos, keeping track of the week, by using gentile maids assigned specifically to each day, and by doing this, she also prevented arousing the suspicion of the maids, who would otherwise discover that she kept Jewish customs, and reveal it to the king.  She kept kosher, refraining from all food but seeds, and produce, in order to not transgress the mitzvah.  This is why many people like to make poppy filled Hamantaschen.. A tribute to her care in the palace to uphold the mitzvah.

A person’s name reflects their unique soul power, life mission, and experiences.

Esther comes from the word “hastir – hidden”.  This reflects her life in two ways:

1.) Her beauty, that pleased everyone, was of a spiritual, inner type.  It was her soul power, her inner light.

2.)  She was coerced into keeping her heritage and tradition a secret, yet she cherished and maintained her Torah.

As the Megillah continues, we recount how Haman, Achashveirosh’s chief viceroy, a vicious Anti-Semite, descendant of Amalek, blasted the Jews of the city with baseless hatred, and made their lives increasingly tragic and difficult.  He was the one who convinced the king to send forth the edict, to all the subjects of his empire, to exterminate the Jews– every man, woman, and child, on the 13th of Adar.   He helped convince the king to forbid the Jews to return to and rebuild Jerusalem.  He chained numerous little Jewish children to be executed, for studying Torah.  He wanted to wipe out our souls, kill our future, eliminate our existence.

Who could possibly think (and some may find this blasphemous to say), that this was not totally a curse.. that this man was part blessing, in disguise?

Since we were failing in our mitzvah observance, and stumbling in our Torah, perhaps G-d sent us Haman, to set us straight.  To make us realize our missions, our individuality, to realize that we are not to rely on mortals– Hashem is our only King, and we can rely only on Him.  The tragedies that Haman brought about (that Hashem allowed), brought us to teshuvah, making us worthy of salvation.

The hidden light can be found.. even in terror of sorrow.. it’s all coming from Hashem.

When we did Teshuvah, we started bringing heaven down to earth.  Hashem came to dwell with us.  We were strengthened, as a result of our renewed bond with Hashem and the Torah.  We prevailed over our enemies, we regained our strength and spirit.  Baruch Hashem that we are here today, to recount the miracles of Purim, and the miracles of everyday life, great and small, revealed and hidden.

Life is full of questions and mysteries.  There are so many times, throughout our lives, when we ask, “Why am I here?”  or “Why is Hashem allowing this to happen?”.

During the twisting and dark times of Purim, it was impossible to understand Hashem’s Master Plan…  Hashem’s Ultimate Plan still remains enshrouded in mystery for us today!  We weren’t able to connect the pieces of the Purim puzzle for a long time– it in fact took Mordechai and Esther 10 years to understand and connect the events, and see Hashem’s Hand with clarity!  Of course, all along, they had trust in Hashem.. but weren’t fully aware of how everything strung together.

There are times in life where we are unhappy, burdened by a nisayon (a challenge), weighed down because we can’t see the bigger picture.  But we must be grateful for what parts of our story we do understand.  It can give us great comfort, if we just take a deep breath, and know that one day, the entire saga of our life, our existence, and our story, will be revealed.

Shakespeare once said:  “Life is a stage.”  How true this is!  Hashem conducts the whole world– the world is like a big stage.  We must know our places, and play our parts.  And together, in Olam haBa (the World to Come) when the ‘Show’ is over, we will watch our story replay, of our entire existence– and everything will come together.

Kabbalah teaches a beautiful deep, concept, which I feel can be applied to some of this lesson:

Some things must be hidden, in order to be truly revealed.  Think of a bright afternoon sun.  It is impossible to gaze up at it, with your unguarded eyes, at its zenith.  But if you don glasses, or put your hand over your eyes, the sun will become visible (meaning, you’ll be able to look at it).  The sun doesn’t cease to exist, or suddenly appear out of nowhere.  But in order to be revealed, it must be obscured.  Similarly, Hashem had to hide some of Himself– His Eternal Light, so that we may perceive Him, so that He may be a little revealed to us.

Think about it…  If Hashem wasn’t seemingly hidden, at the time of the Purim story, would we notice the greatness of the miracles with as much awe today?  If Hashem wasn’t a little hidden at the time, would He seem so greatly ‘revealed’ today?

And Esther’s beauty…  If it wasn’t the concealed, inner kind.. would people appreciate it as much?  Would they sense it with such potency?

May the day soon come, on which Hashem will be totally revealed to us, no longer hidden and obscured.  The day that we will realize just how much meaning and miracles there are in our lives.  The day that we will all shine, with our inner beauty and light.

Purim Sameach/Freilechen Purim!

The Messneger Bird