Today, there’s another Persian ruler, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with a similar plan in mind - to wipe the State of Israel and its people off the world’s map. Like Haman, Ahmadinejad speaks openly of his distain for this peculiar people.Anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks on Jewish people are increasing dramatically in almost every nation in the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa to name a few.
That’s why this year, perhaps more than ever, the story of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai will help Israelis and Jews worldwide to trust in God’s unseen hand to protect them against those seeking to hurt them.
One place the media can reach – unlike the average Israeli – is Iran, where we definitely have an image problem. Lots of questions about Persia’s current rulers pop up around Purim.For example: In the post-Mabhouh world – a better place – one wonders what would happen were the Purim story to unfold today. Just who would be considered the victim: the Jewish community which managed at the last moment to avert Persian plans to annihilate it or Haman and sons who were strung up on their own gallows when their dastardly scheme was discovered?
Let’s just hope that this story ends differently. For while we rejoice in Queen Esther’s courage to confront the king and save her people, that’s not the whole Megillah.Unable to annul the decree that called for the Jews’ annihilation, Esther and Mordechai, with the king’s blessing, issue a second edict, enabling the Jews to engage in their own defense. As a result, they fend off their enemies and kill tens of thousands in the process.
It’s not a pretty picture. Nor will it be if Israel — with or without Western assistance — is forced to take defensive action on its own to once again confront an existential threat from Persia.