Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hints of ESTHER in the Weekly Torah Portion

Haman FALLS upon the bed.

This week's Torah portion , Vayechi, is one of the most emotional readings in the entire Five Books of Moses. An ailing Jacob, gathers his strength one more time, blesses his grandchildren, and shows us his a glimpse of his greatness and majesty one last time as he tells his children what awaits them and their ancestors throughout Jewish history.
Its commentaries also include several references to Megillat Esther, the story that Raise Your Spirits has brought to the stage this season.
In Chapter 48:2, a frail Jacob hears that his son Joseph has come to visit him, "So Israel exerted himself and sat up on the bed."
The Torah commentator the Baal HaTurim explains that despite his illness, our patriarch Jacob was able to rouse his strength once more and sit up upon the bed. Yet in Megillat Esther 7:8, we read that after Haman was revealed as the evil nemesis of the queen and her people, "Haman fell upon the bed" of Esther. This teaches us, according to the Baal HaTurim, that "even when they are weak, the righteous can strengthen themselves", but even when they are the peak of power, "the wicked will fall."
May it be so in our days, IY"H.
Further, the Sforno also speaks about the same phrase. Israel strengthened himself on the bed to give honor to the king (the pious Joseph). But the opposite was true in Megillat Esther 5:9, when Haman the king-wanna-be walked before the King's gate, Mordechai would not stand up or move before him.
Mordechai with Esther.
Lastly, it is interesting to note that the great Jewish leader Mordechai is called Mordechai HaYehudi.
That was because of the blessing that Jacob gave to his son Yehuda (49:8-12). Artscroll's commentary says, "So admired will you [Yehuda] be by all your brothers that Jews will not say, I am a Reubenite or a Simeonite, but I am a Yehudi. Thus we find that Mordechai, in the Book of Esther, was known as a Yehudi, even though he was from the tribe of Binyamin.
So often, our Torah portion and our commentators speak about Esther. It's a great feeling knowing that even in our fun production, we are connected to our Jewish heritage.

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