knowing who you are

There's a peculiar angle to the story of the megillah which I'm not sure gets the focus it deserves: How were the Jews saved, what exactly did Esther HaMalkah do to save the Jews? She revealed the fact that she was a Jew. Simple question, simple answer.

If I stop to really think about that basic generally overlooked point, it blows me away. She said, I'm a Jew. True, there was a lot involved in exactly how and when she said it, but it really boils down to the fact that she said it.

When we look at the actors in the story slightly metaphorically, we end up with a situation where a Jew (Neshamah) is beset upon by a vile enemy, (the Yetzer Hara) who wants to completely obliterate that Jew. In the end, the Jew, with no other hope of salvation, turns to the King (HaShem) and reveals it's secret identity, I'm a Jew.

We go through our lives with so many identities, so many different layers of clothing, each suited to various needs and purposes. We become thoroughly confused between what we need, what we want, what we should need, what we should want. In short, every one of us, from the smallest to the greatest, is suffering from a series of serious identity crises.

Underneath it all, though we think we forgot, we know who we truly are. We can't possibly forget. It's the only kernel of absolute Truth of which we have ever been made aware. Yet it takes a crisis to really jar our memory. Our quintessence is the smallest bit of infinity at our core, a piece of God.

It is only at the very moment when the yetzer hara wants to consume us totally, to once and for all deny that there is any light at all there at our core, that we wake up and say, "Wait a minute, HaShem's infinite light is at my core, you can't hide that! What was I thinking why didn't it shine until now?"

And right then we turn to HaShem in utter exasperation, completely at a loss as to why or how something brighter than the entire universe could ever be concealed, and we say, "I'm a Jew." It is as much a plea, as it is a question as it is a statement.

And right then HaShem intervenes and saves us from the darkness.

This is the essence of Teshuvah, of Emunah, of Tefillah; revealing the Truth, to yourself and to the world, you are a Jew.

Everything else is just a question of how does a Jew act?


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