Do you believe in miracles?
Have you ever experienced any? Think back to this morning, to the moment when you opened your eyes. Have you experienced any since then?
Before you answer, consider this:
You opened your eyes! Is that anything less than a miracle? How about your mobility, hearing, cognition? Are these things that “just happen,” or are they cause for a swell of gratitude?
How about the loved ones in your life? Are they anything less than a miracle?
The real question is: How do you view your life?
Every life takes twists and turns. Today, some things will go right and some things won’t. Which takes up more space in my eyes? The good or the not-so-good? How do I see my day/life as a whole? When I genuinely appreciate the good, it helps me see my journey – in its totality– as a blessing.
Once I see I see my life as a gift, the aggravating bumps take on a different, more manageable, context. They become lessons, exercises in self-betterment, tests of character.
This is the powerful lesson of the Holiday of Purim, which is celebrated March 16. Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people, in the year 356 bce, from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
Haman was Prime Minister to the Persian emperor Achashveirosh. Endorsed by Achashveirosh, Haman’s decree boded the physical destruction of every single Jew on the face of the Earth.
While the sage Mordechai rallied the Jews to prayer and repentance, his cousin, Queen Esther engineered Haman’s downfall at a private wine-party to which she invited the king and the minister. She prevailed upon Achashveirosh to hang Haman and to save the Jews.
We have holidays such as Passover, which celebrates the open miracles we experienced in the course of our Exodus from Egypt, i.e. The Splitting of the Red Sea.In our lives, that corresponds to the “over-the-top” moments of good fortune we may experience in the course of our lives. We each have our own special days, our individual “splitting of the sea,” and hopefully turn to Gd and thank Him for our good fortune.
That’s Passover. Purim is different. Purim doesn’t have any blockbuster miracle to celebrate. In the Purim story, things turned out positively, and we chose to see it as a miracle.
In the scope of your life, the “Passover miracles” will probably be few and far between. Most of your life is like today, a “regular” day with nothing “special” to celebrate; unless you have vision and choose to appreciate and celebrate. Then, every day is a holiday.
Time to celebrate! Join the Jewish Community Purim Celebration, featuring a public reading of the story of the miracle as recorded in the “Scroll of Esther,” and enjoy a festive meal. To RSVP or to send food portions to friends and give gifts of money to the poor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rabbi Chaim Zaklos is the director of Chabad of Solano County, a Vacaville-based Jewish center for life, community outreach, prayer, and education (founded 2009). He can be reached at rabbi@JewishSolano.com.