Jewish Survival: The Many Heroes of Purim

Jews need each other.  We need a minyan (10 people) in order to pray.  Traditionally, in order to study Torah, we need a partner.  We can’t chant Torah alone.  We can’t say Kaddish alone.  And we really can’t appreciate the Jewish holidays alone.  Imagine a seder without anyone attending!

Last Shabbat was known as Shabbat Shekalim – a special Shabbat that always falls before we celebrate Purim.  On this Shabbat, we read a special section of Torah that reminds us of the ancient census that took place within the Israelite community – one that involved everyone giving a half-Shekel to the community.  The collected funds were used to support the desert tabernacle, the symbolic center of the community.  Last Shabbat, we talked about how this census enabled people to stand up and say “count me in!”.  Had the people not done so, there would have been no funds to maintain the community’s symbolic center.  Without these funds, the center would have ceased to exist, leading to the deterioration of the larger community.  It was only by individuals coming together and supporting each other that the center remained strong and the Israelite community survived.

On Friday night, we discussed why this special census is part of our Torah reading before we celebrate Purim.  The answer lies in the essence of Purim.  What is it that we celebrate on Purim?  The answer to this question is simple once we determine who it is exactly that saves the Jewish people from Haman.

Click HERE for Friday’s sermon.

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