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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

This is a time of the year when we gladly remember that good will ultimately prevail over evil.

It is a space in time when we celebrate Esther and Mordechai.

That time could not have arrived with more urgency.

Last week, while reading Parshat Zachor, we are told without doubt, without pause, that there is evil in the world, that we must protect our most vulnerable from Amalek’s despicable intent.

Synagogues all across New Zealand last Shabbat were unable to hear this message as kehilot because their government was concerned over the very security of Jewish worshippers. On Erev Shabbat Zachor, an armed gunman, who might as well be described as an Amalekite, murdered some 50 men, women and children of the Islamic faith as they worshipped in two separate New Zealand mosques. At this writing, many of the victims remain in critical condition.

Like we blot out the name of Haman during our reading of the Megillat Esther, so too here we would not dignify the hatred of this gunman by the mere writing, even once, of his name.

Still, since as we read the Book of Esther, we know all too well that our own people have suffered the results of unbridled hatred as regionally close as the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh to as distant as Ariel in Samaria where as recently as Sunday a Palestinian terrorist shed Israeli blood. Earlier last week, Hamas terrorists fired rockets toward the population centers of Tel Aviv.

Our people have a history, indeed a predisposition, to overcome evil with good, and we not only aspire to live that way, we teach our children as well about our heroes and that they, our own girls and boys, have within them the strength to be triumphant with a spirit of goodness.

So have a meaningful experience this Purim. You (and your children) should dress up in a spirit of fun, enjoying seudot and mitzvot together.

Still, remember to read closely our well-known story of Esther and Mordechai. It is our hope that once and for all the memory of Amalek will be vanquished, and Jews and other righteous people of goodness and faith should never again know from such evil.