This Purim we should remember the saying of the great Polish sage Rabbi AmiChai Dubowduboski, or as his students called him, Reb Adubdub, who taught, “He who laughs at what is seen laughs loudly. He who laughs at what is unseen laughs so loudly that milk will flow from your nose like the waterfalls of the Galilee.” You must remember that his town Polmeyfingur was the largest producer of goat’s milk of the time.
Archive photo of the rabbi’s favorite – Shpilky.
It is said that Purim is a holiday of “hidden-ness” because we play hide and seek with Hashem. (One of many ways to refer to G-d. It is translated as The Name, Rumor has it that this concept inspired Madonna as well as the rapper The Game.)
Actually, it is Hashem that plays hide and seek with us, the Jewish people. As we know, Hashem is not directly mentioned in all of Megillah Esther – the only scroll in which this occurs. So why is it that in the whole book of Esther Hashem doesn’t even play a little bit of peek-a-boo? Not even a little Marko-Polo?
Let me refer to a story told by another great sage – the great rabbi of Nepal, Rabbi Mytush Peeyu. Reb Mytush lived secluded high in the Himalayas in the 16th Century and this tale was hidden from us for many generations. However, the great Israeli archeologist Dir Tyfingurs went looking for the lost Jews of Nepal based on a folklore, which came to Israel during the first Aliyah in the 1880s from a blind rabbi named Mesee Nothun.
So the tale brought by Rabbi Nothun and told by Reb Mytush goes as such: One day a poor man with only one shoe, which didn’t fit, walked into the village of Kanyuuhermeinahwugud. The one shoe was too tight on the poor man’s foot, which caused him to limp. As he entered the village the poor man came across a fig tree. The fig tree was the largest in all the land. A fig fell from the tree and plopped on to the poor man’s head. He ate the fig and it was the sweetest fig ever tasted. The poor man noticed that the ground was littered with ripe, plump figs. So, he took off his one shoe and began to fill the shoe with figs. Soon the poor man’s shoe was filled with figs. He began to leave the tree and walk into the center of the village.
The rabbi of Kanyuuhermeinahwugud cried out to the poor man, “Friend, please come closer so we may chat.” “Yes Rabbi” the poor man replied, “Is it permissible to eat the fruit fallen from a tree?” The rabbi of Kanyuuhermeinahwugud answered raising his thumb into the air for no apparent reason, “Yessss, Torah saaaaysss this is permissible.” The rabbi continued, “Please enjoy the figs. I have been watching you. Do you realize that you’re no longer limping, but strutting with sweetness?” The poor man reflected a moment and wiggled his toes then said, “Yes! I didn’t realize how tight my shoe was until I took it off.”
The moral of Reb Mytush’s story is still profound today: Sometimes we are not fully experiencing life because we are unknowingly bound. In this “boundness” many of life’s joys can be hidden just as Hashem is hidden from the Jews in Megillah Esther. Esther is at first hesitant to approach King Ahasuerus in order to foil Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews. She makes a choice to break free from what binds her. In essence, she takes a risk and lucky for us it paid off. We know what happens next, with Esther’s help King Ahasuerus figures out that Haman was duping him and as such has the very first “Aha” moment in recorded history.
So, follow Esther’s lead and make a bold move in your life.
Happy Purim from your friends at On Both Feet!