Esther’s Message Rings True Today for Jews

by | Feb 19, 2013 | Israel & Jewish Roots, Standing With Israel

Beginning Saturday night, Jews around the world began celebrating Purim, a holiday that’s known less than Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover, but one that’s no less significant—and no less meaningful—particularly today.

Purim’s name comes from the casting of lots in the Book of Esther, and that’s exactly what we celebrate. The date, the 14th of the Hebrew month Adar, is ordained in Esther 9:17, and our whole celebration is that of the story of Esther and Mordecai.

Before the celebration begins, we have a day of fasting and prayer to commemorate Esther’s own fast. During Purim itself, we recount the Book of Esther chanted to a special tune, during which we make noise to drown out the name Haman, each time he and his sons are mentioned. We dress in festive costumes, give presents to one another, give gifts to the poor (Esth. 9:19-22), and share a festive meal with family and friends. There’s even a custom observed by some to get so drunk that we don’t recognize the difference between the righteous Mordecai and the evil Haman.

Basically on Purim, we celebrate the overcoming of an evil ancient Persian leader who sought to kill all the Jews, and how we not only overcame and defeated him, but his plot was turned upside down, literally, as he was hung on the same gallows that he built for killing our people. There is an old joke told the occasion of many Jewish holidays, “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”

Given threats and rumblings from modern Persia (Iran), the celebration of the past and God’s protection in the present have never been more relevant or meaningful. Indeed, this may be the last Purim before modern Persia’s number comes up in Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. There is comfort in the words of Haman’s wife, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him,” (Esth. 6:13) which resonate today.

For most of my life, I looked at Esther with a deep sense of conflict because a key element of Esther is the intermarriage of a young Jewish woman whose family had been exiled from Israel. Being Jewish isn’t easy. Persevering and surviving as a people for thousands of years challenges us uniquely. And yet we still survive.

Today, intermarriage and assimilation are problems that run deep. My festive celebration was often tempered by the realization, ‘yeah, but Esther married out.’

I am not an advocate for Jews to intermarry and assimilate, but I do advocate for a strong and enduring fellowship between Jews and Christians, something that I have been privileged to experience throughout my life, and something that enriches me and makes me a better Jew.

Today more than ever, this lesson is vivid as there are many modern Hamans who seek to destroy us all, Jews and Christians, and vilify God. In this light, I have grown to understand Esther’s message in a different way.  

For nearly 2,000 years, the history of Jewish and Christian relations was not marked by lots of mutual warmth, respect or understanding—to put it nicely. However, in the past few generations, the tide has turned and history is being rewritten.

Nevertheless, many boundaries exist that lead to a lack of understanding between Jews and Christians, which is out of place given that we are the people who are the standard bearers of ethical monotheism.

Esther teaches us that we each have our own role, Jew and Gentile. Indeed, we rely on one another in many ways. We’re partners. We play on the same all-star team, but go home to our respective families at the end of the day.

Just as Esther helped the king understand the threat to her and her people, Christians today need to understand the history and baggage that Jews carry, and to grasp the Jewish way of thinking. Out of love, the king offered Esther half of his kingdom, and Christians should continue their unconditional love of Israel and the Jewish people, proselytizing only other Christians to understand that this is what God wants.

Jews need to understand the vast diversity among Christianity, that past crimes supposedly in the name of “the church” do not represent modern thinking, and embrace and support the growing movement that expresses itself with devoted and righteous Gentiles expressing their love and support for us in ways that are deep and sincere.

We need to not wince and become uncomfortable when they mention Jesus, who was a Jew, or think that simply sharing their love for Jesus and Jews is necessarily mutually exclusive, or about trying to convert us.

There are many ways for Jews and Christians to come closer to one another, and affirm that we are on the same side, honoring God according to our respective faiths. Esther gives us a model to follow. Purim is a great season to express and commit to this fellowship.

Whether we begin by fasting and prayer as Esther did, and share the euphoria of the victory of good over evil, God willing, we will be privileged to continue to increase our understanding, become more open to one another, and have “light and joy and gladness” in our day, as did the Jews of ancient Persia.

Jonathan Feldstein is the Israel Representative for the American Friends of Magen David Adom and Director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to save lives and bless Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Jonathan immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and share experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He can be contacted at FirstPersonIsrael@gmail.com.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although most churches have not returned to their pre-pandemic attendance...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Recently while in worship, I was talking to the Lord when this prophetic flow began to come forth. I took out my phone and pressed record. This is the transcription of that word I received: "God, I see the firebrands rising up. God, I see the firebrands rising up. I...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of...
Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009. Not eating sugar...

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

I was walking along one of my favorite beaches, and it was turtle season. Early each morning, park services ride along the beach looking for new sea turtle nests. They record the nest's location, place stakes and rope off the location so that people do not disturb the...

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Soul ties form when we act in accordance with the flesh when developing or growing in a relationship with another person. This could be any relationship formed or grown out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, pride, loneliness, doubt and the like. Soul ties can develop...

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

This pandemic season hasn’t been easy—but pastors have suffered in unique ways. Statistics show that between 20-30% of churchgoers stopped attending in 2020, and the bulk of those people have not returned. In many cases, they never said goodbye. Many of my best...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]