Purim & Shidduchim

M’nucha Bialik, International Shidduch Coach

 

Purim is such a fascinating yom tov.  The whole Megillas Esther, the whole idea of Purim is really so, so different from all of our other yomim tovim. Also, Megillas Esther is so interesting because we actually learn one story growing up, but the real story is so, so vastly different from the way we typically learn it when young.

I don’t know about you, but it always sounded glamorous to me to be Queen Esther.  Once Vashti was killed, Achashveirosh was lonely and wanted to get married again, so he had a massive beauty contest.  He searched throughout the world for the most beautiful maiden and chose Esther Hamalkah to be the queen.  How lucky she was!  Right?  Isn’t that the way, we’re typically taught the megillah?

But in reality, it was a horrible, horrible thing!  A tzadeikis was essentially kidnapped and forced to be the wife of a terrible rasha.  Imagine any Jew today, and particularly a tzadeikes that you know of or have heard of, kidnapped to be the wife of the leader of Iran or the head of Hamas – that would be disgusting and horrible!  We’d be horrified and miserable and wishing we can do something, anything to save her!  Look at our reactions to the fact that Jewish women are now hostages in Gaza.  We’re shocked and horrified and desperately want them free.  

It was impossible for anyone to save Esther.  Achashveirosh was the king of 127 countries – that was practically the entire world.  There was nothing anyone could do!  No one could fight Achashveirosh and save Esther from being a hostage and being forced to live with that evil man who hated Jews.

That’s the real story.   It’s not such a beautiful, nice story.

We know now why what happened, happened – because the Jews sinned by enjoying themselves at Achashveirosh’s party, because the Jews were comfortable where they were living in Shushan and weren’t on the level of being saved and taken out of Exile.  They saw Achashveirosh wear all the clothes of the kohen gadol and they still enjoyed themselves at the party.  

We also know now that it was actually good for us that Esther was married to Achashveirosh, that she became queen.  Because of that, she was in the position to risk her life and miraculously save the lives of the entire Jewish nation.  

The Megillas Esther explains how Galus works.  When we are in Exile, Hashem hides Himself.  Hashem’s name is not written in the megilah even once.  One of the reasons for this is to teach us that although Hashem was there behind the scenes, He appeared to be hidden. When the Jews are in Exile, we don’t see straight.  What seems good (Jews invited to incredible, wonderful party of their king) was really bad and what seems bad (Esther being forced to intermarry a very wicked man) was actually good.

What seemed dangerous and stupid and the very cause for the destruction of the Jews was actually good and right.  Meaning, everyone blamed Mordechai not bowing down to Haman as the reason for Haman’s animosity, yet in reality, Mordechai was right for not bowing down.  He was right for telling the Jews not to show up to the king’s party.

The fact that the Jews’ very existence was threatened ended up being good for the Jews as it forced Bnei Yisroel to do teshuvah, so they could be saved.  Furthermore, it was Esther’s son, Daryavesh, who gave permission for the Jews to start rebuilding the second Beis Hamikdash and to return to Eretz Yisroel.

We’re living in Galus now.  We are so utterly confused.  It’s a backwards world here.  We all know that there are good frum Jewish girls and boys who can’t get into a school/seminary/yeshiva because they don’t have the right grades or the right family.  We know that there are people who are abusive or not healthy who get married and have children right away and we know that there are some really good people who find it difficult to find their zivug.  I work with men and women who tell me about people they know who get married easily despite becoming less religious, while these same people are struggling and working so hard to stay strong in their beliefs and values and are finding the saga of shidduchim to be so, so difficult and so, so painful.

Why would Hashem cause pain to the good and cause pleasure to those “messing up?”  It makes no sense!  Why would a tzadekes like Esther have to suffer so much?

Because in Exile, things are not the way they seem.  In Exile, although we can’t see straight, we have to listen to Hashem, look inside ourselves, and try to continue to grow and really do what’s right despite appearances, despite the fact that “everyone” is doing it.

It may look like there is a shidduch crisis.  It may look like it’s impossible for you to get married for this reason or that.  But, the reality is that even though it appeared absolutely impossible for the Jews to be saved from Haman and the  Amalakim (the edict was signed and it couldn’t be revoked), they were miraculously saved!  So too, the reality is that even if it seems impossible, Hashem does the impossible even in Exile, but in a hidden, mysterious way.

About two weeks ago, an 88 year old man had his first child with a 57 year old woman.  Rabbi Tzvi Kushlevsky was married to his first wife who he loved very much for many, many years.  But they never merited to have children.  Rabbi Kushlevsky never gave up on his dream of having a child, so he remarried after his wife died.  For a number of years, he and his new wife desperately tried to conceive, but were unsuccessful – until now.  Now, at 88 years old, Rav Kushlevsky  miraculously had his first child.  Everyone would have said that this is impossible, yet it happened.  So too, no matter how dire you feel that your situation is, no matter how different you think you are, Hashem works in hidden ways.  Don’t give up!  Don’t think that the fact that you were given this challenge of being single means that Hashem doesn’t love your or that there is something wrong with you.  On the contrary – you were chosen.

You were chosen to be exactly where you are for a purpose that is hidden from us right now.

Like Esther Hamalkah, stay strong and continue to keep the mitzvos and try to do what Hashem wants from you.  Be the person you were meant to be!  And just wait and trust Hashem.  You were put in this place for a reason.  Be ready for your moment.  Trust Hashem and be ready to find your bashert.  It will happen at exactly the right time!