Dear Aish Family, Rabbi-Steven-Burg

I know that so many of you are used to receiving my email in the hours before Shabbos begins every Friday. In the spirit of Purim we thought we would break with tradition and send out a short note in honor of the holiday of Purim. In many ways this day celebrates every value that Aish holds dear. At its essence, the book of Esther tells a story of a homicidal maniac named Haman who plots to destroy the Jews. A story that our people are all too familiar with. In the end Haman’s plans are thwarted not by an army or a widespread revolt. These evil actions are stopped by a scared yet courageous young Jewish girl.

When Mordechai informs Queen Esther about Haman’s plans to perpetuate genocide against the Jews, her response is similar to what our’s would probably be. Esther is scared that if she approaches the King uninvited, she will end up beheaded like the previous Queen. It is at this point that Mordechai delivers a three prong argument to Esther.

1) Don’t think you will be safe from this genocide.
2) The Almighty will find a way to save us if you won’t help.
3) Perhaps you were placed on this earth to save the Jewish people.

Esther then musters up her courage, saves the Jewish nation and we celebrate her bravery every year. I feel that these three arguments that Mordechai made to Queen Esther are core principals of Aish HaTorah.

We must:

1) Understand that threats against the Jewish people, whether they be physical or spiritual, are threats against every single Jew worldwide.
2) The Almighty will always support and aid us when we take responsibility for threats against the Jewish nation.
3) The Almighty placed us on earth for a reason. Standing up for our fellow Jews will always be a fulfillment of our mission during our time in this world.

We all must use the inspirational story of Queen Esther as a guide for our activism. Jews cannot stay silent when there is work to be done. Whether it be through our Israel advocacy program Hasbara Fellowships or reaching out to our Jewish brothers and sisters through Project Inspire, Aish haTorah will continue to lead the way. Over thirty Aish HaTorah branches will be hosting joyous Purim celebrations over the next 48 hours and our Yeshiva in Jerusalem will be filled with celebration. Aish HaTorah will always be a powerful force for Jewish unity and passionate Judaism.

Thank you all for being a part of the Aish family. May the Almighty give us the strength and wisdom to work hard every day in service of his children.

Purim Sameach and Good Shabbos!

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