Based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
I need to tell you a story.
About 2,000 years ago the Jews had been expelled from the Holy Land, and found themselves living in the capital of Persia, Shushan. The king of the Persian Empire, Achashverosh, had his beloved wife, Vashti, executed at the very party that he had thrown to celebrate his marriage to her. The beautiful and pure Esther, then 40 years old, gets crowned queen of this world empire. Years she is in the palace, refusing to tell anyone her background, wondering what she, a righteous Jewish woman is doing, married to this capricious, drunkard king.
Just as the Jews were getting comfortable outside of Israel, Mordechai, venerated both by the Jews and by the King’s court, refused to show any respect, even so little as to bow his head, in honor of the anti-Semite Haman. Haman in utter rage at Mordechai’s blatant chutzpah pays off the King to decree a mass genocide to happen on one day- men, women and children, infants to be torn from their mother’s arms and slaughtered- none would be spared.
And then, it all turns around.
On Purim the most crucial Mitzvah of the day is the reading of the Megillah. You absolutely must hear this story, because, Reb Nosson says, it will wake you up. Hearing the story of Purim is not just to pronounce the historical significance of the day. Rather, Rebbe Nachman teaches, hearing ancient stories is a most powerful spiritual device, capable of awakening a person from spiritual numbness and complacency.
Esther represents the sleeping state of a person on the micro level, and the spiritual slumber of the Jewish people as a whole.
“The world says that story tales have the ability to make people sleep, but,” Rebbe Nachman declared, “I say that with story tales you wake people up from their sleep.”1 Everyone loves a good story. Hollywood invests millions into producing stories for the screen. The New York Times Bestseller lists are followed by the masses. My father always said that a good movie is one that you can talk about for 20 minutes afterward. This story is one that we have been talking about for 2,000 years. It is an ancient story with immeasurable power.
The amazing thing is, Reb Nosson continues, that the turning points in the plot of the Megillah itself which bring about the ultimate salvation were two events of storytelling. Mordechai tells Esther a story (in which he overhears two of the kings chamberlains plotting to kill the king!), which she later relates to the king ultimately saving his life. And later, when King Achashverosh can’t sleep, he asks to be read to from the royal chronicles, and is read the story about Mordechai.
Now, stay with me. Esther represents the sleeping state of a person on the micro level, and the spiritual slumber of the Jewish people as a whole. Why is that so? Well, her name, Esther means “hidden.” When a person is sleeping every psycho-spiritual part of him is hidden. All you see is his body. He is totally unaware of what is happening around him, and if dreaming, is experiencing a reality that is illusory. This is what is meant by a “sleeping person,” a hidden person. He might be going to the bank, eating lunch and reading the newspaper, but he is barely scratching the surface of his mission in this world, and of the spiritual fortune just waiting to be tapped.
As we rub our eyes, stretch and look around, an ancient memory stirs within.
Here is when it gets mystical. A couple of chapters later, we hear about a sleepless night for King Achashverosh. His sleep is disturbed. Our sages say that whenever the Megillah says “The King” without Achashverosh’s proper name, it is also referring to The King of All Kings, Hashem. When Esther awakens to her vital mission, she inspires an awakening above, spurring the Creator of All into magnifying his perceptible presence behind the scenes of this riveting drama.
Every year Mordechai whispers this story into the ears of the sleeping Jewish people. As we rub our eyes, stretch and look around, an ancient memory stirs within. I am the star of my own mini-Megillah. There is no spilled ink in the story of my life. Every detail is painted to precision, as part of His-tory.
With this realization the voice of the evil Haman inside, the voice which infects my mind with depression, doubt and boredom, totally dissolves. Every moment is a gift of epic proportion. Choose wisely. Consciously write your lines in this Divine drama.
This Purim, may the reading of the Megillah and immense power of the day facilitate an opening of your heart allowing you to hear the Divine narrative of the people you meet. And, like Queen Esther, may you be so bold as to tell your story to the Melech, to the King of all kings, and thus to feel His Infinite Light awaken behind the scenes of your story.
Based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov Likutei Halachot ,Purim #1
Please note: We spent much time and effort to bring the inspirational teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov as accurately as possible in this article. If you find any mistakes in translation or have trouble understanding the article, please let us know! Feel free to comment below.We bless the viewers to be connected to Rebbe Nachman and to his teachings, and to always be happy and inspired…
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me’Uman 🙂