2013-02-19

Hidden: Esther and Shofar

The sages say that God is present in the narrative of Purim, even though The Name is hidden and not found in the Megillah. In Chapter 3-5 "Beyond the Days of Awe" of my book, Hearing Shofar: The Still Small Voice of the Ram's Horn (www.hearingshofar.com), I suggest there is also a hidden connection between shofar and Purim.

Now, I learn from a Drash on Purim by Rabbi Elihu Gevirtz that the name "Esther" means "hidden".
"Esther is the central character of the Purim story. Her Jewish name was Hadassah, meaning a Myrtle tree, but her other name was Esther. The name Esther may be the Hebrew form of the name of the Persian goddess, Astarte, the goddess of love. But in Hebrew the name Esther means hidden. The whole story is about things hidden and things revealed."
Apropo of the upcoming Holy Day, Rabbi Elihu reminds us:
"...there are four mitzvot that we are supposed to do on Purim: 1) hear the Megillah so that we relive the story and make so much noise that we blot out Haman’s name, 2) send gifts of food to our friends, 3) give gifts to the poor, and 4) eat a festive meal. All four of these mitzvot are, at their core, about making God visible in the world." (Emphasis added.)
"Making God visible" is a metaphor. If we blot out Haman's name with the noise of shofar, perhaps we can also make God audible in the world.

The Psalm says to blow shofar when the moon is hidden, as it is on Rosh Hashanah. If the day the moon is hidden is Shabbat, then even the sound is hidden as we observe the mitzvah of remembering the blasts of shofar. I believe that then, despite being inaudible, the shofar blasts from Sinai continue to create vibration at that time.

Similarly, even if we refrain from using shofar as a Purim noisemaker, the muffled shofar of Purim still trumpets the fall of Haman and the affirmation of an inaudible God, the still small voice of HaShem.

Shema Yisrael. Listen.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Thank you for calling to our attention the calling out of the inaudible God. May He be heard! "And the people saw the voices."

    - Rabbi Elihu Gevirtz

    ReplyDelete

 
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