Maccabee's Wars

A venting rage against the ills of our society with some hopeful observations.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Kesheim She'Mevorachim Al Hatov Kach Mavorchim Al Ha'Rah - Just As We Bless G-d For The Good So Shall We Bless G-d For The Bad

It's amazing sometimes when you hear a speech and you feel it's directed at you.

On Friday I was preparing to go to my friend's son's Bris which took place on Shabbos. My mother wanted me to accompany her to the Bakery to pick up some goodies to take to another friend whom we would be staying by for Shabbos.

Prior to going I had a problem with starting my car and once the engine turned over I let it keep running in front of the Bakery.

As I was standing near the car, a traffic agent told me to move the car along and as I was complying he was using a handheld device to copy info off of my registration sticker.

Disgusted by the fact that he's trying to ticket me even though I'm leaving, I hurry off. Not knowing whether I'd received a ticket or not, I'm both furious at myself for putting myself in a bad situation and at the agent for manipulating the circumstances.

But then in shul on Shabbos I heard a speech by the Mora D'asra of the Tzierei of 14th Avenue, Rav Baruch Saks.

He asked how we can Bless G-d for the 'Bad' which occurs to us with the very same energy we Bless G-d for the 'Good?' His answer revolved around two more questions.

Why is Purim known as purim? Firstly, it should be known as Pur because there was only one lottery. Secondly, why name a holiday after a lottery which was meant to destroy the Jewish people?

Well the answer lies within the question. The very same circumstances surrounding the 'Bad' lottery turned out to become a 'Good' lottery.

Haman's actions brought forth the circumstances which allowed Esther to become Queen, the building of the second Beis Hamikdash through the benevolence of Cyrus, and a yearly celebration of a wonderful holiday.

This turnabout is also seen in the 'order' to drink Ad-She-Lo-Yoda.

We are to drink 'wine' until we can't tell the difference between cursing or blessing Haman and Mordechai.

Why drink 'wine' rather than whiskey? Well, for one, the miracle which replaced Vashti with Esther took place at a party where wine was being served, probably to excess. Moreover, Esther's party for Achashveirosh and Haman was one where wine was also served.

Why again, wine over whisky?

Well, in times gone by, when the Jewish courts had the authority to administer capital punishment, they used to serve the codemned man Shaichor or a type of whiskey. On the other hand, when a man was depressed, in general, he was served wine to lift his spirits. Whiskey, 'deadened' the spirit; something possibly needed for the man who was going to his execution.

In fact, the 'custom' for wishing people a L'Chaim after drinking whiskey stems from the execution scenario. We want to reverse the custom for a man about to die to a wish for life to a person who's having a drink, especially a celebratory drink.

The turnabout by drinking to excess until Ad-She-Lo-Yoda also refers to the changing of the supposed 'Bad' to the 'Good'.

A devastating decree by Haman turned into a celebration through Mordecahi and Esther.

So should we Bless G-d with the same energy for the 'Bad' as we Bless G-d for the 'Good.'

On a closing related note, my friend, the father of the new baby, named the baby after his father.

The grandfather of the new baby, who passed away about 5 years ago, had a tough time when he came to America from Europe. But he always had a steadfast perseverance to any obstacle.

Aside from 'making a living' and rasing children with the proper Derech, there were always people who made things harder with their 'suggestions.'

When the immigration officials wanted to change his last name because it was too hard to pronounce, he refused, because the name was a connection to his roots and family.

When neighbors and officials suggested that he place his mother-in-law in a nursing home because the family didn't have money for themselves, he responded that so long as the family will have food to eat, she will have food to eat; so long as the family has a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in, so will she.

And she did. She remained with the family all of her life.

The great-grandmother and the grandfather of this new baby are long gone and that's sad. But now we have a new member of the jewish family.

So when we Bless G-d even for the apparant 'Bad,' we hope to end up in the long run with the 'Good.'

As the new father said so eloquently how he hopes his sons will have the same attributes as his own father, I already knew, and hoped, that in the long run, we would see that wish come into fruition.