In Shu, Shu, Shushan long ago…
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In Shu, Shu, Shushan long ago…

As we prepare to mark Purim tomorrow night we cannot help looking at the parallels between the Megillah and current events.

Haman was the chief minister of Persia, subservient only to King Ahasuerus. When Mordechai the Jew refused to bow down to him, Haman launched a plot to kill him and all the other Jews in the land.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is president of Iran, subservient only to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Under the leadership of the ayatollah, Iran is a major sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah. Ahmadinejad has also called into question historic facts, such as the Holocaust, in order to delegitimize Israel. If Iran attains the ability to create a nuclear weapon – which Israel and the West suspect is its goal – then it will not only directly threaten Israel, but the Iranian regime could also pass along such a weapon to one of its terrorist proxies.

At the end of the Purim story, Queen Esther – at the behest of her cousin Mordechai – convinced her husband to stop Haman’s plans and appoint Mordechai in his place.

Perhaps in this modern-day retelling, Queen Esther is represented by America and the international community. Just as Esther struggled with her obligations to her people and her fears for her own well-being if she approached Ahasuerus, Western powers are struggling to do the right thing with Iran while grappling with countries such as China that have close ties to the regime.

Mordechai, of course, is Israel, fighting for the survival of the Jewish people and doing its best to shine a spotlight on Iran’s intentions.

We can only hope that the modern Purim story will play out in Israel’s favor, just like the traditional story. Perhaps one day, in addition to the hamantashen representing Haman’s hat (or ears, depending on your interpretation), we will also eat pastries representing Ahmadinejad.

J.L.

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