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Purim: 'A Merry Heart' in Troubled Times

03-12-2017

JERUSALEM, Israel – Some things never change.

The story of Purim, recorded in the Book of Esther, tells how a royal edict to annihilate the Jews in one day was overturned.

Though the name of God is never mentioned, it's obvious He's overseeing everything that takes place.

On the festival of Purim, Jews remember what actually took place in ancient Persia – modern-day Iran – about 2,400 years ago.

In Israel, it's a time to forget the headlines, forget the threats and read the Megillat Esther – the scroll of Esther. It's a time to celebrate the victory once again. And Israelis party hardy.

Age is no deterrence. Nearly everyone wears some kind of costume and there are street parties, skits, face painting – a citywide carnival celebrating that ancient deliverance.

Some Things Never Change

Sadly, some things never change and anti-Semitism seems to be one of those things. It has existed from time immemorial and today, just 70 years after the Holocaust, it's on the rise. This time, it's spreading worldwide.

The first months of 2017 brought a rash of bomb threats to Jewish day schools and community centers in America, a place where Jews lived in freedom.

Sometimes it's expressed as anti-Zionism – an ideology denying the existence of a Jewish state in the family of nations. The Arab world has never accepted Israel's rebirth in the largely Muslim Middle East. The U.N. recently passed a resolution declaring the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City Islamic sites.

The Bible says one day all nations will come against Jerusalem. That hasn't happened yet, but from what we can see, it may not be far off. God holds the times and the seasons in His hands.

Meanwhile, on Purim "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine."

Today as in ancient times, that's sorely needed.

 

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