In Megillas Esther which we read recently on Purim there is a story in there about how when Esther was brought into the king’s palace Mordechai, her uncle, told her that no matter what she could not reveal her identity and tell the king that she is Jewish. She did exactly as she was told and no matter what she did not reveal her nation. When she was chosen as queen, Achashverosh, the king, was getting frustrated by not knowing his queens nationality. He told all the people of his kingdom that whoever can tell him where she is from will get a major reward. Nobody stepped up and told him and he was clueless about her nationality until circumstances required Esther herself to reveal it.
How is this possible? Jews have always associated themselves solely with other Jews. All the Jews from her town had to have known her and could have easily slipped her secret to Achashverosh. An answer that I heard is that this is showing the achdus of the Jews at that time. No matter how great the pressure and reward they put up a united front and were there for each other.
This is contrasted with the story in the beginning of Sefer Shemot where Moshe kills the Mitzri. Moshe saw a mitzri unjustifiably hitting a Jew. Moshe at the time was being raised in the kings palace but also grew up in his real parents Jewish home. He had a conflicted identity. He was Part Mitzri and part Jewish, but when he saw his brother being hit he felt such a strong connection to his people that he goes and kills that Mitzri. The Pusuk says “Moshe turned this way and that way and he saw that there was no man so he struck the Mitzri and hid him in the sand” In the next pusuk we see already that everybody found out what Moshe had done and Moshe had to flee to Midian to escape Pharoh.
How did everyone find out? The Pusuk clearly states that nobody was around to see. An answer that I heard is that when Moshe looked and saw that no man was around that means that there were no Mitzrim around but there were Jews. It was a Jew who spread the news around and told Pharoh.
The Jews in Mitzrim were different than the Jews in Persia during the time of Esther. During Esthers time they were united. “K’ish Echad B’lev Echad”. One person with one soul. This is why they merited to be saved. During Moshes time they weren’t like this they were looking out only for themselves and not for their brothers. This was only the beginning of their slavery. They were taken out of Mizrayim 210 years later only after they could unify themselves as a nation. This is what made them worthy of being Hashems chosen nation and made them worthy of meriting the gift of the Torah.
In this past week’s Parsha, Metzorah, we learn about the severity and the punishments of one who speaks lashon hara. It’s very appropriate to read about this right before Pesach. Speaking lashon hara seperates us as a nation. It causes unimaginable damage between people who should be united. Pesach is all about uniting us and bringing us together as a nation with a common purpose and goal.
On the seder night we start of the main portion of the haggadah, maggid, with inviting all who need food or company to come eat with us and join our seder. This is how we begin the telling of the story of getting out of Egypt, by showing that we are all there for one another and are helping those in need. We are showing to ourselves and our future generations that without the idea of helping one another out and uniting with other Jews we would have never merited being saved and without uniting again we can never merit the future geula.
Student Studying in Midreshet Moriah