On this day of Purim, we give thanks many times for the miracles that Hashem does for us. The Al HaNissim prayer in particular mentions “the salvations, the mighty deeds, the victories and the battles performed for our forefathers in those days.”
This is all well and good. Historically, we are a most hated of people and our continued existence is a miracle that defies all logic and reason. I was asked more than once during my conversion why I would want to join such a people and place myself in obvious danger. My answer then, and now, points to why we remain a people in the presence of threats from every side.
While learning all those years ago, it became apparent that there was no life for me than one of Torah and Mitzvot. My search for God up to that time was, for the most part, very unsatisfying and ineffective. That I loved God was never a question. The problem was service and how to do it in a way that would affect all parts of my existence. One day of worship weekly was just not enough and the freestyle prayer of the other nations simply didn’t work for me.
Upon discovering the Jewish method of constant ritual and organized prayer, there was no turning back. Being weak of character myself, it made every difference to me that the system of mitzvot would reach into every aspect of my daily life from the most mundane to the incredibly sublime. Finally, a path of action that could result in refinement was found and has been satisfying beyond explanation.
Thus, is the strength of the Jewish people and the secret to their survival at times when all their enemies of old have faded away to become a footnote in a dusty historical text. Our Torah and Mitzvot bind us at all times to a larger picture that renders the world around us a mere stage on which our timeless story continues to play out.
Today, on Purim, we give thanks for this continuity as a people and acknowledge that it simply would not be if not for the countless miracles that our God performs for us. Still, we should see a personal angle in all of this. Hashem act for the individual as well as the nation. Our task is to see the countless kindnesses in our lives and give thanks for them as well.
Be it financial struggles, unemployment, home foreclosure, illness, woes from our children or a lack of focus, it is important to remember that Hashem cares for us as individuals and is working for good through our many daily challenges. We may not understand his ways, but that should not shake our emuna (faith) that there is a bigger picture and that even our suffering is ultimately for our betterment.
So my wish for you on this Purim day is that you be strengthened by the knowledge that Hashem is still at work in this world, as he was in all of our historical moments of oppression and salvation, and will provide for each and every need on a personal basis if we only ask and believe. Miracles still occur, if only we take a moment to see it in the little things that come our way continually.