THEMES of Featured Ascent Lights

Purim and Providence
The miracle of Purim was a miracle cloaked in nature.
The Midrash teaches that the Jews merited their first redemption from Egypt in the merit of their distinctive Jewish names, mode of dress, and language.

Nonetheless, our Purim heroes -- “Esther” and “Mordecai” – are known expressly by their Persian names. Therefore, Sefer HaKana found sources for these names in the Torah to show these names’ integral holiness.
Fallen Kings
King Saul's humility ultimately led to his downfall.
A true leader acknowledges his mistake readily. Had King Saul quickly admitted his mistake in not completely exterminating Amalek, he conceivably could have regained favor in G-d's eyes, for a penitent is even more favorable than a completely righteous person.
Is G-d Missing?
G-d is ever-present, even if not always visible.
A central motif of the Megillat Esther is disguise - things not being what they seem to be. Even the name "Esther" in Hebrew connotes hiddenness and invokes the theme of G-d's concealment from us. It is thus appropriate that G-d's name is not mentioned explicitly throughout its text.
Complete Reversal
When a judgment cannot be changed or rescinded, a new one can supersede the previous decree, making it in effect null and void.
The power of teshuva was activated when Esther realized she must be ready to sacrifice her life if necessary. That act, coupled with her call for all Jews in the capital city of Shushan to fast with her for three days and nights, aroused Divine compassion from Above, turning the plans of Haman entirely upside down
Purim's Many Gifts
The nuances of Purim's mitzvot reveal many levels
On Purim the Jews completed the process begun at Mount Sinai by unanimously accepting the Torah and its laws of their own free will, not under duress, as was the case previously. Two mitzvot of Purim - the sending of food items to another Jew and the giving of food or money to poor Jews - bring about Jewish unity, a prerequisite for the giving of the Torah, as well as its purpose, making a dwelling place for G-d in this earthly domain.
Adar - The Deepest Joy
Adar is the matrix that gives rise to Purim; every day of Adar sparkles with the light of Purim.
There are five principal types of joy; the joy of Purim includes all types, unlimited by definitions or descriptions, even by the description ‘unlimited joy’. It is beyond joy; it is joy "ad d’lo yada/until you do not know"- interestingly, the initial letters of these three words spell the word yada/‘knowing’.
Wake Up!
G‑d is found even in natural, perceivable, explainable events, as is highlighted by all the miracles that the Megillah describes without once mentioning G‑d’s name. Haman’s lottery was not just a detail in the story. It came from G‑d, intended to arouse the Jewish people to a higher state of personal consciousness and to create the holiday of Purim.
The Mysterious Bond of Reciprocal Affection
Everyone felt seen, mirrored and drawn to Esther through a mysterious bond of reciprocal affection
Esther's job, her Divine mission, is to never lose sight of the holy tselem, the image of G-d that dwells at the core of all who stand before her.
Queen Esther and the Absurdity of Jew-Hatred
Haman did not argue the case for Jewish extermination on the basis of senseless venomous passion; he presented what was to the King a sound and persuasive argument.
Just like Esther, the presence of a Jew who is permeated by the love and dignity of Torah and Mitzvos — speaks for itself. The grace of a true Torah Jew, the integrity, the innocence, the discipline, the modesty, the moral code, the sensitivity to all that is noble and dignified in life, the love for man and G‑d which Torah inculcates in the Jew, the majesty of a Shabbat table and the depth of Torah wisdom — all these refute the arguments of Haman more than debate can ever hope to achieve.
Adar: The Month of Revival
Planting any tree in Adar makes it destined for success; planting the tree called Adar anytime helps to have success in all endeavors.
The special good of Adar and what opens up its super-mazel-is the dynamic of being turned around.
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