The “Nature” of Purim

Tomorrow, depending on where you live, you may see a lot of people dressed-up,

Masksinging, dancing, and giving out packages to friends and to the poor. The reason being is because tomorrow is when the holiday of Purim falls out this year.

Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the Jews being saved from a huge pogrom. I’m not going to go through the whole story of Purim now but it’s a great story! If your interested, you can watch a short animated version below, or click here. 🙂

So you may be wondering, what’s the connection between dressing up and being saved from a huge pogrom?? Well, it’s a valid question! This holiday is one where there was not any opened miracles. Unlike Hannukah or Passover, Purim is a holiday of hidden miracles.

Everything that occurred in the story of Purim seemed to be a natural event. For example, when King Achashveirosh’s queen, Vashti, refused to come to his party, he had her killed. Since he needed a new queen, he held a “beauty contest” and Esther “conveniently” was chosen. There were many other factors that came together but had Esther not been the queen, she wouldn’t have been able to stop Haman’s evil plan. And that is just one example!

MaskGoing back to why there are costumes. Well, since God was hidden throughout the entire series of events, costumes are an allusion to the Purim miracle. The details of the story were all disguised within natural events. Therefore, we remind ourselves of this through the act of dressing up and hiding our true selves.

In addition to this, when we read the story of Purim, (The Book of Esther) God’s name is not mentioned at all. The message from this is that God is always here even when He doesn’t seem to be. 🙂

 

 

 

 

To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles. –Mary Davis

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The Unanswered Prayer

I heard the following story over the weekend and felt it was definitely a story worth sharing! Make sure you read until the end! I hope you like it as much as I did! 🙂

David Myers* walked in to his second grade classroom that morning to find his best friend Jesse Green* in a panic. “We’re not going to recess today,” he told David. Seven-year-old David could not understand what was more important than recess!

“My mother went to the hospital this morning,” Jesse explained. “She’s having a baby. David, I have five sisters already, if she has another girl I’m gonna go out of my mind! We can’t go to recess today. We have to stay right here and pray to God that He should give me a baby brother!”

Now David really understood the emergency! He agreed that there would not be recess today. Especially not when there was a chance Jesse could get his long-awaited brother!

When it came time for recess, all the other kids ran out the door. David looked longingly at them but then got to work storming the Heavens. After 15 minutes, the teacher walked in and asked the boys what they were doing. David explained, “Jesse’s mother is having a baby and we’re praying it should be a boy or else he is going to have SIX sisters!” The teacher looked at them very seriously, “That is a real emergency, I’m going to bring in the class from recess. You keep praying!” The class came in and all said a few prayers together for Jesse to have a baby brother.

About an hour later, there was a knock on the classroom door and Jesse’s father walked in with a huge smile on his face. The class waited with baited breath.

“Congratulations Jesse! It’s a girl!” 17342021251_4f52599eda_b

“Ugh,” the entire class groaned. They all felt let down, especially David.

“I gave up my recess to pray for a baby boy! Why didn’t God listen to me?”

No one could give him a satisfying answer. David felt frustrated and betrayed but he couldn’t change what already happened: The baby was a girl. Jesse’s family brought her home from the hospital and named her Rebecca.

At seven-years-old, it was beyond his understanding how their prayers could have gone unanswered. It seemed as though God just ignored their request. It was only years later that David understood.

When David got married, Rebecca Green became Rebecca Myers and he made sense of the incident. Had God fulfilled his childish request, his future wife would never have been born. As a child, he thought he knew what was best for him but God saw the future and knew better. rings-2319465_960_720.jpg

Regardless of our age, we are all children in our perspective on the world, our shortsightedness limiting our vision while we think we see it all. We know what we want and we can’t understand why God won’t give it to us. But there is a bigger plan that we can’t see. While the answer to our prayers may not be a “yes,” it is always the answer we need.

I trust that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not wise enough to see it. –Oprah Winfrey

*Names have been changed

A Match Made in Heaven

This story happened to my friend who is now happily engaged! I hope it can spread a little light into your day! 🙂

One of my good friends who lives in L.A got set up with this guy from New York. They went out a few times and they realized it wasn’t going to work out. My friend was a little bit upset, as is normal after a break-up. A few weeks later, she realized that one of her best friends would be a good match for this guy. Little did she know that that guy thought of the same thing for her!

She set up this guy with one of her best friends and this guy set her up with one of his best friends. Needless to say, both couples are now happily engaged! Had my friend not went out with the first guy, she would have never met her future husband! God works in mysterious ways. We really never know what He has planned for us but we just have to trust that it’s all for the best! 🙂 pexels-photo-679875.jpeg

Do you believe that there are no coincidences? Everything happens for a reason. Every person we meet has a roll in our life, whether big or small. Some will hurt, betray and make us cry. Some will teach us a lesson, not to change us but to make us be a better person. –Cynthia Rusli 

It’s the Little Things in Life

The past few posts have been elaborating about why bad/not such great things happen in life. I want to try and open your eyes about the good things in life too :).

In my first blog post, I mentioned that even a leaf falling off a tree has a true purpose so let’s start with that! A leaf is a source of food, shelter and even hydration for many living things. Trees have hundreds of thousands of leaves so why does one little one matter? Well, it could be that some ants were in desperate need of food so the leaf fell just in time to feed them. Or if it didn’t fall, maybe it was because a caterpillar needed a safe place to make a cocoon and it needed that extra leaf for support or shade.

If we take this a step further, we can look at rain or dew on leaves.

Water droplets on leavesThose tiny droplets of water may mean nothing to us, but for some animals or bugs, that could be their only source of hydration. Sometimes, the leaf may have needed to fall so that the droplets of water would be on the ground for another living thing to be able to get to. Sound farfetched? Of course. But the whole concept of Divine Providence may certainly be farfetched at times, it just takes time to really understand it. When we start with the little things, the big, harder things, become a lot easier :).

 

Speaking of the bigger, harder things to comprehend, how many times have you thought about the fact that leaves and trees give us the ability to breathe? We as humans couldn’t survive without them, yet how many times do we think about that? It is a constant reminder that every tiny thing in life is always done for our benefit. The hard part is recognizing it!

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It’s Not Always Easy

You know when you put a lot of effort into something and then the whole thing falls apart? It could have taken hours, days, weeks, months, or even years to create but it can just be gone in seconds. It’s during times like these that test who we really are. How you handle and react to these situations are what really define you as a person.

Let’s say you saved up money for the past few years to be able to buy your dream car. Finally the big day comes and you make your way to the dealership and bring the car home. A few days later, your best friend that you’ve known since you were kids, asks if they can borrow your brand new car. Hesitantly, you agree. A few hours later you get a call from them that they totalled the car. The brand. New. Car. Your heart drops.

Obviously, you’re upset. You saved up money for years for this car and all of a sudden it’s gone. In addition to the money you invested, you’re emotionally invested. This is something that you had an attachment to before you even owned it. Now, most people would be blaming the friend. Whether they were angry or sad, most people would think that the friend should either buy you a new car or figure out a way to pay for it, something. Well let’s say this friend is totally broke. No insurance, and no way to pay for this. The situation just keeps escalating.

In most cases, the friendship would be taking a huge hit. But if you take a few deep breaths and just take a minute to think, the scenario might end up being very different. Think about the car. At the end of the day, yes, it was a huge loss but it was something materialistic. Think about your friend. They’re probably beating themselves up over and over about this. But this friendship is something that could last forever.

This could have been a test in so many ways. It could have been a test to your character, maybe to show you that you have some areas to work on. It could have been a test to your friendship, maybe it needed strengthening or maybe it wasn’t meant to be. If you have even a sliver of faith, things can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Obviously the harder they are to deal with, the more significant in your life they are supposed to be. It’s not always easy, but if you deal with these obstacles properly, then that is how you go far in life. Not by blaming people and being miserable, but by believing in yourself and overcoming the challenges that life throws at you.

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. -Walter Anderson 

How a tragedy saved a life…twice

The following is a true story about how a horrible incident ended up saving a man’s life more than once.

On August 9th, 2001, an American man, (let’s call him Issac) was waiting in line in a pizza store in Israel. He was in quite a rush and the man in front of him (let’s call him Jacob) turned around and asked if he wanted to go ahead of him in line. Gratefully, Issac went ahead, ordered his pizza and left. About 30 seconds later, he heard an explosion and turned around to see that the pizza store that he was in not even a minute ago, had been bombed. Had Jacob not let him go in front of him, it would have Issac almost killed in that explosion. Issac accompanied this kind stranger who he never met in his life, to the hospital. After staying there for a while, Jacob was still unconscious so before Issac left, he put a note with his number in his hand in case he ever needed anything. He literally owed him his life.

Issac went back to America and weeks later, receives a call. It was Jacob’s son. He told Issac that his father would be coming to America for treatment and they were wondering if Issac would stay with him in the hospital. Obviously, Issac said he would be there. The day of the surgery, Issac took off work to be with Jacob in the hospital. It was a long surgery but Issac stayed in the waiting room the entire time.

A few hours had passed and suddenly, Issac heard people screaming. He looked out the window and what he saw was unbelievable. The Twin Towers had become engulfed in flames and started to crumble. What shook him was that that was where he worked. Had he not been waiting in the hospital for Jacob, he would have probably been killed in 9/11.

There are so many things we can see from this story. At the beginning, you were probably thinking, why was Issac the one who got to be spared. How is that fair? But now that you see the full picture, you see that had Issac been the one in the pizza store, he would have probably gone to work on 9/11, or maybe he would have died before then! Jacob needed to be the one that was seriously hurt, he needed to do that good deed of giving up his place in line, all so that Issac would not be at work on the day the Twin Towers came down. The Divine Providence is so clear. Everything that happened was just another part of the master plan. Even if it seems like something horrible has happened, you never know the true reason behind it, it may even have been to save someone’s life!

This story happened to two Jewish men and someone wrote a beautiful song about it. It is a religious song so you don’t have to watch it, but it brings the story to life and gives it so much more meaning. It’s in english and the singer had people act out the story with real footage from both events.

There is a reason for everything. You might not be able to figure it out, and time might have made us all forget it, but the reason is there all the same. -Maria V. Snyder