One Nation

A Catholic Priest and a Rabbi were chatting one day when the conversation turned to a discussion of job descriptions and promotion. “What do you have to look forward to in way of a promotion in your job?” asked the Rabbi.
“Well, I’m next in line for the Monsignor’s job.” replied the Priest.

“Yes, and then what?” asked the Rabbi.

“Well, next I can become Arch-Bishop.” said the Priest.
“Yes, and then?” asked the Rabbi.
“If I work real hard and do a good job as Arch-Bishop, it’s possible for me to become a full Bishop.” said the Priest.
“O.K., then what?” asked the Rabbi.
The Priest, beginning to get a bit exasperated replied, “With some luck and real hard work, maybe I can become a Cardinal.”
“And then?” asked the Rabbi.
The Priest is really starting to get mad now and replies, “With lots and lots of luck and some real difficult work and if I’m in the right places at the right times and play my political games just right, maybe, just maybe, I can get elected Pope.”
“Yes, and then what?” asked the Rabbi.
“Good grief!” shouted the Priest. “What do you expect me to become, G-D?”
“Well,” said the Rabbi, “One of our boys made it!”
* * *
Purim is coming, and together with it, the revelry, costumes, jokes and good times. Yet Purim is not just a holiday for a good laugh; there are profound messages buried within the story and celebration of the day.
Some of these messages are easy to see, such as the necessity for doing everything in our human capacity to secure salvation. Others lessons lie buried in the nuances of the story.
One such lesson can be found in the words of Haman himself. Yes, the evil Haman actually teaches us – subconsciously – one of the fundamental teaching of Purim, and, for that matter, Purim.
In the third chapter of the Book of Esther (v.8), Haman expresses his plan to annihilate the Jewish people to Ahaseuros, and in doing so, prefaces his remarks with a description of the nation he wishes to destroy:
“There is one nation scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from every other people’s and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.”
Haman is actually singing our praises, without even realizing it:
There is one nation – There is a nation of Oneness, a nation that believe only in One G-d, a nation that is united amongst themselves and supports each other in good times and in difficult;
Scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples – Even while we are exiled across the earth, we still retain our Oneness, joining together in many ways;
Their laws are different from every other people’s – As Jews, we are proud of our heritage, and are not embarrassed at those who mock us. Even during the challenges and difficulties of exile, we maintain our dedication to the Sabbath, holidays, Torah study, prayer and charity.
This message – imparted subconsciously by Haman – teaches us that it is specifically our characteristics as “One nation” that allow us to survive thousands of years of persecution and difficulty.
From Haman we learn what helps us the most: “One nation.”
So too, today, we should rely on the inherent unity amongst our people to carry us forward. It is merely incumbent upon us to uncover the oneness and unity through acts of kindness, Torah study and mitzvot.