Purim is named after the word “pur,” translated as lots or lottery. Haman thought it was great luck that the Jews were to be killed during the month of Adar, the month in which Moses died. Clearly a sign in Haman’s eyes that the Jews would be destroyed. But as the Talmud seems to indicate, good luck is in the eye of the beholder. The 7th of Adar is also Moses’ birthdate, a great sign of joy for the Jewish people. As Haman is sure his path is filled with success and riches, the question remains: how much of life is really in our control?
The Talmud relays another scene describing an angel taking one drop from the formation of a person and presenting that person to God. The angel asks about the person’s life trajectory. But decidedly missing is a question about this person’s true character. The passage determines that while much is planned in the Heavens, human beings direct their own journeys, either filled with a personal abundance of righteousness or misdeeds. Choosing between goodness and ruthlessness is entirely up to us.
Which means, we have a lot to choose. Even when it feels as if life is completely planned and we have little room to make a difference, building character has larger impact than we might realize. Viktor Frankl wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
So choose wisely. And may your path see much mazel: one filled with a richness of compassion and a lifetime of love.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.