“Coincidence is G-d’s way of remaining anonymous.”
Unknown

 

Esther

In Hebrew, the word “megillah” (scroll) has the connotation of ‘rolling, unveiling, or revealing.’ In fact, the book of Revelation in Hebrew is called Hitgalut. The words “Megillat Esther” can be taken to mean the Revelation of the Hidden. In Megillat Esther, G-d’s Name is never explicitly mentioned, which is entirely by design. He is hidden behind all of the seemingly normal events that resulted in the salvation of the Jewish people. R’ Menachem Leibtag cites Chullin 139b in revealing the source in the Torah for Esther,

“What is the source in Torah for the story of Esther?
“ve-Anochi haster aster panai ba-yom ha-hu”
(I will surely hide my face from you on that day.)”
R’ Menachem Leibtag, Megillat Esther, Tanakh.org [1]

It was a time of assimilation into Persian society for the Jewish people. The opportunity for making aliyah, returning to the land of Israel was available, but many chose to stay in the Kingdom of Persia. This lead to a series of events that aroused judgment upon its Jewish residents in Diaspora. The stage was then set for the orphan Hadassah to play a key role in the salvation of her people, by seemingly natural means. There was no splitting of the sea, no plagues, no pillars of fire. Just Hadassah, and her relative Mordechai, working behind the scenes. Mordechai advised Hadassah (meaning Myrtle, with connections to Sukkot), to change her name to “Esther.” When anyone would ask her name, her response in Hebrew would be, “My name is hidden.” Oftentimes, G-d seemingly works “behind the scenes.” For those who have eyes and ears, his Presence is as evident as gravity. For those who do not wish to see, He appears to be hidden, concealed in a world of full of atheism and skepticism.

Speaking of “behind the curtain” orchestrations, the popular science publication Discover Magazine ran an interesting story on the counter-intuitive behavior of Quantum physics. Quantum Physicist Antoine Suarez of the Center of quantum Philosophy in Zurich claimed that,

“[Quantum] entanglement tests conducted with real photons in the lab suggest that quantum effects must be caused by “influences that originate from outside of space-time. . . You could say the experiment shows that space-time does not contain all of the intelligent entities acting in the world because something outside of time is coordinating the photons’ results. . . There is strong experimental evidence that non-material beings act in the world.”
Discover Magazine, Physics of the Divine, Zeeya Merali, pg 51-52

This is a strange statement to find in a popular science magazine. The implication of an extra-dimensional Entity, often called “Coincidence” or “Pure Chance” (in science circles) could have the ability to tweak events on a quantum scale is shocking. Proving this would be incredibly difficult, in not impossible, however it may remain an explanation for the ‘weirdness’ of Quantum Theory. Manipulating events on a quantum scale could create a “Butterfly Effect” chain reaction, like the flapping of a butterfly’s wing could introduce an instabilities in an initial condition of a system resulting in large scale alterations of events. Peter Dizikes of Boston.com says of the Butterfly Effect,

“When small imprecisions matter greatly, the world is radically unpredictable.”
The Meaning of the Butterfly, Peter Dizikes, Boston.com [2]

The article highlights a criticism of this idea,

“A major criticism of [this] view of uncertainty as G-d’s tool for shaping the world is that quantum events usually play out only on the subatomic level. There is no clear evidence that messing with the decay of atoms or the bouncing of electrons can . . . change the course of history. For instance, a midsize asteroid is 10 40 atoms. An unthinkably large number of quantum events would need to be fixed  to steer all of those atoms toward Earth in a way that would have led, say, to the extinction of the dinosaurs.”
Discover Magazine, Physics of the Divine, Zeeya Merali, pg 50

The only problem with this criticism is that it is “unthinkable” to the human mind. And we are not dealing with a mere human mind. Isaiah says,

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:9

Does G-d tweak sub-atomic particles to change the course world history? We do not know, but He can do whatever He pleases, and His work is often not evident to us. He may appear to be far away, distant or uninterested, but the exact opposite is the case. He may “roll the dice” with choice, yet HaShem can foresee every particle interaction from the Beginning of Time until the End, as Pirkei Avot says,

“Everything is foreseen, and choice is given.”
Pirkei Avot 3:19

From the world of Quantum Physics to the Scroll of Esther, explanations of “pure coincidence” point toward a Hidden Hand, manipulating the strings. The events as described the megillah serve as a portent for the future, and its words conceal a story beneath the story. To begin to unravel the mystery, we must begin in the Beginning.

HAMAN THE AGAGITE

“After these things King Achashverosh promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.”
Esther 3:1

Note that Haman apparently is a descendant of King Agag. Agag himself was a descendant from Amalek (1 Samuel 15), the grandson of Esav. Rebbe Nachman says,

“The Talmud associates Haman-Amalek with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as our Sages teach (Chullin 139b): Where is there an allusion in the Five Books of Torah to HaMaN? In the verse (Genesis 3:11), “HaMin ha’eitz – Have you eaten from the tree?” Haman thus represents the defilement of the serpent, the curse of toil that resulted from Adam’s eating from the Tree of Knowledge.”
Rebbe Nachman, Likutey Moharan, Volume VI, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 35

The root of Amalek extends far before Esav. Amalek’s root actually is rooted to the serpent in the garden of Eden,

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which HaShem Elokim had made. He said to the woman, “Has G-d really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’”
Genesis 3:1

amalekdoubt

The spiritual representative of Amalek (=240) first implanted doubt (safek = 240), and after Adam and Eve ate of the tree, they hid themselves. HaShem asked,

“G-d said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree (המן) that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Genesis 3:11

The Talmud comments on this verse, and its connection to Amalek through its descendant Haman, who in the book of Esther attempted to destroy the Jewish nation,

“Where is Haman indicated in the Torah? In the verse: Is it [hamin] from the tree?”
Chullin 139b, Soncino Press Edition

The Artscroll commentary to Esther Rabbah 9:2 says,

“The Hebrew word for “tree”, “wood” and “gallows” is the same – עץ (etz.) Thus, the words, “Have you eaten of the tree” allude to the message – Haman and the gallows.”
Artscroll Insights to Esther Rabbah, Midrash Rabbah, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., pg. 59

R’ Ari Kahn comments,

“More than the meaning of the name Haman, the Talmud looks for the ideological roots of such evil. How is such a personality formed? The Gemara looks beyond his grandfather Agag, beyond his great-great grandfather Amalek, beyond his forefather Esav, and looks even further back, to our first and deadliest adversary, the Serpent who encouraged man to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, even if – or precisely because – the price was death.”
R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish, Purim 5769, Aish.com [3]

It says of the Messiah in Numbers 24, that he will be victorious over the forces of Amalek,

“His king shall be higher than Agag. His kingdom shall be exalted.”
Numbers 24:7

MORDECHAI

As the Talmud asked for the origin of both Esther and Haman in the Torah, the same section probes the source for Mordechai,

“Where is Mordechai indicated in the Torah? — In the verse: “Flowing myrrh,” (Exodus 30:23) which the Targum renders as mira dakia.”
Chullin 139b, Soncino Press Edition

מירא דכיא  = מרדכי
Mordechai = Mira Dakia = Flowing Myrrh

The Breslov commentary notes,

“Mordekhai…had to “sense” G-d’s will. Because MoRDeKHaI personified the MoRa DaKHIa – the fragrant incense. And like Mashiach who will be able to “smell,” to sense, G-d’s Will, Mordekhai, too, possessed an aspect of this “halakhic sense.”
Esther, A Breslov Commentary on the Megillah, Compiled and Adapted by Rabbi Yehoshua Starret, Breslov Research Institute, pg 46

So Mordechai is connected to Mashiach. Amazingly, the Midrash connects Mordechai with Moshe Rabbeinu,

“…had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to turn away His wrath from destroying (Psalms 106:23),. so too did Mordechai, as it is written, “he sought the good of his people and spoke for the welfare of all its seed.” And further parallel: Just as Moses taught Torah to the Jewish people, as it is written ‘See, I have taught you decrees and ordinances (Deut 4:5), so too did Mordechai, as it is written, ‘Dispatches were sent to all the Jewish…[with] words of peace and truth.”
Esther Rabbah 6:2, Midrash Rabbah, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., pg. 59

Mordechai is of the Tribe of Benjamin. This is significant because Benjamin was the only one of the Twelve Sons of Yaakov that did not bow to Esav. Esav’s descendant was Amalek, and Mordechai continues the defiance of bowing to evil. The Artscroll commentary says,

“In what manner did Mordechai “stand in the breach”? The Megillah (2:5) introduces Mordechai as Mordechai the son of Yair, the son of Shimei, son of Kish. The Talmud (Megillah 12b) explains that these three terms do not merely describe Mordechai’s lineage, but actually allude to qualities of Mordechai himself. . . He is called ben ya’ir, (the son or state of brightness), for he brightened the eyes of the Jewish through his prayer…The Midrash then is delineating three similarities between Moses and Mordechai. Each of them was humble, each stood in the breach for his people, and each taught Torah to the Jewish people. . . Why are these three traits highlighted?. . . Mordechai’s refusal to prostrate himself before Haman, the viceroy of the king, could be taken as evidence of arrogance. Furthermore, his persistent refusal to bow down to Haman could indicate that he was uncaring for the welfare of the Jewish people. Indeed, the Jews of that generation faulted Mordechai for the trouble that befell them, for it was his refusal to bow that arouse Haman’s anger. Finally, his eventual appointment as viceroy to Ahasuerus could lead one to suspect him of neglecting Torah study due to the duties of his office…the Midrash makes clear that despite his position as viceroy, Mordechai disseminated Torah throughout the Jewish nation.”
Artscroll Insights to Esther Rabbah, Midrash Rabbah, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., pg. 59

Like Yosef HaTzaddik, and Daniel, Mordechai was promoted second to the King. This links to the concept of Metatron. Mordechai speaks to Esther the now famous words that echo throughout the generations,

“For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows if you haven’t come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

She asks Mordechai to gather all of the Jewish people to fast for three days. Mordechai protested that it was the Passover. Esther replied, “What is Passover without the Jewish people?” The Midrash recounts the harrowing events that happened next,

“At that time Esther was greatly frightened at the evil which was threatening Israel, and she took off her royal robes and ornaments and she put on sackcloth and loosened the hair of her head and filled it with dust and ashes and afflicted herself with fasting and fell on her face before the L-rd. And she prayed, saying: ‘ O L-rd G-d of Israel who is the Ruler from old and created the world, help your handmaid who has been left as  an orphan without father or mother, and is like a poor woman begging from house to house. So I pray for your mercy from one window to another in the palace of Ahasuerus. And now, O L-rd, grant success to your humble handmaid here and deliver the sheep of Your pasture from these enemies who have risen against us, for nothing can stop You from saving whether with many or with few. And You, Father of orphans, stand at the right hand of this orphan who trusts in your lovingkindness, and make this man mercifully disposed towards me, for I am afraid of him. . . Now it came to pass on the third day, Esther put on her most beautiful robes and her richest ornaments . . . she put on a smiling face, concealing the anxiety in her heart. Then she came to the inner court facing the king and she stood before him. The king was sitting on his royal throne in a robe adorned with gold and precious stones, and when he lifted up his eyes and saw Esther standing in front of him he was furiously angry because she had broken his law and come before him without being called. Then Esther lifted up her eyes and saw the king’s face, and behold his eyes were flashing like fire with the wrath which was in his heart. And when the queen perceived how angry the king was, she was overcome and her heart sank … But our G-d saw and had mercy on His people, and He took note of the distress of the orphan who trusted in Him and He gave her grace in the eyes of the king and invested her with new beauty and new charm. Then the king rose in haste from his throne and ran to Esther and embraced her and kissed her and flung his arm around her neck and said to her: “Esther, my queen, why do you tremble? For this law which we have laid down does not apply to you, since you are my beloved and my companion.”
Esther Rabbah 9:1, Soncino Press Edition

After Esther asks the king and Haman to a banquet, Achashverosh could not sleep. Like many tyrants, Achashverosh was a paranoid individual, and the unusual request of Esther must have unsettled him. That night, in a moment of ironic comedy, the king bids Haman to parade Mordechai through the city wearing the king’s robes, in reward for thwarting an assassination plot. The Book of Esther recounts the conclusion at the end of the second banquet,

“The king said …”What is your petition, queen Esther? It shall be granted you. What is your request? Even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.” Then Esther the queen answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondservants and bondmaids, I would have held my peace, although the adversary could not have compensated for the kings loss.”  Then King Achashverosh said to Esther the queen, “Who is he, and where is he who dared presume in his heart to do so? “Esther said, “An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.”
Esther 7:2-6

The Breslov commentary on Esther makes a fascinating connection regarding the gallows,

“All along, Haman’s goal had been to separate the Jewish people from Mordekhai, from the Tzaddik. . . So his advisers had a plan which would have the same effect – make Mordekhai a martyr. Ascribe to him superhuman powers, symbolized by the 50-cubit high gallows, made from a tree; crucify him and elevate him to the status of a god. And when “Haman” raises Mordekhai, it has two possible effects. Some of us might see the Tzaddik and the lessons he meant for us as beyond reach…And then there will be those who turn their backs and say: “To hold a human being is such awe,  to ‘raise him on a tree’, to say his teachings are G-d’s Word and the only way to reach Him – that’s idolatry!” But such a complaint is just a pretext to deny the truth, to cover our real intention: That we ourselves covet that awe to promote our own self-idolatry. So we who won’t humble ourselves, who won’t see the Tzaddik so high,  choose to blind ourselves with the veil of of our own conceit. We close our ears to his inspiring lessons rather than reject our vanity. . . And to reach the Tzaddik, to “climb the tree”, we must all come together. To follow his teachings, to keep his advice, we must encourage one another…”
Esther, A Breslov Commentary on the Megillah, Compiled and Adapted by Rabbi Yehoshua Starret, Breslov Research Institute, pg 80-81

Haman, the embodiment of the curse of death, intended to destroy the Tzaddik, Mordekhai (who is connected to Mashiach), with the gallows. Yet that which Haman intended for Mordechai, were now used for him, and his ten sons. Likewise, the execution stake of Yeshua did not result in his destruction, but resurrection. This event, the death and resurrection of the Mashiach ben Yosef, accomplishes the tachlit (purpose) of the Torah, that is, the death of death. Like Yosef and Daniel, and ultimately Yeshua, Mordechai was then promoted to the Viceroy of the Kingdom,

“The king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordechai. Esther set Mordechai over the house of Haman.”
Esther 8:2

TEN SONS OF HAMAN

“There is a tomorrow that is now, and a tomorrow which is later.”
Tanchuma, Bo 13 and Rashi, Shemot 13:14

The Breslov commentary on Esther tells an interesting story,

“When Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany visited Jerusalem during his journey to the Holy Land almost all the religious leaders of Jerusalem came to the city gates to greet him. Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (d. 1932), the spiritual leader of Ashkenazic Jewry in Israel at that time, did not go. When asked about his refusal he answered that although the Kaiser himself was deserving of the honor bestowed upon him, “I have a tradition that Germany is Amalek.”
Esther, A Breslov Commentary on the Megillah, Compiled and Adapted by Rabbi Yehoshua Starret, Breslov Research Institute, pg 80-81

It is important to note that ‘Amalek’ is a spiritual note physical enemy. However, Amalek can manifest through evil nations, especially ones riddled with anti-Semitism. The megillah recounts the names of the ten sons of Haman, the anti-Semitic descendant of Amalek,

10sonsofhaman

A Scroll of Esther, Chapter 9:7-10.     Click on the photo for a closer look.

“They killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman…”
Esther 9:7-10

In the Hebrew of this passage, there is something unusual about the letters in the names:

“The large letter is the Hebrew character for the number six (Hebrew letters all have numeric values); the small letters, added together, yield the number 707. If the large letter is taken to refer to the six millennium and 707 to the year in the millennium, something fascinating emerges . . .”
Avi Shafran, Fighting Iron with Irony, Jewish Media Resources [4]

The apparent Hebrew date of this gematria calculation corresponds to 5707. The six millennium spans the years (5001-6000). The year 5707 on the Hebrew calendar is 1946. R’ Avi Shafran comments,

“The Book of Esther, (9:13), moreover, refers to the hanging of Haman’s sons in the future tense, after the event had been recounted, presaging, it might seem, some hanging yet to happen.”
Avi Shafran, Fighting Iron with Irony, Jewish Media Resources [5]

On October 16, 1946, in the aftermath of the Nuremberg Trials, twelve of twenty-four Nazis were sentenced to death. Martin Bormann (#X1 below) was tried in absentia, and one, Hermann Göring (#X2) committed suicide the night before the scheduled hanging. Incredibly, the Midrash records one of Haman’s daughters committed also suicide. Thus ten Nazis were executed by hanging. We apologize for showing the photos of the ten “sons” of that man from Germany, but this must not be forgotten, and this history is real. Before the hanging, the virulent anti-Semite, Julius Streicher (#10 below), with hatred in his eyes cried out,

“PurimFest 1946!”nuremberg

R’ Yaakov Asher Sincair reveals,

“The Nuremberg trials were a military tribunal and thus the method of execution was usually by firing squad. The court, however, prescribed hanging. Esther’s request “Let Haman’s ten sons be hanged” echoes down the ages. Equally uncanny is that the date of the execution (October 16, 1946) fell on “Hoshana Rabba” (21 Tishrei), the day on which G-d seals the verdicts of Rosh Hashana for the coming year.”
Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair, ohr.edu [6]

It appears that the book of Esther contained a prophecy for the future. The parallels between Haman’s anti-Jewish movement and the Nazi regime are stunning. Today, the same patterns are beginning to rise, and all believers must stand behind the Jewish people, the nation of Israel.

PSALM 22

Recited on Taanit Esther (the Fast of Esther), Psalm 22 has a very special connection to the Jewish Queen. The Midrash on Psalms says,

“For dogs have compassed me (Psalm 22:17) – that is, Haman’s sons have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me (ibid.) – that is, Haman’s hosts have enclosed me. My hands and my feet they made repulsive (Psalm 22:17). According to R. Judah, Esther said: “Though Haman’s sons practiced sorcery on me so that in the sight of Ahaseurus my hands and feet were repulsive, yet a miracle was wrought for me, and my hands and my feet were made to shine like sapphires. But R. Nehemiah said: The verse is to be read ‘At my hands and my feet he was favored with blessing’, and conveys much the same meaning as with the verse “The L-rd has blessed you at my foot” (Gen 30:30). Thus Esther meant: Because of the work of my hands, blessing came to Ahaseurus.”
Midrash on Psalms, Psalm 22, Translated by William Braude, Yale University Press

י or ו?

Psalm 22 forms an intense battle ground between missionaries and anti-missionaries. Like almost all of their arguments, the debate focuses on one word, ignoring the larger context and tapestry being woven. In verse 16 (17) of this psalm, the minute difference of a centimeter of ink has ignited a firestorm of controversy. The majority reading of the Masoretic text literally reads, “Like a lion my hands and feet.” The Septuagint (LXX) reads, “they have pierced my hands and my feet.” The difference between the Hebrew letters vav and yud are extremely small. Because of this disputed reading, anti-missionaries have accused believers of “tampering” with the text. Such strong language only serves to stir the emotions of the reader, over-simplifies the textual issues at hand and attempts to give their argument an authoritative tone. Since the Masoretic text reading is difficult, some insert words into the text such as:

כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְ֭רֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּ֝אֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי

“Like a lion, [they are at] my hands and my feet.”

“Like a lion, [they maul] my hands and my feet.”

כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְ֭רֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּ֝אֲרִו יָדַי וְרַגְלָי

psalm22dssIn 1947, a discovery of a collection of ancient texts revolutionized our understanding of the Bible. About  If there is one place in this entire debate where one may find an unbiased source, it is the Dead Sea Scrolls. Separated from the debates of Jews and Christians, the Dead Sea Scrolls represent an independent witness to the Hebrew text. The discovery of the scrolls attest to the accuracy of the transmission of the Hebrew Bible, throughout the centuries, however, they also note a variety of textual variants. One of the places where the Dead Sea Scrolls differ from the Masoretic Text is in Psalm 22:16(17). The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, translated by Martin Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich notes,

“Psalm 22 is a favorite among Christians since it is often linked in the New Testament with the suffering and death of Jesus. A well-known and controversial reading is found in verse 16, where the Masoretic text has “Like a lion are my hands and feet,” whereas the Septuagint has “They have pierced my hands and feet.” Among the scrolls the reading in question is found only in the Psalms scroll found at Nahal Hever (abbreviated 5/6HevPs), which reads, “They have pierced my hands and my feet!”
Abegg, Flint and Ulrich, The Dead Sead Sea Scrolls Bible, pg. 519

James VanderKam and Peter Flint, in The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, note:

“The different reading in v.16 depends on a single word: k’ry, which means like a lion. The Gospel writers quote from the Greek Bible, which reads; “They have pierced my hands and feet.” Some scholars have suggested that the Septuagint represents a modification of the Hebrew like a lion, perhaps because it was difficult to make sense of the Hebrew. Another suggestion is that early Christian editors changed the Greek text in order to find evidence of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Hebrew Bible. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the reading in question is not preserved at Qumran, but in the Psalms scroll from Nahal Hever (5/6HevPs), which is textually very close to the Masoretic Text. In line 12 of column 10 we read: “They have pierced my hands and feet”! For the crucial work the Hebrew form is grammatically difficult [7, 8]; but it is clearly a verb, not a noun and means they have bored or they have dug or they have pierced.”
The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, James VanderKam & Peter Flint, HarperSanFrancisco, pg. 124

The Scrolls, which could not have been influenced by an apologetic or defensive theology on either side of the debate, have ka’aru, instead of ka’ari. This seriously damages the anti-missionary allegation of a “mistranslation.” However, what seems to be lost in this argument is that a lion would not lick the hands and feet like pet dog. It would bite into them, conveying the same meaning of “digging” and “piercing.” The lion’s teeth and a Roman nail would accomplish the same effect. Moreover, the question still remains: Who is this passage referring to? The New Testament applies this psalm to the death of Yeshua of Nazareth,

  • “My G-d, my G-d, why have you forsaken me?”
    Psalm 22:1, Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46
  • “They hurl insults, shaking their heads.”
    Psalm 22:7, Mark 15:29, Matthew 27:39
  • “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”
    Psalm 22:18, Mark 15:24, Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34, John 19:24
  • “I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.”
    Psalm 22:22, Hebrews 2:12

The rabbis have declared this passage applies to Esther HaMalka. Yet, is there anywhere in Jewish tradition that indicates that this Psalm is messianic in nature? Is there a connection between Queen Esther and the suffering Messiah?

MESSIAH BEN YOSEF

In an astounding description, the 9th century text Pesikta Rabbati connects the suffering of the Messiah, named Ephraim, with Psalm 22,

“During the seven-year period preceding the coming of the son of David, iron beams will be brought low and loaded upon his neck until the Messiah’s body is bent low. Then he will cry and weep, and his voice will rise to the very height of heaven, and he will say to G-d: Master of the universe, how much can my strength endure? How much can my spirit endure? How much my breath before it ceases? How much can my limbs suffer? Am I not flesh and blood? It was because of the ordeal of the son of David that David wept, saying My strength is dried up like a potsherd (Ps. 22:16). During the ordeal of the son of David, the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to him: Ephraim, My true Messiah, long ago, ever since the six days of creation, you took this ordeal upon yourself. At this moment, your pain is like my pain . . .At these words, the Messiah will reply: Now I am reconciled. The servant is content to be like his Master.”
Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 36.2, Translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 680-681

Thus the Messiah and Esther are linked. Like Yosef HaTzaddik before her, Hadassah’s real name was “hidden,” concealed and taken to be a ruler over the Gentiles. Yosef HaTzaddik’s name was changed to “Zaphnat Paneach” (the Revealer of Hidden Secrets). Moshe was named by the daughter of Pharoah, and was hidden in Egypt and Midian. This indicates that the Mashiach would follow the same path, being claimed as the ruler of the Gentiles and given a new name. The iron beams upon the Messiah’s neck seem to echo the cross beam that Yeshua carried,

“He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha…”
John 19:17

 While this is beyond the scope of this article to elucidate, the Zohar says,

וּמֵהַאי טַלָּא דְּגוּלְגַּלְתָּא דָּא, טַחֲנִין מָנָא לְצַדִּיקַיָּיא לְעָלְמָא דְּאָתֵי, וּבֵיהּ זְמִינִין מֵתַיָּיא לַאֲחַיָּיא

“From the dew in this skull (Gulgalta) manna is ground for the righteous for the World to Come, and through it the dead shall be revived.”
Zohar, Ha’azinu 117, Zohar.com

Pesikta Rabbati even describes the suffering of the Mashiach for the sins of the world, from the time of Adam until the time of Redemption in Piska 36. Pesikta Rabbati 37 continues,

“It is taught, moreover, that in the month of Nisan the Patriarchs will arise and say to the Messiah: “Ephraim, our true Messiah, even though we are your forbears, you art greater that we because you suffered for the iniquities of our children, and terrible ordeals befell thee . . . for the sake of Israel you became a laughingstock and a derision among the nations of the earth; and didst sit in darkness, in thick darkness, and your eyes saw no light, and your skin cleaved to your bones, and your body was as dry as a piece of wood; and your eyes grew dim from fasting, and your  strength was dried up like a potsherd – all these afflictions on account of the iniquities of our children . . .”
Pesikta Rabbati 37.1, Translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 685-686

This haunting passage echoes the Gospel of Matthew of Roman soldiers mocking Yeshua,

“They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.”
Matthew 27:29-31

Pesikta Rabbati continues even further, again citing Psalm 22,

“Ephraim is a darling son to Me . . . My heart yearns for him, in mercy I will have mercy upon him, says the L-rd (Jer. 31:20). Why does the verse speak twice of mercy: “In mercy I will have mercy upon him?” One mercy refers to the time when he will be shut up in prison, a time when the nations of the world will gnash their teeth at him every day, wink their eyes at one another in derision of him, nod their heads at him in contempt, open wide their lips to guffaw, as is said “All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head (Ps. 22:8); My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my throat; and you lay me in the dust of death (Ps. 22:16). Moreover, they will roar over him like lions, as is said “They open wide their mouth against me, as a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is become like wax; it is melted in my inmost parts (Ps. 22:14-15).”
Pesikta Rabbati 37.1, Translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 686-687

Amazingly, R’ Daniel Krentzman reveals the connection between Queen Esther and the Mashiach ben Yosef,

“אילת השחר”: “the Morning Star” (תהילים כב’ א). The Midrash Tehillim and gemara (מגילה טו:) describe this verse as referring to Queen Esther, of Megillas Esther; who prayed to Hashem, in the following verse: “אלי אלי למה עזבתני”, “My  G-d, my G-d, why have you abandoned me?”. This verse refers to Esther as she manifested Mashiach ben Yosef of her generation. For this reason she is called the “Morning Star”; the first light of dawn, which serves as the point of transition from night to day. Thus, she acted as the turning point from distress to salvation, for the Jewish people. In the same way Mashiach ben Yosef effects the transition from exile, characterized by “night”, to redemption, characterized by “dawn”. This is connected to how ChaZaL described the redemption process, as the breaking through of the dawns light: “כך היא גאולתן של ישראל…בתחילה היא באה קימעא קימעא ואחר כך היא מנפצת ובאה”, “Such is the Redemption of Yisrael, at first it comes a little bit at a time until it breaks through and arrives”(ירושלמי ברכות א’ ה). This accurately describes the redemption process as building up slowly, through the human effort of Mashiach ben Yosef, culminating in the revelation of Mashiach ben David. The word “אילת”, implying a connection to Mashiach ben Yosef is also expressed in the Torah as “אילה שלוחה”, “a Hind sent off” (בראשית מט’ כא); for Mashiach ben Yosef is sent out into the world in fulfillment of his mission in rectifying the world (a concept to be discussed more, later on). Thus, the next verse in the Torah describes Yosef.”
R’ Daniel Krentzman [9]

LIGHT

In truth, Esther, like Moshe and Yosef HaTzaddik was a prototype of Mashiach ben Yosef. She was the Mashiach ben Yosef of her generation, as Kol HaTor says,

“(Ps.  22:1) “the first rays of light before the dawn” — In this Psalm we find: “my G-d, why have you forsaken me, ” which was the prayer of Queen Esther who was from the line of Mashiach ben Yosef.  See below (#141).  Our Sages said (YerushalmiBrachot, ch. 1) that the redemption of Israel will come about like the first rays of light before the dawn.  They were referring to the beginning of the Redemption (at’chalta d’Geulah), the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef.  In connection with this, as an additional explanation of , they also noted and referred to the mystery of Jacob’s blessing of Naftali:  [Gen.  49:21] “a hind let loose.” This is in the line of Mashiach ben Yosef, from the aspect of “the firstborn of his ox” [see 11] which is explained by the Gaon in his commentary on Habakkuk (Ch. 2).”
Kol HaTor 2:8, Translated by Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, Yedidnefesh.com

In the Gospel of John, Yeshua warned that the “night” was coming, yet he is the Light,

“I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:4-5

“Night” refers to Exile (Galut), as “Morning” refers to Redemption (Geulah). 2 Samuel 23:4 says,

“One who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through clear shining after rain.
2 Samuel 23:3-4

Dr. Tsvi Sadan cites the interepretation of Midrash Shemuel,

“Morning without Clouds – this is Messiah.”
Midrash Shemuel 29:3, cited in The Concealed Light, Dr. Tsvi Sadan, Vine of David, pg. 24

R’ Daniel Krentzman says,

“Queen Esther, of Megillas Esther, also manifested the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef of her generation. For this reason she is called ”השחר אילת”, “the Morning Star” the first light of dawn, which serves as the point of transition from night to day. Thus, she acted as the turning point from distress to salvation, for the Jewish people in the same way that it is the quality of Mashiach ben Yosef to effect the transition from exile, characterized by “night”, to redemption, characterized by “dawn”. Also, Esther’s utilization of secrecy and deception in order to bring about the salvation of the Jewish people also stemmed from the quality of Mashiach ben Yosef to act in secrecy and deceptively, in order to further the goals of Tikun Olam and the Redemption.”
R’ Daniel Krentzman [10]

Midrash Tehillim says,

“In the verse “For the Leader; upon the hind of the dawn” (Ps. 22:1), Scripture speaks of the generation of Mordechai and Esther, [a time that was more dark than] the night. For though it is night, one has the light of the moon, the stars, and the planets. Then when is it really dark? Just before dawn! After the moon sets and the stars set and the planets vanish, there is no darkness deeper than the hour before dawn, and in that hour the Holy One answers the world and all that is in it: out of the darkness, He brings forth the dawn and gives light to the world.”
Midrash Tehillim 22:13, cited in Sefer HaAggadah, Book of Legends

Like Esther in the midst of darkness, Mashiach will burst forth with light, ending the exile,

“I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the Root and the Offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.”
Revelation 22:16

Even though HaShem appears to be hidden, and His Mashiach far away, He is close, and visible to all who wish to see. Messiah’s footsteps can be heard in the land, and the day is coming when the Jewish people will recognize the Mashiach ben Yosef. The Christians also will recognize that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah. The concealment will end, and light will dawn upon the Israel,

 לַיְּהוּדִים הָיְתָה אֹורָה וְשִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשֹׂן וִיקָֽר׃
“For the Jews there was light, gladness, joy, and honor.”
Esther 8:16


REFERENCES

  1. R’ Menachem Leibtag, Megillat Esther, Tanakh.org
  2. The Meaning of the Butterfly, Peter Dizikes, Boston.com
  3. R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish, Purim 5769, Aish.com
  4. R’ Avi Shafran, Fighting Iron with Irony, Jewish Media Resources
  5. R’ Avi Shafran, Fighting Iron with Irony, Jewish Media Resources
  6. Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair, Purim: History Repeats Itself, ohr.edu
  7. The Dead Sea Scrolls have a vav instead of a yod at the end of the contested word, ka’ari/ka’aru. The strength of the anti-missionary argument against the Dead Sea Scroll reading of pierced arrives in the point that the word contains an aleph, which according to Sigal, “is not part of the root.” Dr. James D. Price states: “Sigal gave the impression that the presence of the Aleph in the word “ka’aru” prevented it from being derived from a Hebrew root which has no Aleph. But the words “ka’aru” and “karu” being variant forms of the same verb (as explained by the lexicographers) is demonstrated by the following Hebrew words that have the same kind of middle Aleph and the same kind of relationship: bo’r, bor (pit, cistern) from the verb bur (dig); da’g, dag (fish) from the verb dug (fish for); la’t, lat (secrecy) from the verb lut (be secret); m’um, mum (blemish); n’od, nod (skin); q’am, qam (he arose); ra’sh, rash (poor) from the verb rush (be poor); sh’at (contempt) from the verb shut (treat with contempt); also in Aramaic, da’er (dweller) from the verb dur (dwell); and qa’em (riser) from the verb qum (he arose). These examples are sufficient to demonstrate that a middle Aleph frequently occurs in words and forms derived from middle Waw verbs as in this passage. His argument is convincing only to those who know little or nothing about Hebrew.”
  8. Gleason Archer writes,” . . . we find in the MT of Psalm 22:17 (16 Eng.) the strange phrase “like the lion my hands and my feet” (kaari yaday wraglay) in a context that reads “dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men have encircled me- like the lion my hands and my feet!” This really makes no sense, for lions do not surround the feet of their victims. Rather, they pounce on them and bite them through with their teeth. Furthermore, this spelling of the word “lion” (ari) is rendered more doubtful by the fact that in v.13 (14MT) the word “lion” appears in the normal way ‘aryeh. it is most unlikely that the author would have used two different spellings of the same word within three verses of each other. Far more likely is the reading supported by most of the versions: ka’ru (They [i.e. the dogs or evildoers] have pierced” my hands and my feet). This involves merely reading the final letter yodh as a waw, which would make it the past tense of a third person plural verb. This is apparently what the LXX read, for oryxan (“they have bored through”) reflects a a karu from the verb kur (“pierce, dig through”). The Vulgate conforms to this with foderunt (“They have dug through”). The Syriac Peshitta has baz’w, which means “they have pierced/penetrated.” Probably the ‘ (aleph) in ka’ru represents a mere vowel lengthener that occasionally appears in the Hasmonean manuscripts such as 1QIsa and the sectarian literature of the second century B.C.”
    Dr. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg. 37
  9. R’ Daniel Krentzman, Tracing Mashiach ben Yosef Through the Tanakh
  10. R’ Daniel Krentzman, Tracing Mashiach ben Yosef Through the Tanakh