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A Blessing to Our Bar Mitzvah: Let Your Tests Be God's Doorway
[My wife and I were privileged to celebrate our son’s Bar Mitzvah this past Shabbat. I shared these words on the occasion.]
The Talmud states that when God wanted to make a name for Himself in His world, the story of Purim was His answer (Megillah, 10b). Question: how can the Book of Esther be the place God makes a name for Himself – it’s the one book in the Torah in which God’s name never appears?
Rabbi Akiva Tatz points out another question. Purim is a celebration of miracles. The Hebrew word for miracle, nes, actually forms part of the word for test: nisayon; it would seem they’re inextricably linked. Asks Rabbi Tatz: if a test requires a miracle, that’s not a fair test. If passing a test assumes a miracle, in what way is it a real test?
One way of understanding a test is simply the experience of being stuck: the Jews facing recapture at the Sea of Reeds or destruction in ancient Persia. Of course individuals undergo tests, too. Someone with a highly critical boss, really annoying siblings, or discouraging personal failings.
A test is being in a painful place with no apparent exit. MORE