Purim & Parsha Ki-Tisa (Shemoth/Exodus 30:11 - 34:35)
This week, we celebrate Purim, the celebration of YAH’s deliverance in the book of Esther.
The book of Esther is known for a unique feature: It never once mentions the Name of YAHUAH.
For some, this may cause some concern, as it did us. But then we learned of a key connection to Torah that explains much.
There is one prominent story in Torah that also doesn’t mention the Name of YAHUAH. Do you know which one?
It’s the story of Yoseph! Yoseph’s life takes up more space in Bereshith than any one of the Patriarchs - Abraham, Yitshaq, or Ya’aqob. Yet, in all those chapters, the Name of YAHUAH is barely used at all.
Elohim is used many times, but the Set-Apart Name of YAHUAH [יהוה] is only used in two short passages of one single chapter:
Bereshith/Genesis 39:3-5 - "And his master saw that יהוה was with him and that יהוה made all he did to prosper in his hand. (4 ) So Yosĕph found favour in his eyes, and served him, and he appointed him over his house, and gave into his hand all that he had. (5) And it came to be, from the time that he appointed him over his house and all that he had, that יהוה blessed the Mitsrite’s house for Yosĕph’s sake. And the blessing of יהוה was on all that he had in the house and in the field."
Bereshith/Genesis 39:21-23 - "But יהוה was with Yosĕph and extended kindness to him, and He gave him favour in the eyes of the prison warden. (22) And the prison warden gave into the hand of Yosĕph all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there was his doing. (23) The prison warden did not look into any point that was under Yosĕph’s hand, because יהוה was with him. And whatever he did, יהוה made it prosper."
For the next ten chapters, including Yoseph’s rise to power, the Name of YAHUAH is not mentioned at all. His Name appears only one more time in Bereshith when Ya’aqob blesses his sons in 49:18 and says:
"I have waited for your deliverance, O יהוה!"
There are more similarities between the stories of Esther and Yoseph:
Both Esther and Yoseph were “unlikely” candidates who went through a series of “unlikely” events that led to a position of high power.
Both were second in command in a foreign land. Yoseph was second to Pharaoh in Egypt, and as Queen, Esther was second to the king of Persia.
Both were unrecognizable as Yahudim. Yoseph's brothers didn't recognize him, and neither the king nor anyone else in his court knew Esther was a Yahudite.
Both saved the people of Elohim from complete annihilation. Yoseph saved them from famine, and Esther saved them from the sword of Haman’s plot.
Is it a coincidence that the story of Esther and Yoseph share these similarities?
Nope. Nothing in Tanakh - or the world for that matter - is a coincidence, and that’s exactly the point of these two stories.
The fact that YAHUAH’s Name is not mentioned (or scarcely mentioned) teaches us that many times YAHUAH works “behind the scenes.” He governs the world in such a way that His Hand is not openly visible. Events “just happen” to line up and bring about a particular outcome.
YAHUAH often works in this manner for a result that would’ve never been guessed from the start, and for a purpose that is only revealed at the critical moment of need.
YAHUAH works in a “hidden” manner to put His ‘saviors’ in place for the appointed time of salvation for His people.
This is why we celebrate Purim. This is the season in which YAHUAH raises up a means of salvation for His people.
It is no coincidence that this is the message He has been impressing upon us most recently. He has given us more understanding of our role in the world.
YAHUAH has called us to save His people.
In Parsha Ki Tisa, this week’s Torah readings, Yisrael sinned with the golden calf. YAHUAH was going to strike them down immediately, sparing only Moshe, but Moshe pleaded with Elohim not to destroy them.
YAHUAH relented and did not destroy. He made a new Covenant with them, this time adding His Covenant of Compassion, and He forgave their sin: