Rovo said: There is no one who knew loshon hora as
well as Homon. Loshon hora always refers to telling
the truth, albeit in a destructive way. So Homon, in his
arguments to Achashverosh about destroying all the Jews, was
telling the truth about us.
What did he say? Yeshno am echod mefuzor umeforod bein
ho'amim (Esther 3:8). There is a people who should
be one, who should be united, but instead they are dispersed
and separated among the nations.
Some people said that chas vesholom the Torah keeps us
apart. Let us have something else to bring us together.
Perhaps there were some who felt sincerely that something
else could do it.
Nothing has worked. Enthusiasm for the State of Israel lasted
for about 40 years, but it no longer excited many Jews on its
own -- certainly not those living in chutz la'aretz
who never even visit and have no interest in doing so, and
increasingly not even many of the Jews in Eretz Yisroel
itself. Freeing Soviet Jewry? Remembering the Holocaust?
These are powerful ideas but they obsolete themselves and
have only a limited life span.
It used to be that the basic idea of being a Jew was
unifying. At one time, not so long ago, there was a feeling
of a common destiny and kinship among all Jews. There was a
sense that, however elusive, it is possible to achieve a
consensus on important issues and, more importantly, there
was an acknowledgement that consensus was vital.
Now, under the overwhelming centrifugal forces of
assimilation and a withering assault from within by those who
delegitimize important parts of the Jewish people, many no
longer even strive for consensus. To cite only one prominent
example, the Israeli courts say that it is their duty to
impose their "enlightened" values upon everyone else. They do
not seek consensus but triumph, and they are forced into
compromise only by the press of circumstances.
It is only through and from our precious Torah that we can
even hope to achieve unity. It has stood the test of time,
and still stands as vital and fresh as it was in Shushan
almost 2,500 years ago. It is the only thing that has the
potential to unite us, and it can bring us together, even
those who do not observe it.
The divisions today are very great among us, and there can be
no doubt that many ideologies that have Jewish adherents are
unequivocally illegitimate from a Jewish-Torah point of view.
But here comes the key distinction between the Jew and his
ideology: the person always retains his or her essential
personal Jewish identity -- the pintele Yid -- even if
the ideology is beyond the pale. Though this rules out
anything like a meeting of minds between equals in an
ideological sense, it does not foreclose the ability to
relate to ideological opponents personally with respect. The
subtlety and complexity of most moral stands taken by the
Torah in the modern world, and the intense and constant study
of these issues in mussar, foster an ability to
appreciate many different ideologies.
The greatest effort for unity must undoubtedly be focused on
our own immediate neighborhood. First and far foremost is the
importance of unity among the chareidim ledvar Hashem,
and there is work to be done in this area, deepening and
broadening the bonds. On that basis we can hope for a more
encompassing unity with other groups as well, without
compromising the Torah and according to the directives of
The serious threats and general darkness that are all around
certainly recall the period described by most of the
Megilloh. We may also hope and pray that in the
zchus of the mitzvos of Purim we be zoche to a
similar orah, vesimchah, vesosson vikor.