Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
The Sleeping Nation
Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 04:22:52 PM
Number of views: 197

The Talmud in Megilla 13 states that when Haman targeted the Jews for annihilation, he said to Achashverosh, "Let us implement the final solution to destroy the Jews". Achashverosh replied, "I am afraid of their G-D, lest He do to me what He did to my predecessors, Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar". Haman relieved the king of that fear when he said, YESHNO AM ECHAD, which translates literally as, "there is one certain nation".

The Talmud explains that Haman was telling the king something much more strategic and profound. Not only YESHNO AM ECHAD, "there is one certain nation", but rather "YOSHNO AM ECHAD", "there is a sleeping nation". Haman slandered the Jewish People by saying, "they have been negligent of Mitzvot. They are also divided and divisive by constant infighting. They are asleep at the wheel as to what is important and what threatens them."

Haman's accusations sound frighteningly and eerily similar to our current political situation here in Israel. Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas have over 100,000 rockets and ballistic missiles aimed directly at us. But we are occupied with how many cigars our Prime Minister has received as gifts.

In Haman's time, the Jewish People were vulnerable and on the brink of destruction and extinction, because they were asleep to the danger facing them. The Jews of Shushan were oblivious to what was happening around them. They didn't take the threats seriously, and didn’t stand up for their right to simply exist.

Haman, like so many of our shrewd enemies throughout Jewish History, had a keen understanding of our weakness. Haman understood that going about our business as usual, vicious political infighting, living with our eyes closed, exposes us and makes us particularly vulnerable and susceptible to attack.

Haman recognized that the Jewish people were YOSHNO AM ECHAD, there is a nation that is asleep at the wheel. All he had to do was to continue to lull the Jewish People into a false sense of security, to breed complacency, and apathy. And at that moment Haman could accomplish is goal of exterminating and destroying the Jewish People.

So how did we survive? What spoiled Haman's plan? Why did we ultimately triumph over Haman that we are still here, the superpower of the Middle East? The answer is simple-Mordechai and Esther, two heroes who stood up and like an alarm bell, rang and rang until they woke up our people from their practically comatose sleep.

The Purim message and lesson for us and our time is that we must unite, be alert, and remain one step ahead of our enemies with G –D's help.

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