How Do We Save Our World? By Giving Credit to Others

The Jewish holiday of Purim captures man’s genocidal impulse that has pervaded our world for millennia. In the western mystical tradition, it is said that in every generation there arises a villain whose aim is to eliminate an ethnic group who is considered a danger to the larger social order in power. 

  The story of Purim takes place in the Persian kingdom ruled by King Xerxes. His top advisor, Haman, is infuriated when a certain Jew, Mordechai, refuses to “bow down” to Haman in a public procession. In retaliation, Haman procures a royal edict to exterminate all the Jews throughout the empire as “these people” have different customs, may be a danger to the country, and even potential traitors. 

 Unbeknownst to Xerxes, his new queen - Esther - is jewish and the niece of the very man Haman seeks to annihilate, Mordechai. Esther keeps her identity secret from the king, who has selected her from thousands of possible virgins in a beauty contest.  As it turns out, Mordechai had previously alerted Esther to a secret assassination plot against Xerxes.  Esther relates the information to Xerxes who then apprehends the traitors. He asks Esther how she came by this knowledge. She states “in the name of Mordechai I have this knowledge.” That is, she gives credit to her source, and does not claim the credit for herself! This  pivotal attribution fulfills four of the ten cosmic laws -- aka 10 commandments -- that sustain the world:

  • Honesty, i.e., not stealing (8th law);
  • Truth, i.e., not bearing false witness (9th law); 
  • Preserving freedom of others, i.e., not coveting or possessing for yourself   what doesn’t belong to you (10th law); and,
  • Preserving life, i.e., don’t murder physically or psychically by destroying    another’s name e.g. by taking away what he has created/achieved. 

The simple act of giving credit to another sets in motion the possibility of redemption and salvation for the world. In our “worldly”, everyday affairs we give credit to to others, and in the larger scope of life, we give credit to our Source (i.e. God, The One Mind, cosmic consciousness, Gaia, whatever sustains life and order in the universe). For if we don’t give credit to the Invisible Reality, we are doomed to “bow down” and serve Haman, actively participating in our own enslavement and destruction. Like many tyrants through history, Haman attempts to usurp the power of God and destroy the light of truth, freedom and conscience. 

Mordechai prevails on Esther to reveal her identity to the King and speak out against Haman’s genocidal plans.  In a karmic reversal, Haman is eventually hung on the very gallows he had erected to kill Mordechai. Parenthetically, the Jews still had to fight for their lives as edicts could not be revoked. However, the Jews were given permission to fight back, and in a quick battle defeated the evil-doers. 

For me, there are two central points to saving our world: 

  1. Giving credit to our Source; 
  2. Choosing life over death (Deut. 30). 

Both these points are encapsulated in a verse from the Song of Songs:  “Love is as strong as death.”  This statement even encompasses  all 10 of the commandments; for when we love, we do not murder, steal, cheat, bow down before other people or ideals, but rather we preserve freedom and truth. 

The name Purim derives from the word to draw lots. In drawing a lot, we make decisions about important matters. In Haman’ s case he drew a lot to set the date of the destruction of the Jews. This year, the holiday of Purim, which always falls on a full moon, coincides with a surge of destructive solar flairs hitting the earth.  This synchronicity speaks to me of the urgency of our planetary salvation. For a new Haman has arisen in the  21st century - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, the modern day Persia. He threatens atomic destruction to the US and Israel and   openly shouts for the annihilation of the other two monotheistic religions - Judaism and Christianity. 

So how do we react to this new Haman? Where do we place our salvation? No matter what the circumstances, our salvation depends on giving credit to our Source & choosing life over death. By doing so we reconcile the paradox of how to love while we still engage in war.  As we learn from the story of Purim, when evil comes our way, we take action, not to wantonly murder, but to defend and preserve life.  But always we remember who we are working for - not a government, religion, ideology, or greed for money or domination -  but for Source.  In this way we will not stumble into tyranny and hate, but wend our way back to wholeness and unity.