This coming Motzei Shabbos commences Purim. Ironically much akin to the events described in Megillas Esther today modern Jewry faces a genocidal threat from a Persian tyrant. I’d even speculate as going so far as to say perhaps Ahmadinejad is a descendant of Haman (himself a descendant of Agag, King of Amalek) – and if not genealogically certainly spiritually. This however should not dishearten us (of course we should do introspection in times of affliction) but we must stand proud, and stand strong. HaShem is with our people and this holy day we are about to celebrate is intended to remind us to put our faith in Him. On a related note, if you are wondering what that image is of (which I borrowed from: SalamIran ), it is the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, the heroes through which the Divine plan was effectuated – it is located in Hamadan Iran. Many forget though that Jews are not only distant memories of antiquity in Iran… there are still 25,000 Jews still living there. May HaShem protect them and keep them so that we may never be placed in the situation of having to perform the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim for this population. My fear is that with all the rhetoric being ratcheted up in the global arena we may soon chas v’shalom be placed in this very hard situation. Ahmadinejad laughs in the face of the UN [a joke of an institution] at every obstacle they set before his nuclear ambitions but we can be sure that he will be hung. Towards the end of Midrash Rabbah on Esther it recounts an incident wherein Rabbi Chia Rabbah and Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta were walking in the Arbel valley when they observed the Ayales HaShachar [the first rays of dawn] and Rabbi Chia Rabbah based on the pasuk in the Meggilah 8:6 [ לַיְּהוּדִים, הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה, וְשָׂשֹׂן, וִיקָר] [The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honour] stated “Such is the redemption of Israel, at first it comes little by little, then it grows rapidly greater”… Now, with the re-establishment of our people in our land currently in progress we can be sure that darkness is in its last throes and as such it is taking great (but futile) measures to attempt to preserve itself. Our day is on the horizon, and it will soon be clear as day – and our enemies shall fall. May HaShem continue to bless His nation with might, and bless His nation with peace.