A nd it came to pass; not in the biblical days of yore, but in the current days of your. It's not about Ahasuerus, once-upon-a-time in ancient Persia, but a scene that is unfolding before our eyes. The Megillah is not to be read "backwards" in time, for each page applies to our own day and age.

In those freewheeling days before Homeland Security and airport screening, jet setters hopped on planes and flew worry-free to 127 countries. Dressed in the latest from GAP and Gucci, chic, ritz and glitz reigned supreme. Catering to each wish and desire they wined and dined, for life's a party with feasting galore.

Wizened diplomats declared "peace in our time," and Royal committees awarded Nobel Peace prizes. Israel was lulled into the Grand Oslo Deception, as Premier Rabin, President Clinton and Chairman Arafat shook hands in the Rose Garden on the White House lawn.

ADL reported that anti-semitism was waning, and bigotry was on the decline. Even the arch villain Haman lost his clout, and devolved into sweet little hamantashen, enjoyed by all. A mere caricature of his angry self, the benign Haman was cute and comical. Who's afraid of Big Bad Haman? He's a loser who can be graggered away.

But as Haman seemed to recede, Al Queda reared its ugly head, the evil Osama bin Laden. It trained Hamans of mass destruction to kill and destroy with dirty bombs and poisons. Haman's hat was three cornered, while Osama's turban is circular; but both are headed in the same direction.

In the ninth month, on the eleventh day, it crashed planes into buildings that once towered on the NYC skyline and the Washington Capital, killing thousands. Osama gloated at the success of his macabre plan, as New York was covered with acrid ash.

Al Jazeera broadcasts Jihad and Fatweh far and wide, as Imams and mullahs spew hatred, inciting masses to kill infidels, Jews and all who refuse to kneel or bow to his Allah.

Unleashing a Pandora's box of Al Aksa, Hamas and Hizbollahs they murder and maim men and women, even babies in strollers, in buses and malls, from Yemen to Manhattan, and Bali to Kenya,

And in Afghanistan
And in Pakistan
and in Pashtunistan from the caves and hideouts where they lurk.

The UN and the EU doodled and dawdled as Arafat and Saddam get away with murder, speaking out of all sides of their mouths.

Some have become Osamas by Osmosis, blaming the innocent victims, and condemning Israel for defending itself. Israel is thus caught between Iraq and a hard place.

We must now rise to the occasion and face the challenge of real Hamans. Our salvation lies with the righteous Mordechai and the Moral Clarity within us, to "Fear no evil, for G‑d is with me." We must remain strong, keep the faith and stand up for what is right. The Talmud actually foresaw a modern Haman, when our Repentance will lead to Redemption.

Let us rally to Purim: hear the Megillah, send Shalach Manos, give charity, unite and celebrate with love of all Israel. Purim empowers us to prevail over Osama, Saddam, and Arafat too!

May the Jews enjoy light and joy, gladness and honor, in every family and family, in every city and city, from generation unto generation.

© 2003 Rabbi Israel Rubin