A Sacred Time
Purim is the time when we grind the force of Haman-Amalek down to nothingness. The numerical value of the name Amalek is 240, the same as mar, which is Hebrew for “bitter.”
Reb Nossn explains that the inner force of Amalek that affects all of us expresses itself in feelings of inadequacy. The Amalek within convinces us that G-d doesn’t hear our prayers, since we see that even though we’ve begged for help in some area for what seems like forever, we’ve yet to see results.
But the Baal Shem Tov explains that prayer always helps immediately…its energy just might not have been directed toward the goal that we set for it. Reb Nosson adds that prayer helps no matter what since it draws us closer to G-d and strengthens our bond with Him, regardless of tangible results. This is what life is really about: forging an ever-deeper connection to G-d through heartfelt words of prayer and gratitude.
As the Purim story unfolded, the Jewish people’s situation became increasingly desperate. It took Mordechai and Esther to inspire us to believe in the power of our prayers, because we felt that we were under the pall of Divine apathy. They galvanized us to turn to G-d and the plot against us was overturned.
Reb Nosson concludes, “The words of the tzaddikim are still inspiring us to pray today. We need to hold on to our faith in the power of our prayers to move the whole world. If we really understood the immense power of prayer, we would invest our energies in it and the redemption would have come long ago.”
Dear G-d. Please, please, show me the power of my prayers. Let me know that every single word of prayer helps and makes an indelible impression on me and on the world. Help me use the inspiration of Purim to crush the insidious influence of Amalek by using every situation—good or bad—to turn to You. This kind of prayer is what brings redemption, both from my personal problems and the woes of the world.