My Upside Down Purim: Reflections on Rivka bat Yael
What an upside-down world we received this Purim. From Egypt to Libya. From Japan to Syria. Totally Nahafochu* just like in the days of Esther and Mordechai.
And I personally attended a real Nahafochu Megila reading this Purim. At the megilla reading, I sat next to a mother who just a year ago was reeling from miscarriage after miscarriage like a boxer losing consciousness on the ropes, and this year was holding a pink bunny rabbit—her long-awaited newborn daughter. Yet another “Joyous Mother of Children” at the megila reading was sitting with her son and baby daughter whom she and her husband recently adopted after a decade of infertility.
But the biggest Nahafochhu of my Purim was seeing the most gorgeous Purim bride in Jerusalem this year– 5-year-old Rivka bat Yael Razel. At the megilla reading, Little Rivki sat beside her mother, Yael, listening to Esther’s ancient tale of Divine intervention and providence that paralleled her own personal story of near-death followed by miraculous redemption. Seeing Rivki on Purim night, it was hard to even remember that nine months ago her surgeons doubted she would even survive the traumatic brain injury she received when she fell from a ladder leading to the roof of her home. And more good news about our miracle girl, Rivka bat Yael. Rivki will even be attending a regular 1st grade next year. Thank You, God, for hearing our prayers for Rivka bat Yael!
And more good news from the Razel family. This month, Rivki’s father, singer Yonatan Razel, received a prestigious award for his 1st album “Sach HaKol” from Akum, the organization of the Israeli Music Industry. When accepting the award, Yonatan thanked his wife Yael, and explained, “I want you to know that everything I have is from her.” In the video below, Yonatan performs his incredibly beautiful new song “Between the Sounds” at the Akum ceremony. After I heard this for the first time, I was humming it for days… (partially translated below)
An Excerpt from “Between the Sounds” written by Yonatan Razel (with the help of Rabbi Yitzchak Kiali shlit”a)
I opened my eyes today
At the wondrous world that surrounds me
One of an infinite amount of people
Animals, trees, flowers, and scents
The world is like a human being
In which You are the heart and I am the eyes
We were placed here a very long time ago
To guard, to grow, and to touch the Heavens
It’s between the sounds
Between the words
And above the stars
But also exists so close to me…
Deep within my heart…
I am full of hope
Human beings were created in the Divine image.
*At the end of the book of Esther (9:1) it says: “… on the day the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them it was turned to the contrary (nahafochu), that the Jews had rule over those who hated them.” The word nahafochu means to “completely turn around.” This is a central concept in understanding the month of Adar and Purim.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com user David Hurwitz