As I wrote last month, we’re lucky to be gifted with two months of Adar this year due to the leap year on the Hebrew calendar. Our family just celebrated the simcha of our youngest daughter’s wedding, and our eldest daughter will be married just after Passover. We’re grateful for this extra joy in Adar.
Increased joy, however, doesn’t need to be confined to Adar. Every day offers opportunities for happiness and gratitude, but we must seek them. Hashem winks at us all of the time, but it can go unnoticed unless we’re mindful and pay attention. One evening at Barnes & Noble, I had one of those movie moments when no one else was nearby and a book flew off the shelf. I’d planned to buy a book of Rumi’s poetry as the ideal birthday gift for my friend, but, after looking at several, I tucked them back onto the shelf. “Now what?” I muttered.
A moment later, the small book on a display stand tilted itself forward and toppled to the ground. I saw the title, “When God Winks: How the Power of Coincidence Guides Your Life,” by Christian author, SQuire (not a typo) Rushnell. “Nuh-uh!” I spoke aloud again, establishing myself as a person who speaks to herself in public.
“After reading ‘When God Winks,’ you’ll learn to recognize coincidences in your life for what they truly are: an act of God’s enduring love. Squire Rushnell is a popular speaker and New York Times bestselling author who has coined the term ‘Godwink,’ now in mainstream usage.” Hashem winks in unexpected places.
I opened the book to a random page. On it was a birth story that mirrored my friend’s experience. It offered loving compassion and a positive perspective on the outcome. If it had contained no other story, it would have been the perfect validation for my friend, so I bought it.
Fast forward four months, to the fall bride tribe destination weekend for our daughter, Sage. We travelled to Asheville, N.C., with our first stop at Malaprop’s Bookstore. Sage happened upon a book titled, “The Illustrated Herbiary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Bewitching Botanicals,” written by Maia Toll. We looked up Sage’s name, knowing it’s used for purification and release. The story was enchanting and she bought the book.
She had it with her when she came over the other day. I was preparing to write this article about Purim, but we got to talking about synchronicity and how Hashem winks and the angels send us messages. It’s not a new subject to us, by any means, but I was reminding her to listen for the whisperings.
Sage spontaneously opened the herbiary book and landed on sweet violet. She said, “Let’s see what wisdom we have here.” What does it focus on? Having a public and private face. If that’s not the theme of Purim and Queen Esther, I don’t know what is!
Sweet violets put on a glorious public show in the spring, but their private work takes place in the fall, when they drop their seeds to the earth to prepare for the following spring.
That section also references public and private rooms in Victorian homes. Public rooms were for entertaining and the help, while private rooms were for family only. Modern architecture, with open-concept living, doesn’t lend itself to nourishment of the inner sanctum. Too much becomes public.
Esther’s public and chosen name was taken from the root, seter, in Hebrew, meaning “hidden.” Hadassah was her given name, which she kept private. She concealed the fact that she was Jewish until the timing was right, and then her disclosure saved the Jewish people.
Sometimes it’s appropriate to be unmasked, public with thoughts and feelings. At other times, it’s wise to be masked, allowing space for your private self to remain private. Then you can nourish the seeds of thought and change, prior to exposing them to the elements that might thwart their full growth.
Meditation Focus: Look at your masks and consider which should be seen and which kept private.