An Arab once entered a bank in Jerusalem just as the automatic mechanism closed the safe. In reply to his demand to receive some cash, the teller told him that the safe could not be opened until 8 o'clock the next morning. The Arab became very nasty, even threatening the life of the teller. At this point, the manager approached the Arab, picked him up and threw him out.
While the Arab was nursing his wounds, the teller approached him saying: "Didn't I tell you that the safe is closed until tomorrow morning?" The Arab turned to the teller and said: "Yes. You told me, but he explained it".
It is senseless to tell our enemies of the folly of their ways. They will understand only when it is explained to them, in the spirit of "Fear of the Jews was upon them."
The Megila records that Achashverosh permitted the Jews to defend themselves on the 13th of Adar against their murderous neighbors in the 127 areas under the King's control. On that day, the Jews killed 75,000 of the enemy in the outlying areas. An additional 800 were killed in Shushan, the capital, on the 14th of Adar. In the two days of fighting on the 13th and 14th of Adar 75,800 Persians were killed!
And in every state and in every city wherever the King's decree reached, the Jews were happy with joyful feasting and celebration, with many of the gentiles drawing close to Judaism because fear of the Jews was upon them.
Fear of the Jew is a mighty weapon. It is alluded to in the Song at the Sea recited daily in the Morning Prayer.
The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moav will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away. Terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm -Eretz Yisrael will be petrified as stone, until your people pass by, LORD, until the people you acquired pass by.
What are the lessons for our time?
The State of Israel was awarded the rare opportunity of "fear of the Jews was upon them". When we could do no wrong, and the opportunities for a major leap towards our final redemption was in our hands.
It happened in 1967, as a result of the 6 Day War. The world, both Jews and Gentiles, were preparing for the devastating, unspeakable destruction of the nascent Jewish State and the annihilation of all its Jewish citizens. Preparations were being made in the US to save the surviving Jewish children; as if there would have been any Jewish children to save had we lost the war. I recall reading that money was collected to erect a great memorial for the gallant State of Israel which is no more!
Israel at that time was small in area and tiny in population. Our army and air force were a mere shadow of what they are today.
The war erupted in the early hours of Monday the 25th of Iyar (June 5) when Israel made a preemptive attack [against the amassed enemy forces], destroying the air forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan & Saudi Arabia.
The ground war commenced. In 6 days we liberated Yehuda, Shomron, the Sinai, the Golan, and Gaza. On Wednesday the holy soldiers of the IDF (Tzahal) liberated the Old City of Jerusalem and for the first time in 2,000 years the Temple Mount was in our possession. Tzahal, with the aid of HaShem, did more in 6 days than what Joshua Bin Nun had accomplished in 7 years.
The world was aghast - as if they had seen a ghost. For indeed we emerged from the grave of history to take our rightful place at the peak of God's miracles.
During those 6 days and even a bit later we could have removed the desecration of HaShem's holy Mount by demolishing the Al Aksa mosque and the golden domed building in the heat of battle, as was suggested by Rabbi Shlomo Goren, but rejected by Moshe Dayan.
And the world would have been silent.
We could have conquered Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and established pro-Israel puppet governments. And the world would have been silent.
We could have transferred all of the alien peoples from our lands and had a totally Jewish country. And the world would have been silent.
We could have expelled the murderous Arabs of Hebron and other potential threats across the Jordan River. And the world would have been silent.
But we did not do any of these justified acts because we were afraid to act like proper Jews. [Editor: Or our leaders wanted Israel to remain 'Israeli' and not 'Jewish'.] The 'fear of the Jews was upon them' did not register with our leaders.
Today Israel is being accused of war crimes. I admit to one unforgivable omission, when in 1948 and again in 1967 we did not expel all our enemies from the country, including the entire Gaza Strip. This is our crime, for which we, our children and grandchildren might yet have to pay the full price.
We did not learn the lesson of Purim; that when HaShem performs miracles, it is incumbent upon us to advance the opportunities afforded us and proceed with conviction and courage along the path of Jewish redemption.
The verse says (Devarim 28,10): And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall fear you.
Rabbi Eliezer the Great explains (Berachot 6a) that the object that will instill fear in the hearts of our enemies is tefillin (phylacteries) placed on one's head.
The opportunity for 'fear of the Jews was upon them' will again present itself.
In view of the political and security experiences of the last 40 years, and the religious awakening, I am certain that we will know how to seize the next opportunity to sanctify HaShem's holy name in Eretz Yisrael.