Trekking swiftly towards Passover, I’m clinging to a bag of insight I grabbed from the forever mysterious celebration of Purim.

Two holidays, only a month apart—yet conceptually so distant. Both about redemption. Both about wonder. But while the Passover Exodus occurred out in the open like a thunderbolt in the sky, Purim played out its story in the foggy dark of a midnight dream.

Which day has the greater impact? The sages state unequivocally: In a time to come, all the festivals are destined to disappear, yet Purim will remain. They tell us it says so in the Megillah: “And this holiday will never pass from the Jews.”

Now that’s strange. Because the Torah says that all the festivals are forever,—“For all your generations.” How could any of them disappear?

And why should Purim be any different? Why should a festival not even mentioned in the Five Books of Moses gain an eternity to which the other festivals were not privileged?

The Jewish Map of Time

To explain, I need to first take you to a new mindset, with a different perspective on time:

Imagine the Jewish calendar-year as a landscape. See before you a globe of vast seas and valleys, plains and hills, canyons and mountains—just like our Planet Earth. Except that in this case the mountains are days such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shavuot.

Imagine the plains as those days Imagine the Jewish calendar-year as a landscape. Mountain days are awesome.of the year when not much changes, where life is a humdrum of if-then loops, like an endless prairie—field, silo, field, silo…

Imagine the valleys and canyons as those days of the year when you must remind yourself to look up, to peer towards the sky from between the many mountains.

And then there are days you might find yourself in a real rut, lonely, lost. Within the reach of the clutches of despair, G‑d forbid.

But those mountain days, they are awesome. You only need to tune in to your soul, resonate with the music of the Torah, let the energy of the season flow through your body as you leave your weekday work behind—and then you are gifted with a panoramic view from a higher world, a glimpse of inner meaning, of the direction of life and your place within a divine scheme.

A time beyond the mundane. An elevated time.

Nevertheless, there will come a day, an endless day of Shabbat, very soon, certainly much sooner than we can imagine, when “the earth will become filled with the awareness of G‑d as water fills the ocean bed.” Such a deep and profound immersion of our universe into the divine wisdom that even the highest mountain-peaks will lie entirely submerged beneath its thunderous waves. Such an elevation that those mountains’ former grandeur will seem petty, their vistas myopic.

All but one. One mountain still towering above the waves. As high as those wisdom-waters may rise, this one island will always occupy an entirely different range of altitude, endlessly beyond.

And that is the mountain of Purim.

The Mountain We Never Climbed

Why Purim? Why not Passover?

Because we never climbed the mountain of Passover. We were carried on eagle’s wings, as the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The same with Yom Kippur, the day that G‑d pulls us towards Him with love and showers us with forgiveness.

The same with all those festivals gifted to us in the Torah. We did not form them; they form us.

Not so Purim. Purim was one of those dark chasm events, staged in a place of abandonment and despair. There was no mountain, no ladder to heaven. The iron gates Purim was one of those dark chasm events, when G‑d seemed out to an endless lunch.were drawn down and G‑d appeared to be out to an endless lunch.

The natural response would have been to give up and melt into the mud. We abandoned Him, He abandoned us, game’s over. Let’s be Persian. Our lives will be spared.

But we did not do that.

We said, “We are Jews, whether there is a mountain here or not. We are connected to our G‑d, even if He appears to have walked out on us—and we’ve given Him every reason to do so. But we will not let go. If He will hear us, good. And if He does not, we will die as Jews.”

Just as we had once dug our own ditch, we now built our own mountain with our own bare, soiled hands. We built it, we climbed it, we placed our flag on its peak.

And that is a mountain of absolute mystery, an island of such elevation that no knowledge, no understanding, no wisdom can ever subsume it.

The Console Above

Here’s another image: Think in terms of light. Imagine yourself snatched from your corporeal shell and whisked off to a console chamber in the heavens. An angel takes you to a display and you behold your entire life before you.

And it is all light. Intense, blinding light. Light you could never have perceived as a mortal being within a carbon-based encasement. But now you are granted eyes to see, a heart to understand. And you are stunned with wonder.

You ask, “What is that light?”

And you are told, “It is the highest light of the Infinite that can only be released into your lowest of worlds, yet only perceived once you have left that world behind. Until a time to come, when you shall return with all souls, to the ultimate world of truth.”

And you ask again, “But I see bright sparks here, and here, and here. Sparks that stand out even beyond that infinite light. And I don’t understand: If it is infinite light, then how could the sparks be yet brighter?”

The angel answers you, “That is not light. That is darkness. Not just any darkness. Utter darkness.”

“That is you when the entire world See that mysterious light? That is you when the entire world lied to you. And you kept going.lied to you and told you there was no hope, no heaven, no G‑d, nothing to stand for, nothing in which to believe. And you kept going.”

“That is you in your loneliness, in your outrage. You in your deepest struggle with the darkness inside you, and with the darkness that enveloped you from all sides.”

“See this spark here? That’s the time you were outraged at the mockery a friend was being put through. So you blurted something out about it, even when it wasn’t your place to do so, even when no one wanted to hear. And no, it wasn’t very popular. And yes, you really fumbled your words. But in the end, those words changed everything.”

“Here’s the time you got in a fight with your neighbor, and in your mind, it was entirely his fault. But he wouldn’t say sorry. So you said “good morning” one day. Because someone had to.”

“And here is the time you realized that the widow over in room 402 is all alone in lockdown. So you knocked on her door and when she timidly opened up, you said a meek hello from beneath your mask. Just a few words back and forth. But look at that light!”

The Ultimate Passover

“That is you when G‑d was in hiding, and you unleashed your own light. When you decided you had to play G‑d’s role in His world, to take ownership of your life and your world and make them good.”

“And He, in turn, worked from within you.”

“So that light is you. When you and G‑d became one.”

“And G‑d is beyond infinite light. Way beyond.”

Passover wasn’t quite a free lunch, not quite a deus ex machina resolution. But close enough.

Which is why it could not entirely last, why we were able to slip back into exile and a slave-existence again and again. Until the deep spiritual slavery in which our souls rest today, so deep we imagine the darkness to be light.

But when we leave our current exile behind, it will be through almost two thousand years of brave resilience and survival, of the spilled blood of our martyrs, of oceans of the tears of prayers, of the steel and iron of stubborn resolve, the insane, dogged drive of a people that just won’t let go when the entire world tells us we’ve lost.

Through the mitzvahs It’s those mitzvahs we do in the dark of a spiritual night that hold a mystery of eternity.we did in the dark of a spiritual nighttime, the Torah wisdom we exposed when the teacher was out of the classroom.

There will be another Passover, an Exodus from this coarse, spiritual darkness of humanity. It will be very soon. And it will be forever, in divine recognition of those human beings who put their shoulders to the task.