Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: MOADIM Category:PURIM Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Sat, 27 Nov 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev - The Nes of Purim Paves the Way For A New Aleph Bais

The gemara (Sanhedrin 21b) says that originally the Torah was written in Ksav Ivri and only later in the time of Ezra HaSofer was the Torah given in Ksav Ashuris (our Ksav today). What is the significance of this change and why did it happen in the time of Ezra?

Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev in Kedushas Levi says that the prelude to Ezra and the building of the second Bais HaMikdash was the Nes of Purim. Krias Megilas Esther was accepted by all of Klal Yisroel two years after the Nes, and in the next year the Bais HaMikdash was built. The reason for this, explains the Berdichever, is as follows.

The gemara says that after the Nes of Purim Bnei Yisroel accepted the Torah in a way that they hadn't accepted it at Har Sinai. At Har Sinai they recognized the power of Hashem to override Teva and do with it as He pleases breaking every and any rule. They did not recognize however Hashem also has the ability to work within Teva. Only after seeing Hashem manipulate politics and clearly orchestrating a series of happenstances in favor of Bnei Yisroel during the dark times of Haman, did they finally understand that all of what happens and all that we see, is not merely natural world order but rather Hashem's will and choreography, albeit in a hidden manner.

The Seforim say that Hashem created the world with the 22 letters of the Aleph Bais. This might seem beyond our comprehension initially, however we must understand that the Aleph Bais are not shapes but rather different manifestations of the power of Hashem. In Shamayim there are no shapes for the letters as no shape can hold the unlimited power of each letter. The shapes of the letters of Ksav Ashuris are depictions of these powers as they appear in this world of natural limitation.

After Purim with the acknowledgement of Hashem's power within every mundane substance and event, we were zocheh to receive the Aleph Bais, itself a worldly exterior to infinite power. The concept of the materialization of Hashem's presence in the world paved the way to the materialization of power of Hashem within the Aleph Bais.

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Chasam Sofer - How To Get Drunk on Purim

The gemara says (Megila 7b) that on Purim we need to get drunk until we don't know the difference between Arur Haman and Boruch Mordechai. What does this mean?

He explains as follows. The Meforshim ask why was Paroh punished for enslaving the Jews if that was Hashem's decree? They answer that Paroh in his cruelty went far beyond what Hashem decreed, and for that he was punished. If so asks the Chasam Sofer, Haman only tried to carry out Hashem's decree of wiping out Bnei Yisroel r"l, why was he punished? The Chasam Sofer answers that had he done it to fulfill the mitzva of Hashem he would not have been punished. However he did it for his own pleasure and for that he was killed.

If so, says the Chasam Sofer, the only difference between Haman and Mordechai was the intent. Each one carried out their mission but Haman's error was that he did it for his pleasure. Therefore, says the Chasam Sofer, on Purim we become intoxicated in a way that would have left no difference between Haman and Mordechai, L'Shem Shamayim. Just like Haman would have done Tzivui Hashem by killing the Jews had he done it Lishma, so too we must get drunk on Purim for the sake of fulfilling our obligation and not for our own pleasure. Or else there is an obviously vast difference between Haman and Mordechai, and we haven't become shikorim K'halacha.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Isaac Sher - Why Do We Get Drunk On Purim?

Rav Isaac Sher the Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka in Leket Sichos Mussar offers his explanation to this age old question. He says that according to Rav Shimon Bar Yochai the aveira of the Yehudim was that they bowed down to Nevuchadnetzar's idol. Even though it technically wasn't Avodah Zara they should have been Moser Nefesh like Chanania, Mishael, and Azarya. Their tshuva was to serve Hashem until the point of dying Al Kiddush Hashem which they did after Haman's decree was signed.

Similarly our avodah on Purim is to imagine ourselves willing to die Al Kiddush Hashem. The gemara says in Sanhedrin (43a) that when someone is sentenced to death by Bais Din, on their way to their execution they are given wine in order that they should be intoxicated and not feel pain. So too us since we are prepared to literally give up our lives we drink wine to ease our pain.

This explains why after getting drunk Raba slaughtered Rav Zeira. Since they both had in their minds that they were dying, Raba got a little carried away as the line between reality and fiction blurred to the point where he carried out his holy Kavanos.

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Purim: Bnei Yisaschar - The Sweet Smell Of Adar

The Arizal says that each month represents a part of a person's head. The month of Adar represents the "nose". Sweet smell, says the gemara Brachos (44b), gives pleasure not to the body but rather the Neshama. The Bnei Yisaschar explains that when Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz HaDaas they used all their sense for the aveira except their sense of smell. The pasuk says, she saw, she listened, she touched, and she tasted. But nowhere does it say that anyone smelled. Therefore the sense of smell has a certain purity that is unmatched by the other senses.

It is therefore appropriate that for the great Nes that took place in the month of Adar, the month of smell, that both of the heroes of Purim, Mordechai and Ester had names referring to smell. Mordechai's name says the gemara Chulin (139b) is hinted in the name of the fragrance used in the Ketores called Mor Dror or Mira-Dachya as translated by Unkelos. Ester's real name, the Megila tells us (2:7), was Hadasa the sweet smelling myrtle tree. Since a person's name represents their true inner self Mordechai and Ester with their lofty purity were able to avoid the pitfalls of Achashveirosh and his materialism during his party and even while living in his palace. During the special month of Adar where these qualities reign supreme, these two pure tzaddikim saved Klal Yisroel from destruction.

Fri, 18 Feb 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Purim: Meshech Chochma - Klal Yisroel Rejoices In A Different Kind Of Victory The days we celebrate Purim seem to be an odd choice.  A more logical choice would be to celebrate on the 13th, the day we defeated our enemies or on the day that Haman was hung.  Why do we celebrate on the day after Purim the day after the war?

The Meshech Chochma in Parshas Bo answers that this teaches a great lesson about the goals and the victories of Am Yisroel.  We don't fight wars to take revenge and we don't rejoice in our enemy's downfall.  Our simcha is that we are free from the things that constrain our Avodas Hashem and harmful to our existence.

There is no great joy for us on the day of the war.  We do not commemorate the great victory in battle.  We celebrate the day the war was over and we were Mikabel the Torah with renewed vigor.  Am Yisroel Chai.  Am Yisroel lives on by the grace of our Father in Heaven who we can serve with joy.  That is true cause for celebration.

Fri, 26 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Purim: Rav Isaac Sher - Getting Drunk On Purim "Chayav Inish Livisumei" (Megila 7b).  It is incumbent on a person to get drunk on Purim.  The gemara tells us that Raba and Rav Zeira had a Purim seudah and they both got so drunk that Raba slaughtered Rav Zeira.  Only through Raba's tefila did Rav Zeira come back to life.  What is this all about?  We find over and over in the Torah the troubles that come from drinking.  It started with Noach, Lot, Ba'al Pi'or, and the Sotah.  Becoming intoxicated is not a Jewish thing!

Rav Isaac Sher answers that we must look into the Avodah of Purim.  The gemara (Shabbos 88a) tells us that on Purim we rectified our aveira and were Mikabel the Torah with our own free will.  Which aveira?  Rebbi Shimon explained to his talmidim that the reason why Haman was able to destroy the Yehudim was because they bowed down to Nevuchadnetzar's idol.  Although it wasn't a real Avodah Zara only a statue in honor of the king,  and although the Yehudim only put on a charade for the outside world and did not mean it, still they should have been Moser Nefesh like Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya.  Only after the complete tshuva upon hearing Haman's decree,  did they rectify this small gap in their commitment to Hashem, and were then saved.  After the great Nes of Purim they were Mikabel the Torah with genuine 100% unforced commitment.

On every Purim, says Rav Isaac Sher, we must relive this feeling and renew our commitment to Hashem and do complete tshuva.  We must show our willingness to be Moser Nefesh and die Al Kiddush Hashem even when it is technically not required.  To this end the gemara in Sanhedrin (43a) says that before Bais Din executes someone who is Chayav Misa they intoxicate him wine so that he oblivious to the horrible scene and the pain of the execution.

Therefore on Purim when we get intoxicated we are supposed imagine that we are giving our lives Al Kiddush Hashem.  The wine is our last drink to dull the pain.  This is what Rabba and Rav Zeira did only they got a little carried away in their acting and Raba actually carried out the execution and killed Rav Zeira, until he restored his life through tefila.  So if you are going to drink, don't forget your script and why you are drinking... and please stop before the grand finale!

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Purim: Rav Elyashiv - Haman's Dead, But You Cannot Assassinate Your Way To Security After Haman and his children were dead and no longer a threat, Esther comes to Achashveirosh and pleads with him, L'Haavir Es Ro'as Haman HaAgagi V'Es Machshavto", to rid the world of the evil of Haman and his ideas (Esther 8:3).  Why was Esther still pleading and crying?

Rav Elyashiv answers that we think after we eliminate one threat, we are free and are security is now guaranteed.  And then behold yet again we find our existence threatened.  It makes no difference if it is from the east or the west.  Names are not important either.  For everyone killed there are many more to take his place.  Hitler Yimach Shemo was not the last of the anti-semites.

Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai said, "Halacha! BiYadua SheEisav Sonei LiYaakov".  It is written in stone that Eisav hates Yaakov, and it is a Halacha for all generations.  Haman may be dead, but Machsehves Haman still lives on whether we see it or not.  No matter what dark clouds passed, we must never stop to plead and throw ourselves at the feet of our King and beg him to rid the world of Sinas HaYehudim and reveal His glory to the world.

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Purim: Rav Gedalya Schorr - With Haman Gone All Is Clear Rebbi Yochanan in his introduction to the Megila quoted the pasuk, "Zachar Chasdo L'Bais Yisroel Ra'u Kol Afsei HaAretz Eis Yeshuas Elokeinu" (Tehilim 98:3).  "When did everybody see the salvation from Hashem", asked Rebbi Yochanan?  "In the days of Mordechai and Esther."

Why does Rebbi Yochanan think that this pasuk refers to the story of Purim?  There were so many open miracles before the time of Purim.  Moreover Purim itself was really a hidden miracle.  It could be easily reconciled as a naturally evolving story.  First the King kills his rebellious wife and finds a new Queen.  When the new queen complains that a top minister wants to wipe out her and her people, the king kills him.  Is this so miraculous?

Everything that happens in the world is an open miracle.  The whole bria is obviously the hand of Hashem.  It is we who are blind to this.  All we need to do is open our eyes to see it.  We need to stop looking at the world in term of nature, and events as happenstance or "Mikreh".  Rav Gedalia Schorr in Ohr Gedalyahu explains that the worst propagator of happenstance in the world is our deadly enemy, Amaleik.  Amaleik is the koach of cooling off every feeling and clear sighting of Hashem, by rationalizing it away.

Purim was a victory over Haman who was the Koach of Amaleik.  When we defeat Amaleik the truth behind the world becomes crystal clear.  Without Amaleik, even a series of logical political events, one following the other, can be seen in it true light.  Without Amaleik, everything is clearly the hand of Hashem no matter how rational it seems.  Rebbi Yochanan tells us that this pasuk refers to the defeat of Amaleik.  When that happens even the simplest people in the world can also see Hashem.

Mon, 15 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Purim And Tisha B'Av - Days Of Delight

The mitzva on Purim, and actually all of Adar, is Marbim B’simcha. That part we are aware of. What is less well-known is how we derive this instruction. The Gemara in Taanis (29a) says “Just as we reduce our simcha in Chodesh Av, so too we increase our simcha in Chodesh Adar.” Amazing! What would the sorry of Av have to do with the simcha of Adar? Aren’t these two lessons independent of each other?

Among the various answers given, two answers seem to blend together for one message. The gemara is telling us that in order to appreciate a kedusha of Purim, we need to understand the depths of sorrow that comes with an Av. If we truly understood what life without a Bais Hamikdash is about, we can begin to understand what a simcha of Purim is about. Both instances - the events of Av and Adar - transcend so much more than meets the eye, for good and unfortunately, the other way. Adar allows us to dream the impossible - “Venahapoch Hu” - as a true possibility that can happen. Its absence represents Av, the crushing reality of our dreams gone awry.

The other answer is that we all know how to be “marbeh”, to consume, to increase, and it is actually “delightful”, simcha. But when it is “mematin” is it just as “delightful"? Isn’t it so hard to internalize a lesson of “mematin”? Adar and Av teaches us the two sides of the spectrum are one - whether we are marbeh or mematin, it is “simcha” that must accompany that action.

As we go through life, instances and periods of increasing and decreasing are constant, personally and globally. We must not ever lose sight of our hopes dreams for even the impossible to occur. Yet, no matter where we are presently, we must always remember, “b’simcha”. Only then can we expect that day to come. Then we will appreciate the good and bad as only good, as Hashem is kulo tov. To the extent we develop this mindset, we will appreciate the true good that follows every downturn.

My sincerest wishes, for you, your families, and all of Klal Yisroel, that we should only know happiness, upswings in our Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus, serving Hashem with true and unbridled joy, and to live to the day of “Az Yimalei Schok Pinu.”

Sun, 08 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Purim: Alshich HaKadosh - Moshe Rabbeinu and Matanos L'Evyonim

Why do we give Matanos L'Evyonim on Purim? The Alshich HaKadosh says in the name of the Ralbag that after Gezeiras Haman, Eliyahu went to Moshe and asked him to daven to Hashem to spare the Yehudim. Moshe Rabbeinu asked Eliyahu if there was a tzaddik down on earth who can help him with his tefilos. Eliyahu answered that there is tzaddik named Mordechai. Moshe told Eliyahu to tell Mordechai to daven and Moshe would daven at the same time. Hopefully between the two of them there would be a Geula.

In appreciation for Moshe Rabbeinu's help in bringing the Yeshua, Mordechai HaTzaddik instituted Matanos L"Evyonim in order that each person should give tzedoka on Purim L'Zecher Nishmas Moshe Rabbeinu.

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shimshoin Pincus - Esther's Betrayal of The Jewish People?

Haman's decree is sealed and becomes law. The Jews are doomed. All over the world Jews are despondent. But then comes a glimmer of hope. Esther the Jewish Queen sends word that she will make a heroic effort and sacrifice her life by going uninvited to the King to plead for her people. She asks that all Yehudim, men women and children fast for three days and nights so that with their tefilos her impossible mission can succeed.

With the entire nation starving and crying all eyes are turned to the royal palace waiting to hear the outcome of the meeting that can give the Jews a new lease on life. What happens? Word comes out from the royal court that Esther invited Haman and Achashveirosh to a party. Betrayal at its worst! The Queen chooses to save her own life and switch over to the enemy side rather that save her people. It's all over now. The Yehudim have no hope.

Could you imagine how one feels when the Gadol HaDor converts to the enemy side? What do they do now? Despite this they continue fasting and crying to Hashem only this time with 100% dedication knowing that there isn't a person in the world they can count on after even their Tzadiekes and savior has betrayed them.

Only this pure bitachon in Hashem was able to save Klal Yisroel from a Gezeira that was already sealed. This says Rav Shimshon Pincus (Sichos Purim: V'Nichtav BaSefer) was all part of Esther's plan to save the Yehudim.  Only by removing herself as their savior would their true emunah shine through.  "Ein Lanu Al Mi L'Hishaein Elah Al Avinu ShebaShamayim." Chazal tell us that the final geula will only come when we truly have nothing and nobody to rely on except our father in Heaven!

Thu, 05 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Why Do We Eat Hamantashin On Purim? Traditionally Hamantashin were filled with poppy seeds called in Yiddish "Mun" spelled Men Hey Nun, which spells Haman.  The three corners represents the three Avos.  When Haman saw the three Avos his power waned.  The corners are based on the pasuk, "V'Chol Karnei Resha'im Agadei'a", I will uproot the "corners" of wickedness.  This is what the Minhag Yisroel Torah (OC 695:5) brings from the Sefer Matamin.

He also brings from the Yafeh L'Lev that there was a minhag to eat cheese and dairy products just like on Shavuos since the gemara Shabbos says that the Bnei Yisroel accepted the Torah by coercion and Har Sinai and only in the time of Achashveirosh did they accept it with their free will.

Mon, 02 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
A Reader Answers The Mystery of Mordechai's Kemitza

The Keren Orah suggests in his comments on Menachos (53a) that the Korban Minchah symbolizes a regular person. A person's Torah and Mitzvos are similar to the part of the Minchah that is separated during the Kemitzah process, which sanctifies part of the Minchah to be offered directly on the Mizbe'ach. A person's mundane acts are similar to the rest of the Minchah. The rest of the Minchah is eaten by Kohanim in order to give them strength to do the Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Similarly, a person's mundane acts give him strength in order to serve Hashem.

One of the reasons why the Jewish people were originally deserving of punishment in the Megillah story was because there was a lack of in-depth Torah learning. The Gemara in Bechoros (5b; see Rashi there) says that Amalek attacked the Jews only because "they (the Jews) weakened their hands from [studying] the words of the Torah." Only when the Jewish people rectified their flaws were they able to conquer Amalek. Similarly, Haman, who was from Amalek, succeeded in passing his evil decree only because the Jews "were lazy in the study of Torah" (Megilah 11a).

Mordechai therefore was trying to show the children about the Kemitzah that the Keren Orah explained had on one level represented Torah learning. Therefore Mordechai wanted to stress the importance of learning Torah at precisely that time. When Haman realized the weight of Mordechai's actions he exclaimed that the kemitzah had defeated his 10,000 silver talents. With the Torah learning Mordechai was able to nullify the power of Amalek over the Jewish people.

Thank You to R' Akiva Rothblatt for this article. A full version of his comments can be seen in the comments of the Article titled "Megila:Mordechai's Strange Derech of Chinuch" in the Help Wanted section. 


Thu, 20 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000