Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: ASK Category:HASHKAFA Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Question & Answer For Purim - Was Mordechai Active In The Drive To Rebuild The Bais HaMikdash?

Question: In the Purim story, King Ahasuerus gives Mordechai great power and influence. Why didn't Mordechai use that power and influence to persuade Ahasuerus to let the Jews return to Eretz Yisrael?

Answer: What makes you think that Mordechai did not attempt to gain permission for the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash?  Actually, we find that Mordechai has always been actively involved in the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash.

In Sefer Ezra, we find Mordechai's name enumerated among the first who returned to Eretz Yisrael to rebuild the Bais Hamikdash. This occured 52 years after the destruction of the Temple, during the reign of Koresh (Cyrus), Achashverosh's predecessor.  Unfortunately, due to malicious slander, Koresh restricted emmigration to Eretz Yisrael and Achashverosh, his successor, rescinded the royal permission to build the Bais Hamikdash entirely. In Sefer Nechemiah, 70 years after the destruction of the temple, during the reign of Daryavesh (Esther's son), we once again find Mordechai's name listed among the first to return to E.Y. to help continue the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash.

We clearly see that Mordechai was an avid Bais Hamikdash activist and was always involved. The Mishna in Shekalim names Mordechai as the Head of the Kinim bird offerings in the Bais Hamikdash, so we see that he had an active part of the Bais Hamikdash after it was rebuilt as well.

The Ralbag in Sefer Ezra writes that the reason Mordechai returned to Shushan after he had already settled in E.Y. was to lobby the cause of the rebuilding. This is why, explains the Ralbag, we always find him b'shaar hamelech, at the gates of the palace.

The Yalkut Shemoni asks, why did Mordechai save Achashverosh's life when he overheard Bigson and Seresh's plan to poison him? Wasn't he the one that halted construction of the temple? The Yalkut answers that Mordechai saved the king's life with the conscious decision to gain favor in the eyes of the king and perhaps be able to influence him to permit the rebuilding once again. Apparently, Achashverosh was well aware of Mordechai's intentions as the Yalkut brings the following midrash in the very next pasuk. Achar Hadivarim Ha'e'leh, Achashverosh elevated Haman's stature for the express purpose of counteracting Mordechai's advances regarding the rebuild. Achashverosh thought, "Mordechai wants to build the Bais Hamikdash, let me incite Haman and what Mordechai will attempt to rebuild, Haman will destroy."

Again, from the Ralbag and the Yalkut we clearly see what was foremost on Mordechai's mind. Interestingly enough, when Haman came to take Mordechai and parade him through the streets on the king's horse, the gemara in Megilla 16a relates that Mordechai was in middle of teaching his students Torah. What was he teaching? The laws of kemitza, one of the services in the Bais Hamikdash.

The Midrash relates that Mordechai donated a large portion of his wealth (after his eventual rise to power and inheritance of Haman's estate) toward the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash.

In light of the above, why should we assume that Mordechai ever stopped trying once he rose to power?  What you have to understand is that as powerful as Mordechai became, he was still beholden to the king.  A king that despised the Jewish nation and was always vehemently opposed to the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash.  This wasn't just some trivial foreign policy that we are talking about here. This was an issue that the Persian kings and their governments were constantly engaged in, actively seeking to keep the Jews in exile.

The Yerushalmi in Pesachim (Ch. 10) asks, why didn't the Yidden say Shira after the miracle of Purim? The Yerushalmi answers that it was not a full redemption. Although they were saved from their enemies they still were under the reign of a tyrant king.

Achashverosh was adamant that the Bais Hamikdash not be rebuilt. He offered Esther up to half of his kingdom with only one exclusion - the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash. The infamous party at the very beginning of the Purim story was a celebration of his erroneous perception that the Bais Hamikdash will never be rebuilt. He utilized vessels and clothing of the Bais Hamikdash to underscore this point. The Persian kings were acutely aware of Yirmiyahu's 70 year prophecy and rejoiced when they perceived that it will not be fulfilled. According to Rashi in Megilla 16a, Shimshai, the very same person that was behind the original slander which halted the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash, was the king's personal scribe, reading the sefer zichronos to Achishverosh. Understandably, he refused to read about Mordechai as he didn't want him to find favor in the eyes of the king.  According to many, Shimshai was also Haman's son. Clearly, the key players in the Purim story were all inextricably intertwined with the complications and frustrations of the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash involving Achashverosh, Haman and Mordechai.

This was what Mordechai was up against.  That and of course the prophecy that the full rebuilding of the temple will not occur until 70 years after the total destruction of Jerusalem.  In fact, this occurred only a few short years after the story of Purim.

Hope this helps put it into perspective,

Tzvi Frank

Tue, 10 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Question of The Week: Death of the Talmidim Rebbi Akiva - It's About The Mesorah

Question submitted by anonymous: How come the disciples of R. Akiva - who said "V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha Zeh Klal Gadol BaTorah”, died because of not having respect to each other? And also, did they deserve such a punishment just for not having respect?

Answer by Rabbi Tzvi Frank: I believe you are approaching this inyan from the wrong perspective. It is only because they were disciples of Rabbi Akiva who promulgated that concept of "V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha zeh klal Gadol BaTorah”, that they were punished for this.

They were gedolei oilam! The world was plunged into darkness when they were gone. We are obviously referring to tzadikim of the highest caliber and HaKadosh Boruch Hu is midakdek k'chut hasaaruh by men of such stature. So we can assume that the lacking of respect was so minimal that they themselves were unaware of it.

Sadly, as gedolei oilam, and transmitters of Torah to the next generation, HaKadosh Boruch Hu did not allow them to be the conduits for hamshochas hamisorah (the unbroken chain from Sinai) to their talmidim.

Instead of asking how harsh the punishment seems, a person should become aware of how devastating belittling another Yid is perceived by the Ribbono shel oilem.

I once heard from Rabbi Gershon Weiss shlit”a that he grew up with many friends who eventually turned out to be roshei yeshivos and poskim. When he sees his friends of 50 years, does he approach them with trepidation and exclaim, "how are you harav hagaon hagadol"? No! He says how've you been Naftali?! But when he thought about it, he asked himself is that the proper respect to accord a Gadol baTorah? But we've been friends for 50 years and grew up and learned together in yeshiva!

This explains Rabbi Weiss, is what happened with the talmidei R' Akiva. They all learned by Rabbi Akiva together and were great friends. But as they grew in their learning and avoda and eventually became gedolei oilam, their yachas to each other needed to change as well. We are now talking to gedolei oilam not only our childhood friend, and that requires a different kind of respect.

Hope this helps put it into perspective.


Tue, 27 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Hashkafa Question Of The Week: Why Do We Need A Bais HaMikdash?

Question by Anonymous: A student asked me why she should yearn for the Bais HaMikdash if she is so happy in her present state. What did the Bais HaMikdash provide for us that we can't have now. I can tell her that we became close to Hashem through the Korbonos that we brought but doesn't Tefila take the place of Korbonos?

Answer by Rabbi Tzvi Frank: A parable if I may. Due to a horrendous accident in year 2020 in which multiple airplanes crashed, air travel was completely banned and enforced by the United Nations. Back to trains and boats. In the year 2040 a child playing with her model airplane asks, why do you yearn for air travel anyway? I am happy with my model planes as they are. Who needs the real thing?

Similarly, although tefilla is in the place of korbonos, it is only the "model airplane" of our spirituality. Can we really fly - like we know it - on a model airplane? Can we really soar spiritually - like we used to - without the Bais HaMikdash? Look around. Many many mitzvos and hanhagos that we perform today are merely modeled after how they did things in the Bais HaMikdash. It was where the Shechinah rested His presence on Klal Yisroel, it was the source of brachah for Klal Yisroel, it was divinely inspired spirituality at its perfection.

A second thing to think about. When I was younger, my Rebbe, in the name of Rabbi Schvadron, related a chazal that when Moshiach comes, everyone will remain forever and ever, on the same madreigah he was at the time. Work on yourselves while you can, he would admonish. A bochur asked Rabbi Schvadron, then why should we yearn for Moshiach? Rabbi Schvadron slapped him. Hmmm. I heard this story when I was about 15. To tell you the truth I had the same question myself! If we will not have the ability to grow in our madreigot after Moshiach comes, why are we yearning for Moshiach? I was just too scared to ask my Rebbi this question for fear that he will in turn slap me!!

After a number of years the answer came to me. HASHEM IS IN GALUS! THE SHECHINA NO LONGER RESTS IN THE BAIS HAMIKDASH! Perhaps I am so selfishly looking after myself but am I seeing the larger picture? Am I so blinded by my self-pity that I cannot see the heart wrenching devastation of the Shechina being divorced from the Bais HaMikdash? From Yerushalayim? From His nation?

A third point to ponder. Is she really so happy in her present state? Has she ever heard the news reporting an anti-Semitic incident? Swastikas spray-painted on a shul or school? Has she never been shouted at in the streets? Does she ever feel uncomfortable walking alone in certain neighborhoods? Even if she herself never experienced this, Jews the world over have. Eisav Sonei L'Yaakov and we are in galus. Although we are currently in a malchus shel chesed, things can change quite rapidly. History has proven itself time and time again. There is no question about it. WE  NEED MASHIACH NOW!

Hope this helps,


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Sun, 11 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000