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Shlomo Ezagui

Extra Special Added Joy.

Robert Linder

Every few years, this year being one of them, we mark our calendars with “Small Purim” (Feb. 23, 2024) on the first Adar of two Adars. It is a taster and preview of the principal celebration of the REAL Purim one month later. On Small Purim, if you just mentally and emotionally open your mind and heart, you will already start smelling and experiencing the joy and miracle of Purim.

The jolly holiday of Purim shares something very special with the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippurim. Our sages tell us that Yom Kippurim (the Holy Day of Atonement) is similar to Purim, with Purim being the superior holiday, in a certain sense!

When the Moshiach comes speedily in our days, all holidays will pale compared to the happiness, bliss, and Godliness that will shine in those times, except for one holiday — Purim. Even then, the celebration and recognition of the day will stand out in its supreme joyfulness.

Beyond the fact that within the name of Yom Kippurim are the letters of the holiday Purim, the essence and practice of both days share something in common.

On Yom Kippur, lots were thrown to determine which goat would be sacrificed and which would be sent away. The holiday of Purim (literally, “lots”) refers to the lots cast to determine the date for the annihilation of every Jewish person in the Persian Empire.

Typically, when people need to decide, they weigh each option’s benefits versus disadvantages. However, his approach is not rational when a person depends on a lot (raffle). He is leaving it up to forces beyond the scope of logical thinking. Yom Kippurim and Purim holidays have “lots” (beyond logic and submission to a higher power) at their central core.

A person can have a relationship with God based on and supported by his intelligence and rational thought. As a matter of fact, Maimonides says the more a person understands the influence of God in his life, the more God has His attention and watchful eye on that one.

When the relationship with God is based only on one’s intelligence, it is always limited to the degree to which a person can grasp why it is acceptable to dedicate himself to this alliance with God. This kind of relationship would be shaken to its core when something occurs outside the realm of rational explanation.

“God is our shadow.” How we relate to God, God will relate to us. Suppose our acceptance of God is merely logical and rational. In that case, God’s relationship with us will always be limited to logic, the rules of nature, and what makes sense (absence of mercy and beyond the law) for God to bestow upon us.

Higher and more profound is a relationship surpassing human intellect’s finite boundaries. I am bound and committed to the essence of my being, whether I can make sense of it or not. I have complete trust and faith.

Yom Kippur is a day of atonement because it is precisely this aspect of love and atonement that we connect with on this holy day. Everyone prays, fasts, and goes to a synagogue on Yom Kippur. The essence and deep core within the soul devote themselves to and renew their bond with the Almighty God. As a result, God reacts in kind, resolving the deeds of the past year by forgiving the past and once again looking in favor upon that individual to grant a year of health and blessings. All this is brought about through intense devotion, prayer, and fasting.

However, on Purim, while the wicked Haman counted on supra-rational forces to destroy the Jewish people (hence the casting of lots to determine which day he would exterminate the Jewish people), the Jewish people, because for one whole year they demonstrated complete self-sacrifice for God, were miraculously saved in an incredible series of events that surpassed anyone’s imagination. The relationship between God and His people expressed itself most fantastically with the death of Haman, and is celebrated today by eating and drinking.

On Purim, the bond between a person and God does not just express itself through spirituality, being in a holy place, and acting angelic. On Purim, when our physical lives are saved, we eat a special meal, exchange gifts of food with each other, and offer gifts to the poor because the effects of the day permeate even the most mundane and ordinary of matters. Purim is a day of incredible joy and happiness that knows no bounds since the commitment of the Jewish people to God knows no bounds.

Joy breaks all personal limitations. When a person serves God out of a feeling and emotion of joy—dancing, singing, drinking, eating—he takes the essence of his core, the entire broad spectrum of his soul, and connects all of himself with God. “All my bones will say, Who is like you, oh God?”

When a person is pleased with his relationship with God, this happiness knows no bounds and brings about the greatest blessings from God in his life.

That is why, in regards to the first “small” Purim, the code of Jewish Law advises us, “It is good to have a heart of festivity all the time.”

The mysticism books tell us, “When a person is happy in his relationship with God, God is (then) happy in His relationship with this person.”

Chapter 89   www.aspiritualsoulbook.com
www.rabbishlomoezagui.com

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. www.rabbishlomoezagui.com "A Spiritual Soul Book" (www.aspiritualsoulbook.com) & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" (www.maimonidesadvice.com) In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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