Possibly the most important Purim Torah you will hear this year

The holiday of Purim is about camaraderie and unity among Jews. Just as they were united at the time of Haman’s decree, (though unfortunately NOT all united at the time of Hitler) we strive to join with our brethren to find favor in G-d’s eyes.

So here is a question:

We give Matanot L’Evyonim, gifts of money to poor people. There is a requirement to give at least TWO people. Mishloach Manot, however, is “Ish L’rayaihu,” Man to his friend. In other words, the obligation is only to give to ONE person.

If we are seeking friendship and unity, why not require giving Mishloach Manot to more people? Let’s have tons of friends!

The answer, I think, is key to fulfilling these mitzvot properly.

When we give to the poor, we group them together. We effectively let the person (and ourselves) know that his poverty is not a reflection on his good character, but rather there are many people experiencing challenging times as part of G-d’s Master Plan. Misery loves company because it means that it’s not personal. Therefore, we give to multiple people to ingrain the message that wealth or poverty do not define a person.

When it comes to a friend, though, it’s different. We give to ONE person to say, “YOU ARE UNIQUE. I may have other friends, but none is exactly like you. You are an individual and I am privileged to call you my friend.”  This gift IS a reflection of who and what the person is because we focus on how wonderful they are all by themselves.

One major breakthrough tool to unity is to do what Mordechai did. He was “Doresh Tov L’Amo,” he sought out good for his nation. But how did he deal with the people he didn’t like? The nudniks or nasty people he encountered?

I just told you. He was “doresh tov,” he sought out the good. Everyone has good points. By focusing on them, we can love others even if they are different than we are and even if they also have negative points.

HaShem loves us all because we are His children and He sees the good in each of us. Let’s do the same for all His children and make this a truly Happy Purim.

About the Author
Growing up a rabbi's son, Jonathan Gewirtz moved around and met people from all walks of life. A columnist and speechwriter, he draws on his experiences for his writing. As the scion of a Rabbinic family, he is passionate about the power of words and the greatness inherent in each of us.
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