Purim Is To Teach Me What ?

  1. Why do we get intoxicated on Purim?

The Shulchan Aruch teaches us to be happy on Purim by drinking wine and then going to sleep.

         שולחן ערוך, אורח חיים, תרצה:ב

 חייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע ארור המן לברוך מרדכי: הגה ויש אומרים דאין להשתכר כל כך אלא ישתה יותר מלימודו וישן ומתוך שישן אונו יודע…

A person is obligated to become intoxicated on Purim, the extent that he will not be aware of the difference between “Cursed be Haman”, and “Blessed be Mordechai”. Rema: There are authorities who say that one does not need to become as drunk as that, but he should merely drink more than he is used to drink and sleep and being asleep he will not be aware… (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 695:2)

On Purim everyone receives a greater power of prayer תפילה. The day should be reserved for sincere prayers and not frivolous requests. This is why Chazal decreed that people should be distracted by the drinking (Chidushei HaRim).

On Purim all requests can be fulfilled. The power of prayer in Purim is לאמר למלך to tell the king his requests, and then G-d will fulfill them (Shem Mishmuel).  Purim is a very short day with a lot of mitzvos to do.  We need to remember when we are sober, to make efficient use of the time and daven for our meaningful needs.

2.Tehilim #30: מזמור שיר חנכת הבית לדוד Has References to Mordechai and Haman

This Tehilim compiled by Dovid Hamelech. However, several of the psukim were also composed by: Mordechai Ha’tzadik, the students of Mordechai, Haman Ha’rasha and Queen Esther.  This was all based on the ruach hakodesh that they received at that time (Midrash).

Haman told Mordechai to get dressed in the king’s Royal clothes. Haman lamented out loud that he was preparing the gallows to Hang Mordechai and now he must prepare him to ride the King’s Horse.  While riding on the horse, Mordechai uttered the following prayer:

          תהילים ל:ב-ג

 ארוממך ה’ כי דליתני, ולא שמחת איבי לי. ה’ אלקי, שועתי אליך ותרפאני.

I will exult you Hashem for You have raised me up, and you did not allow my enemies to rejoice over me. Hashem my G-d, I shouted to you and you healed me. Tehillim 30:2-3)

When Haman was leading Mordechai who was sitting on the horse of Achashveirosh, he complained that he failed to destroy Mordechai because G-d intervened.

            תהילים ל:ז-ח

 ואני אמרתי בשלוי, בל אמוט לעולם . ה’,ברצונך העמדתה להררי עז, הסתרת פניך הייתי נבהל.

When things were tranquil, I said that I would never fall. But now I realize it was Your will that made me mighty. When You concealed Your face I was frightened. (Tehillim 30: 7-8)

Haman was rewarded for this one moment of righteousness צדק.  Haman’s descendent converted to Judaism and became a Rabbi who taught Torah to Jews in Bnei Brak!  We learn from this that if Haman’s good deed was rewarded, how much more so are all of our mitzvos rewarded.

3.The Parties of Esther Demonstrated To Us How To Properly Use the Tactics of Tefilah and Simcha

Queen Esther taught us how to gain trust in G-d, ביטחון. If we accept all situations with Joy, emunah and bitachon; then we can accomplish more than our tefilos alone. That is, if one is happy despite the tzaros, because one believes that everything is from G-d, then one can accomplish more than he could with only his tefilos.  Esther taught us that a person can be happy during difficult times by sincerely believing that everything is for the good.

The Chasom Sofer points out that one episode of suffering can accomplish more than many prayers.סבלון אחד עושה יותר מכמה תפילות Purim teaches us to approach even material matters in a spiritual way. We live in an impure world however we must remember at all times to have our hearts connected to G-d.  Throughout Megillas Purim we see that the G-d intervenes for our benefit using the laws of “nature”.

The Megilla can be read on the 11th, 12th,  13th, 14th, or  15th of Adar.  No more and no less.  For this we learn when G-d performs miracles via natural or supernatural means.

            תלמוד בבלי מגילה ב עמוד א

            מגילה נקראת בי”א בי”ב בי”ג בי”ד בט”ו לא פחות ולא יותר.

The Megillah is read on the eleventh of Adar, or on the twelfth, or on the thirteenth, or on the fourteenth, or on the fifteenth, no earlier [than the eleventh] or later [than the fifteenth]. (Talmud Bavli, Megillah 2a)

When the following numbers are tallied we get: 11+12+13+13+15 = 65, which is the same gematria of א-ד-ו-נ-י. This name of G-d represents when G-d chooses to perform miracles within the laws of nature.

We are also taught that Purim is not celebrated on the 10th or 16th of Adar.  The numbers 10+16 = 26, which is equal to the tetragrammaton Name of G-d י-ק-ו-ק = 26.  G-d uses this name, when He performs revealed miracles like was seen in yitziyas mitzrayim (Bris Kehunas Olam).

4.Haman Is Responsible For Teaching Us To Be Happy During The Month of Adar

We are taught to increase our joy starting on Rosh Chodesh Adar.

            תלמוד בבלי תענית דף כט עמוד ב

 אמר רב יהודה בריה דרב שמואל בר שילת משמיה דרב. כשם שמשנבנס אב ממעטין בשמחה כך משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה.

Rav Yehuda the son of Rav Shmuel bar Shilas said in the name of Rav: Just as when Av begins we limit joy, so too when Adar begins we increase joy. (Talmud Bavli, Taanis 29a)

A great-grandchild of Haman taught torah in Bnei brak. What was his name?

            תלמוד בבלי סנהדרין דף צו עמוד ב

             תנו רבנן…מבני בניו של המן למדו תורה בבני ברק.

It was taught in a Baraisa…Descendants of Haman taught Torah in Bnei Brak. (Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 96b)

The Ein Yaakov writes that the name of this descendant of Haman who taught Torah in Bnei Brak was named – Rav Shmuel bar Shilas!

            עין יעקב סנהדרין צו עמוד ב

            מבני בניו של המן לימדו תורה בבני ברק (ומנו? רב שמואל בר שילת).

From here we learn that the son of a descendant of Haman, Rav Yehuda the son of Rav Shmuel bar Shilas, was the Rabbi who taught us to be happy during the month of Adar.

  1. We Do Get Rewarded For Certain Mitzvos In This World?

There is a principal taught that we do not get rewarded for mitzvos performed in this world, שכר מצוה בהאי עלמא ליכא .  The ultimate reward is to be received after death in the world to come.  However, there is an exception to this rule.  The reward for the simcha of a mitzvah  ,שמחה של מצוהis given in this world.  In other words, we receive a reward in this world for the joy we perform when doing a mitzvah.

Why is this? When perform a mitzvah, G-d is rejoicing with us and the greatest joy is to be alive in order to perform mitzvos.  The main point עיקר of the mitzvah of Purim and the entire month of Adar is serve G-d with joy.  Just as Yom Kippur can give absolution of our sins from the past year, Purim gives us the ability to be rewarded the entire year by performing mitzvos with sincere joy.  We learn from the Purim story that all the bad and the good comes from G-d, since he is in charge.  This gives us the strength to serve Him and perform his commandments with a new invigoration of happiness and Joy.

6.Amalek Is The Source Of Sadness and Worry

Nowadays Amalek is not necessarily a group of people. Amalek can also be a concept, an attitude, or a set of ideas. Amalek wants people to feel low and unworthy, ויזנב לך כל .הנחשלים אחריך  They attacked the weak Bnei Yisrael when we were on our way to make Aliyah from Egypt.  We were weak at that time because of our sins.

Amalek causes people to forget. Therefore we erase the memory of Amalek.  By doing this action we remind ourselves we are.  Who are we? We are the Jewish people who are beloved to G-d.  For this reason alone there is no reason to worry. Worries don’t exist when a Jew has Emunah. We erase Amalek by reminding ourselves not to complain.  We need to remember always, that G-d is in charge and taking care of our lives.

Hardships ניסיונות  force us to focus on the good in our lives and to work on being happy.  By connecting with G-d we can achieve the greatest simcha.  The best place to connect with G-d is in Eretz Yisrael.  That is why Amalek attacked us when we came out of Egypt, on our way to the Land of Israel.

Unfortunately, human nature is that when times are good people tend for forget Hashem. He therefore gives us challenges in life, נסיונות\יסורים , in order to help us focus on G-d, through our thoughts and prayers.

We are especially happy during the month of Adar. During this month we are more aware that G-d is with us, even today in our present situation.  Purim is not just a story that happened a long time ago in Shushan Persia (Iran).

The main lesson for us to learn on Purim, is that life seems to be ordinary and natural. However, we also recognize that G-d is in charge of all the details of our lives.  Nothing is by chance מקרה as claimed by Haman and Amalek; all is planned by G-d רק מה’. This is the reason that a Jew acquires the laws of the place he happens to be, in terms of megilla reading. Nothing is by chance.

We read Parshas Zachor in order to remember that Amalek was trying to prevent us from acquiring our inheritance נחלה – Eretz Yisrael.  Whoever prevents Jews from making Aliyah, has a component of Amalek in them.

The Megilla writes that Mordechai wore techeles – tzitzis. He always thought about Eretz Yisrael and kept trying to return there. Mordechai was also part of the group that created the 18 prayer Amida, שמונה עשרה .  However, he was not accepted by all. Maybe because he wanted all the Jews from the Diaspora to make Aliya? We know that the Sanhedrin was in Shushan during the time of the Purim story, and they did not make Aliyah.  Today, any Jew in the world can move to Eretz Yisrael.  No one is stopping us other than ourselves.

7.How does the Purim story remind us to make Aliyah and not to enjoy the diaspora גלות?

After 70 years the Jews were to end their exile in Chutz La’aretz. Instead of making Aliyah, they celebrated a party with King Achashverosh.  This symbolized that they Jews are staying in gallus and choosing not to return to Israel.  Why? It was not so bad and they were comfortable there.  This was unit Haman arrived.  Once he was gone, the desire to return to Eretz Yisrael never materialized.  Is a similar scenario occurring with the USA Jews today?  Do the Jews in Chutz La’Aretz realize that being in USA is a punishment and living in Israel is a reward  from G-d?  We state this belief in the Shema twice daily – if we mean it.

The Torah teaches us that a Jew who steals and not have the money to pay back becomes a slave – an Eved Ivri. After six years he is to go free. If he refuses to leave the punishment of being a slave, then his ear is pierced on the door of his master’s house.  This is because he did not listen to the command of the Torah not to steal.  Why is his ear pierced for stealing only after he refused to leave slavery? He should have ear pierced when caught stealing?

The answer is that this Jew did not learn his lesson that being a slave is a punishment and is not supposed to be enjoyable. This is a sign that he did not internalize lesson to be learned.

From the Purim story we are to learn the lesson not to enjoy living in Chutz LaAretz. Living as a Jew in the USA is a severe punishment. If one is not sensitive to this fact than that is even more of a reason to come home to Eretz Yisrael before it’s too late.

פורים שמח !

About the Author
Arie Pelta MD is a board certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA who made aliyah with his wife and 7 children. He is also a active Medical Corp Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya and Assuta Medical center in Tel Aviv, part of the Assia Medical group. Speciaizing in surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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