Today, February 15, 2022, is called Minor Purim. That means that all the qualities in the major Purim are in a small way found in this day. So let us talk about the major main Purim since it’s coming up in exactly one month, and we will be able to appreciate some of the energy we can access on the minor day of Purim.
During Purim, it is a mitzvah to hear the Megillah, the story of Purim, at night and the following day. It is also a mitzvah to give at least two kosher food items to one friend, at least one charity gift to two poor people, and to eat a kosher Purim meal. The code of Jewish law reminds us to give lots of charity, for it is a Godly behavior to be kind to the less fortunate. With these practices, we connect to the mighty blessings and energies of the day.
There is a fascinating interpretation of the name of Yom Kippurim, the Day of Atonement; in Hebrew, Yom Kippurim can also be translated as “the Day of Atonement is only– like — Purim.”
Can you imagine? The holiest day of the year, when we are all dressed in white like angels, fasting and totally separated from the mundane and the physical, the day when God hears our pleas and prayers and forgives our sins so that we may start the year on a fresh brand new slate, is only like the upcoming holiday of Purim? So much power to Purim!
All (many) good things come in small (as in Minor Purim itself) packages, often disguised.
In the story of Esther, when Esther’s cousin Mordechai requests that she speak to the King on behalf of the Jewish people, her own brothers and sisters, she is quoted as saying, “Therefore, I will come to the King unlawfully.” Esther had no appointment to see the King, and her resolve to see the King involved putting her own life on the line.
Esther accepted the argument made by Mordechai; “The Jewish people will be saved because they have been promised by God never to be forsaken. It is true you, Esther, have no appointment to see the King. However, it may very well be the entire reason you were chosen (by Divine Providence) as the Queen to rise at this very critical moment. If you, Esther, do not seize this opportunity to save your people, someone else will be God’s messenger, and your entire progeny will be wiped out.”
In the end, Esther’s self-sacrifice paid off. The King received Esther warmly, and the villain Haman with his ten children were killed on the very gallows he made for Mordechai, the Jew.
Our sages tell us that because of not only the self-sacrifice of Esther, but of all the Jewish people —who stood firm with their leader Mordechai, who did not buckle before Haman and sell out their faith, a commitment beyond any rational calculation — we were saved by God with a total reversal of events. All the evil planned by the enemy was transformed (upside down on its head) to the benefit of the Jewish people.
This holiday is unlike Yom Kippur, in which we must ask God for forgiveness before we have a chance to be heard and granted blessings. On Purim, God reciprocates and grants everyone’s requests and prayers, whether or not they are deserving, just as it was for Esther, who approached the King without calculation and with supra-rational dedication.
On this holiday of Purim, unlike the formality and etiquette of Yom Kippur, we must reach a state of awareness, and emotional actuality wherein our joy in being Jewish and connected with God knows no bounds. We then receive the infinite and boundless blessings already inherent to the day through this joy of being Jewish and God’s special providence over His people.
Once, on the night after Purim, two less fortunate souls were treasuring the moment by counting all the money and food gifts they received over the holiday. One of them said to the other, “It is true Haman was an evil man; nevertheless, we owe him a debt of gratitude. It is in his merit we were successful enough to collect all these generous donations and gifts.”
No one has control over another person. Our only source of blessings comes through our connection with the source of all blessings, God Himself. And even if there are “Hamans” out there planning evil for others, Purim reminds them and us that when God finally decides it is time, the evil tension will be used against the enemies of God. This tension becomes the impetus to benefit all those who remained steadfast in their faith and trust in God, and then God decides to grant miracles and goodness.
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