PURIM AND KI THISSA 5758


PURIM 5758


This Week's Edition
of Parsha Insights
is Dedicated by
Avraham Hirsh ben Zussman Dan
Stadtman

in honor of his Grandparents
Jack and Eleanor Glass
and
Pop Harold Friend

On This Purim - May Blessings Go Forth to All Klal Yisrael


TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK. . .
I'm sure everybody wants to hear about this.

"On Purim, one has an obligation to become intoxicated to the point that he does not know the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman". (Talmud Tr. Megillah 7b)

If you don't already know what the difference is, then there is no need to imbibe enough to blur the distinction, you have fulfilled the obligation. To that end, I would like to share a few ideas, to teach you what is the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman". Then you will be obligated to drink wine until you won't know what you are now going to learn.

We know about two special trees that were in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life (Etz HaChayim), and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Etz HaDa'as Tov M'Rah or just Etz HaDa'as). In reality these two trees are one, they represent different manifestations of the same idea. They are two trees sharing the same root system.

The Torah is called a Tree of Life, but in this world it is revealed to us in its aspect as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Therefore we experience the Torah as sets of what seem like opposites: kosher, non-kosher; pure, impure; permitted, forbidden. This is the constant struggle of choosing between good and evil.

Haman, (who met his death on a tree), received his spiritual sustenance from the evil aspect of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Esther and Mordechai, who turned the hearts of Yisrael to Teshuva, got their sustenance the good aspect of the Tree. The path to connect the with the Etz HaChayim in while in this world and to derive sustenance from it, is by way of the Etz HaDa'as. They are in essence the same tree.

Haman believed that his sustenance was from the Etz HaDa'as alone, and then only from its evil aspect. Esther and Mordechai knew that their sustenance ultimately came from the Etz HaChayim, the Tree of Life.

Therefore one must drink on Purim until he doesn't know the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman". One must come to realize that there is no difference between them. Even Haman who derived his sustenance from the aspect of evil, could have connected himself to the Etz HaChayim, the essential good. He chose to differentiate, to "not know" that they weere the same tree. When we drink to blur the distinction, we come to the realization that everything is connected to Hashem and is therefore at its essence, thoroughly good.
(Based on Emes L'Yaakov, R' Avraham Yaacov of Sadigora, Purim, 5629)


"Chava (Eve) took a cluster of grapes and squeezed them (to make wine)." (Midrash Rabbah Bereishis 19:8.)

On Purim it is a Mitzvoh to drink wine. When one drinks on Purim with the intention of fulfilling the Mitzvoh of the day, then it is possible to make a Tikkun for the sin of eating from the Etz HaDa'as. This elevates a person to a level where he is drinking form the "wine which is preserved in it's grapes from the six days of creation". That wine is being saved for the meal that the Tzadikkim will partake of in the future. That wine represents full awe and comprehension of Hashem. It is an existence where evil has no place. Therefore a person must intoxicate himself on Purim until he doesn't know the difference between "Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman".

His drinking brings him to the level where he understands that Hashem's good is manifest in every aspect of the world. In truth, there is no longer a distinction between good and evil.
(Based on Emes L'Yaakov, R' Avraham Yaacov of Sadigora, Purim, 5618)


GIVE UNTIL IT. . . FEELS GOOD

"All of a persons' income is allotted to him from Rosh HaShanah to Rosh HaShanah with the exception of the expenses of Shabbos, Yom Tov and the Torah education for his children. If you skimps, he Hashem gives less, if you increase, He gives more." (Talmud Tr. Beytza 16a)

I once heard the well known contemporary lecturer, Rabbi Ezriel Tauber, use this passage to demonstrate an incredible idea. In the U.S. the cost of quality Torah education is high. Many parents petition the tuition committee for a reduction in fees claiming financial hardship. Rabbi Tauber said that this practice is actually destructive.

Let's take account. If one was allotted $50,000 for general annual living expenses, and needed an additional $10,000 for the needs of Shabbos and Yom Tov, and $20,000 for school tuitions, his annual income would come to $80,000.

However, if he was granted a $15,000 reduction in tuition fees, then his annual income would drop to $65,000, reflecting the tuition cut. Says Rabbi Tauber, this prevents wealth and blessing from being bestowed on Yisrael from above. Since the family in our example needs $15,000 less, that much less divine bounty is deferred from Klal Yisrael!

With this we can understand one of the laws of Purim. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, Chap. 694) states, "You should give to anybody who puts out his hand to you on Purim; even to a non-Jew." Don't think that the money you give to a non-Jew is really to help him. We are the ones who benefit from our own giving. When a Jews opens his hand and starts to give, it creates channels of abundance for Jew and non-Jew alike. Hashem uses these channels to direct his bounty into the world and Klal Yisrael benefits. When we give, Hashem continues giving to us.
(Based on Emes L'Yaakov, R' Avraham Yaacov of Sadigora, Purim, 5618)


WONDER OF WONDERS

The Purim story is an incredible wonder! Esther, the righteous Tzadekes is taken in by Persian pagans. Haman, a lowly government clerk, rises to such heights of power in the Persian kingdom that everybody bows down to him except Mordechai who publicly refuses. He doesn't even bother trying to avoid Haman, and nevertheless Haman doesn't touch him. Yet, in the end the story makes sense and it becomes clear how each element of the story was a perfectly orchestrated aspect of Hashem's providence.

This being the case, declares the Chiddushei HaRim, regardless of any unexplainable circumstances we may find ourselves in, the solution is clear. Everything is a part of Hashem's plan. (Sefer Chiddushei HaRim, Purim p. 127-8)


PARSHAS KI THISSA

YOUR BETTER HALF

"Everyone included in the census must give a half shekel of the (holy) Tabernacle standard, this is a shekel of 20 Gerahs, this is the half shekel gift to Hashem." (Exodus 30:13)

R' Chanoch Chenech of Alexander explains that the Children of Israel were instructed to bring a half shekel of the type used for holy purposes. Why a half? One half of a Jew is his Neshamah, the soul. The other half is his body. The soul is known as "a portion of G-d above" since the soul of each person is hewn out from a special place under the throne where the King himself sits, and it is already sanctified and pure. The giving of a half shekel is to remind us to work on our half, the body, to raise it to a level of holiness and purity. In this way the two halves are indeed made into a whole.


QUICKLY, SHABBOS IS COMING!

"The Israelites shall keep the Shabbos, making it for all generations a day of rest, an eternal covenant." (Exodus 31:16)

The word for "generations" is "dorosam". The Chiddushei HaRim says that the word "dorosam" is related to the word "dira", a dwelling. A Jew must live inside of Shabbos like he lives inside his dwelling. Then Shabbos will surround him from all sides and protect him. But that is only when a Jew will put himself totally into Shabbos, just as he enters in to his dwelling with his complete being.
(Sefer Chiddushei HaRim, Ki Thissa, p. 133)

Once, Reb Yehuda Tzvi, the grandson of the great R' Chayim of Sanz, attended a seudas mitzvoh (meal) following a circumcision together with his grandfather. R' Chayim was honored with saying some words of Torah. Since it was a Wednesday afternoon, and it is known from the Holy Arizal (Rabbi Yitzckok Luria Ashkenazi of Safed) that on Wednesday, the light of the coming Shabbos can already be felt in the world, he began to expound on the holiness of the Shabbos. R' Chayim became so excited and emotionally charged while speaking about the holiness of Shabbos, that when he finished his drosha he called out to everybody present, "A Guten Shabbos, A Guten Shabbos!!"

Reb Yehuda Tzvi got the impression from all of this that indeed the Shabbos was about to arrive. He quickly ran home to get his special white clothes, and headed for the mikveh (ritual bath), to wash himself and immerse in honor of the Shabbos. Along the way he met another young man who had heard R' Chayim speak at the seudah, and he too was on his way to the mikveh! They joyously made their way together, but when they arrived they saw that no one else was there. They then understood that the excitement of the Sanzer Rebbe had caused them to think that Shabbos was about to come.

A FREYLICHEN PURIM!!

A GUTEN SHABBOS!!


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