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Parshas T'Tzaveh/Shushan Purim - The Truth & the True Weekly Message   13-15 Adar 5781

02/25/2021 05:18:01 AM


Once upon a time long, long ago, I wrote these weekly messages the other way around. Now for some of the old, I mean older readers, you might recall (but you probably do not, either because you ARE old, or perhaps you never really read these Divrei Torah. The reason I say you did not read these Divrei Torah is exactly the point. When I first began writing them, I discussed the “Torah portion” first and then segued that into the quirky, ridiculous, every-day and every person experience to which perhaps only I could relate. I do not remember (because I am also old) at what point in time I flipped around the Dvar Torah segment with the light-hearted mundane insight I wished to share. This format gave me some satisfaction; I felt that I was only wasting half my time discussing the Torah part because most people, if they did accidentally click open the email or sit on one of the printed copies in Shul, would read at least the first half, just as you are doing right now!  Gotcha!

Now, as for the younger or new readership who only know the current format, perhaps we should show them how the layout used to be. This way we’ll have created ונהפוך הוא  a reversal for everyone, possibly causing a surprise for me…and…maybe, just maybe… the reversal just might cause everyone to read the entire piece!   I repeatedly said maybe, but I am not holding my breath!  So… if you feel the urge, you can stop reading right now. But wait!  Ahhh, could it be that you are still reading because it is Purim time and everything in the world has the chance, opportunity, to change and flip around?  If, however, you do continue to read on (even though by now you have been given two occasions to stop), I will attribute this determination on your part to the essence of Purim: You are diverging from the typical act of exiting this email or putting down the printed copy. By the way, since Purim has an element of Yom Kippur - the Rabbis teach us Purim is Yom K’Purim. I will forgive you if you choose to go ahead and read this message in its entirety, planning next week to return to skipping over the light-hearted stuff, reading ONLY the Torah portion of the message.

You are probably wondering (or not) why I am writing about Purim. After all, Purim is on Friday and the Parsha is T’Tzaveh. Why write about Purim? Well, if I do not write about Purim now, then when? In reality, that is not the only reason. When Purim, or more precisely the fourteenth of Adar, falls on Friday, in walled cities – including, of course, Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh – everyone residing within that walled-in area celebrates the unique “perfect Purim storm”, called a Purim M’Shuleshet” - a three-day Purim! Most people do not get over their hangovers after one day of celebration, let alone three! In Yerushalayim the the Megilla is read and Matanos LaEvyonim (giving of at least one gift to two or more poor people) are given on Friday; Al HaNissim is added to the Amida and to the Bentching on Shabbos; and the Purim Seuda and Mishloach Manos (sending of gifts) take place on Sunday. Now the Halacha stipulates that if someone who celebrates Purim on the 14th of Adar goes ahead and adds Al HaNissim on Shushan Purim on the 15th of Adar, they do not need to repeat that prayer. This almost implies that since somewhere in the world Purim is celebrated on that day, even though we are not supposed to add it, nevertheless, if we did say it accidentally, no harm no foul. This refers to saying Al HaNissim when not on your day. See below* if you forgot to say it on your day. Therefore, this Shabbos is also a day of Purim so I can write about it whether  you skip this reading this Dvar Torah accidentally or intentionally!   

Chaza”l teach us that whenever the name Achashveirosh is used in the Megilla, it refers to the actual Achachveirosh, but when it is preceded by ’HaMelech’,  the term refers to Hashem, the King of the world. We also read ‘HaMelech; every Shabbos and Yom Tov.  This is highlighted at the beginning of Shacharis on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, as the Chazzan begins with the word “HaMelech”.  For example, the opening of the 6th chapter of the Megillah calls out בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך  - On that night The King could not sleep. Rashi explains that ’The King’ refers to Hashem. The Maharal of Prague, Reb Yehuda Loewy, asks,” If we wanted to hint to God in the Megillah, couldn’t we find a more appropriate way to hint to Hashem?” Perhaps the hint could have been phrased either in the name of Mordechai or Esther; why place the hint next to the name of the wicked Achashveirosh? Why, of all the people, would we choose the evil Achashveirosh? The Maharal teaches us an amazing insight: What we are actually looking at is erroneous! The reason we even ask the question, or the reason the question is set up this way is because we see the main character as Achashveirosh, while Hashem is hinted to be somewhere in the background. However, the reality is that Hashem is truly “The King”; Hashem was running everything. God has a collection of puppets and dolls. One puppet is named Achashveirosh and another puppet is named Haman.  Hashem was using them! In fact, there really is no Haman and no Achashveirosh. Everything was from Hashem Himself. This is the main idea of Megillas Esther, which should be read לגלות את ההסתר   - to reveal the hidden. Hashem is hinting to all who read and hear the Megillah that it is not Haman or Achashveirosh.”It is I!”, said Hashem! The Pashut Pshat, the basic meaning of HaMelech is Hashem, not a hint. Achashveirosh and all the other characters of the Megillah were nothing more than puppets. Hashem created an incredibly powerful puppet show.

This concept applies to us in our lives, too. The person bothering you is just a puppet. This can explain the Gemara that says, ”One is obligated to drink on Purim until he cannot differentiate between Arur (cursed be) Haman and Baruch (Blessed be) Mordechai. Sometimes a person may have an enemy and he thinks of him as his personal “Arur Haman”. He hates him, he avoids him. ”He’s my enemy!” Another person is his “Baruch Mordechai”. I must send him a fancy Mishloach Manos…He is my good friend…. The Rabbis want us to realize that there is, in effect, no friend and no enemy, they are only puppets. That is the purpose of drinking on Purim, to reveal the hidden; to realize that there is one King of the entire world; the rest of the world consists merely of puppets. You think that person is hurting or helping you……it’s not that person; it’s Hashem. After we drink, we do not know the difference between Haman and Mordechai, but we do realize that it’s all Hashem. This is the hidden reason of wearing masks on Purim; we think it is Ploni behind the mask only to find out it is Almoni. He is not who he appears to be, and that is the lesson of Purim. We think that a certain person is an enemy. He is not. It’s all from Hashem, the King of the world.

Let us internalize this lesson and put it deep in our hearts. With this inside of us, we can truly be “Marbim B’Simcha!  And be glad, thrilled and overjoyed that this is the end of this week’s message!

Ah Gutten Shabbos and Ah Frielichin Purim

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky


*Since this meal is obligatory on Purim, so is its Birkas HaMazon. The Maharshal and the Shela are of the opinion that if one forgot to say ‘Al HaNisim’ in the Birkas HaMazon, the Grace after Meals would have to be repeated, together with its ‘Al HaNisim.’ The majority of authorities, however, including the Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Berura, Kaf HaChaim and Chida, are of the opinion that one is not required to repeat the ‘Al HaNisim,’ because one may fulfill the obligation to eat a Purim Seuda without eating bread (see Magen Avrohom 695:9). Accordingly, our accepted practice is not to repeat Birkat Hamazon because of a forgotten Al HaNisim.

Sun, September 26 2021 20 Tishrei 5782