Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 12   No. 25

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Tzvi Hirsch ben Mordechai Chayim


The Multiple Meanings of 'Tzav'
(Adapted from the Likutei Basar Likutei)

"Command Aharon and his sons saying 'This is the law of the Olah ... ' " (6:2).

Rashi explains that "Tzav" is an expression of 'Ziruz' (alacrity - performing Mitzvos with exertion).

Rebbi Heshel explains this in the context of the Gemara in Kidushin (31a), which says that someone who fulfils a Mitzvah when he is commanded is on a higher level than someone who merely volunteers to fulfill it. The reason for this, Tosfos explains, is because, as opposed to a volunteer, a person who is commanded to do something, has to fight with the natural inclination to refuse, and fighting the Yeitzer-ha'Ra after all, is the main objective of man's creation. This in turn, is something that requires no small measure of Zerizus.

How apt then for Chazal to say that Tzav is an expression of Ziruz.


In a second explanation, Rashi cites Rebbi Shimon, who maintains that "Tzav" refers to a financial loss (chesaron kis). The commentaries explain that this pertains to the skin of the Olah and the various sections of the other Korbanos which the Kohanim received, and which they were liable to lose under a variety of circumstances.

And it is in this regard, says the Ma'adanei Melech, that Rebbi Shimon disagrees with the first interpretation of "Tzav", according to which it refers to the present and to all generations. This is simply not true, argues Rebbi Shimon, since later generations will not actually bring Korbanos; they will merely learn about them (as Chazal derive from "Zos Toras ha'Olah", written in this very Pasuk). In that case, 'Ziruz' will not then be necessary. According to him, it only pertains to those generations in whose time the Beis-Hamikdash stood, when the Kohanim stood to lose out financially if any flaw occurred in the Korban.


The D'vash ve'Chalav offers a novel interpretation of 'chesaron kis', with reference to Chazal, who cite three limbs that do not lie within a person's jurisdiction (i.e. he does not have full control over them) - his eyes, his nose and his ears. G-d did however, grant him a way of controlling them. He provided each one with a cover, for the owner to use whenever the need arises. Man can cover his eye with his eye-lids, his ears with his ear-lobes (which are deliberately made soft for that very purpose), and he can block his nostrils by pressing them together.

There is however, one more 'limb', which, Chazal describe as difficult to avoid sinning with it. It lies completely outside his jurisdiction, but unlike the previous limbs, this limb has nothing with which to cover it, and the only way to control it is by exerting oneself. We are of course, referring to the thought process (which is based in the heart).

That is why Chazal declare that the Olah (which atoned for lewd thoughts) requires Zrizus, because it has 'Chesaron Kis' (it lacks a cover).


Yet another connotation of "Tzav" is that of Avodah-Zarah, as is brought by the Medrash and by the Zohar. And the Pasuk makes a point of hinting at Avodah-Zarah even when talking to Aharon, because of Aharon's participation in the Eigel ha'Zahav. We should not for one moment think that his part in Yisrael's sin disqualified him from serving as a Kohen, as is indeed the Halachah regarding a Kohen who worshipped idols. That was not the case here, because even though he was punished for that participation, inasmuch as his two sons died as a result of it, on the other hand, his actions were considered overall a tremendous credit to his name, and resulted in his being granted the Kehunah Gedolah, which he was not otherwise destined to receive, according to the Medrash.

And the reason for this is because his sole motivation was to save K'lal Yisrael, which in itself was considered a supreme act of self-sacrifice.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

Keeping Clean

"And the Kohen shall wear the right size linen garment, and linen pants he shall wear on his flesh" (6:3).

The Torah needs to warn the Kohanim to wear the right size clothes for the Mitzvah of T'rumas ha'Deshen, explains the K'li Yakar, for fear that they might deliberately wear short clothes, to prevent them from becoming dirty through contact with the ashes. And it is for the same reason that it sees fit to add the warning not to wear anything between his pants and his body, to protect his body from becoming dirty.


The Fire Shall Burn, Even whilst Traveling

"And the fire on the Mizbe'ach shall burn, and not be extinguished" (6:5).

Even whilst Yisrael were traveling, says the Yerushalmi, the fire was not allowed to go out.

Perhaps one can explain this metaphorically, says the D'rush ve'ha'Iyun, with reference to those people who fight their Yeitzer-ha'Ra and perform Torah and Mitzvos when they are at home. And they do this primarily because they are afraid that if they do not, their relatives and friends will mock them and pour scorn on them or for social reasons. But once they travel away from home, and are no longer in view of their acquaintances, they drop their standards and do as they please. That is why the Pasuk warns us that the fire shall continue to burn even when one is away from home, from one's relatives and friends. Even there, one should stick to one's convictions, which should be based not on the fear of what others might think, but on the fire of the love of G-d.


This is also hinted in the words of David ha'Melech, who said in Tehilim (119) "Praiseworthy are those whose way is perfect, who go on the path of G-d".

And perhaps it is what G-d meant when he said to Kayin "If you do not mend your ways, the Yeitzer ha'Ra crouches at the entrance" (Bereishis 4:7).

As long as a person is in his house, even if his level is not so strong, he will be able to keep the Yeitzer-ha'Ra at bay. But once he passes through his front door, he will find him waiting, and he will fall prey to all the evil influences that are waiting to engulf him in the big wide world (ha'D'rash ve'ha'Iyun).


The Community First, The Community Last

"and he shall burn on it the fat-pieces of the peace-offerings" (Ibid).

It is from this Pasuk that Chazal learn a. that the Shelamim (as well as all private offerings) may only be brought after the Tamid shel Boker, and b. that it is specifically after the Tamid shel Shachar that they must be brought, and not after the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim. In other words, no private Korban may be brought after the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim. The Torah is demonstrating here the superiority of the community over the individual - since it is with a communal Korban that the daily Avodah begins, and with a communal Korban that it ends (Likutei Basar Likutei).


Torah Cannot be Extinguished

"An everlasting fire shall burn on the Mizbe'ach, you shall not extinguish it" (6:6).

The Sifsei Kohen citing the Zohar, explains the conclusion of the Pasuk as if it had written 'It will not be extinguished' (since the letters that spell "you shall not extinguish" are synonymous with those of 'it shall not be extinguished'). The Torah is compared to fire, as we learn in Yirmiyah (23:29) "Are My words not like fire". Consequently, what our Pasuk means is that the Torah that one learns cannot be extinguished. The sin that a Jew transgresses has the power to extinguish a Mitzvah (which is synonymous with a lit lamp), but it cannot extinguish Torah, which is compared to the source of light.


The Medrash Tanchuma explains how Moshe could not understand how it is that the fire that burned on the Mizbe'ach continually did not burn through the thin layer of copper and set fire to the wood underneath.

Until G-d informed him that Moshe should not confuse human fire with that of the Divine. Because in the realm of the Divine, fire does not extinguish water, and water does not extinguish fire, just as the Pasuk writes in Iyov (25:2) "He makes peace in the high places" - the angel Micha'el is made of water and Gavriel, of fire, yet they exist in perfect harmony.


Shavu'os and the Yeitzer ha'Ra

"It shall not be baked Chametz, I gave them their portion from My fire-offerings ..." (6:10).

Chametz symbolizes the Yeitzer ha'Ra (which Chazal refer to as the 'the yeast in the dough', and), which has no place on the Mizbe'ach. Or to put it more bluntly, serving Hashem is the very antithesis of the Evil Inclination, and there is nothing further away from our hearts and our thoughts when we do so.

In that case, asks the K'li Yakar, why do we bring the Sh'tei ha'Lechem on Shavu'os, of all times, the day on which we received the Torah.

The answer is that it serves as a reminder that we were only given the Torah as an antidote to the Yeitzer ha'Ra ('Barasi Yeitzer ha'Ra, barasi Torah tavlin lo'). And the K'li Yakar connects this with the Medrash which relates how the angels protested against Moshe taking the Torah down to earth, as its place is in Heaven. And it was only when Moshe pointed out to them that when the Torah is presented the way we have it, many of its Mitzvos only make sense in the context of combating the Yeitzer ha'Ra - which they do not possess in the first place - that they acquiesced and allowed Moshe to take it.


In the Shoes of a Ba'al-Teshuvah

" ... it is Kodesh Kodshim, like a Chatas and like an Asham" (ibid.)

The Torah is talking here about a Minchah, which, like a Chatas and an Asham (as well as an Olah), is on the level of Kodesh Kodshim.

The Olah presumably attains the level of Kodesh Kodshim, because it is given entirely to Hashem, the Minchah, because the poor man's Tzedakah is particularly meaningful in the eyes of G-d (as we explained last week).

The Chatas and Asham, on the other hand, which come to atone for the owner's sin, are classified as Kodesh Kodshim, to demonstrate what Chazal have said, that nobody can match a Ba'al Teshuvah.


Tzofon and Tzofun

"bi'M'kom asher tishachet ho'Olah tishachet ha'Chatas ... " (6:18).

The reason that all the Kodshei Kodshim are Shechted in the north, says the Metzi'as Yitzchak, is due to the fact that they all come to atone for some sin or other (as we explained above) as opposed to the Korban Shelamim and the Todah, which could be Shechted anywhere in the Azarah. This in turn, is significant, since the word 'Tzafon' (north) contains the same letters as 'Tzafun' (hidden), which is one of the names of the Yeitzer ha'Ra. Nor is this a coincidence - it is based on the fact that both are hidden (though in somewhat different ways). The one hides his identity from the person whom he seeks to ensnare, the other is hidden from the sun, which never graces it with its presence.

The Metzi'as Yitzchak quotes the Pasuk in Yirmiyah (1:14), which teaches us that "gold will come from the north", and we know that gold causes people to become vain and conceited. A second Pasuk (in Iyov 37:22) teaches that "the evil will begin from the north". Perhaps this is an indirect hint to the Yeitzer ha'Ra of desire, which together with that of vanity, form the basis of all sins.

Shechting the Olah, the Chatas and the Asham on the north side of the Azarah, reminds the sinner to get to the root of his sin and to eliminate it.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 131:
Removing the Ashes

The Kohen is obligated to remove the ashes (i.e. one shovelful) each day from on the Mizbe'ach. This is the Mitzvah of 'T'rumas ha'Deshen' that was performed each day, as the Torah writes "And the Kohen shall wear his linen shirt ... and he shall remove the ashes ... ".

A reason for the Mitzvah is in order to enhance the glory of G-d's House and to show it respect to our utmost ability (as the author explained in the Mitzvah of Building a Beis Hamikdash [Mitzvah 95]). Because removing the ashes from the area where it is fit to burn, enhances the beauty of the Mizbe'ach, and what's more, fire burns better in a placewhere there are no ashes.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah ... Chazal refer to Te'umas ha'Deshen as one of the Avodos ha'Kehunah. Nevertheless, the Bigdei Kehunah that were used for the Mitzvah were of a more inferior quality than those that were used for other Avodos, as the Pasuk writes "and he shall remove his clothes and dress in other clothes". In fact, this Pasuk is written in connection with the Mitzvah of taking the remainder of the ashes outside the camp. Nevertheless, it also extends to that of T'rumas ha'Deshen. The Gemara (in Shabbos 114a) compares it to a servant, who comes to pour out the wine into his master's cup, and who would not dream of doing so wearing the same grimy clothes that he wore for cooking his food (even though the one is as much in his master's service as the other).

The obligation to perform the Te'rumas ha'Deshen comes into effect, the Chinuch explains, at dawn-break, on Yom-Tov, after a third of the night has passed (two hours earlier), and on Yom-Kipur, at midnight.

This is how the Avodah was performed - the Kohen who won the right to perform the Mitzvah (by means of the lots that they drew each morning) would Tovel, change into his (inferior) Bigdei Kehunah and wash his hands and feet from the Kiyor. Before he began, his fellow Kohanim would warn him to take great care not to touch the Kiyor prior to his having concluded the Kidush Yadayim ve'Raglayim. He would then pick up the silver fire-pan in his right hand from its place in the south-eastern corner of the ramp (between the ramp and the Mizbe'ach), and walk with it to the top of the Mizbe'ach. Once there, he would move the top coals to the side, and take a shovelful of spent ashes from the heart of the fire. He would then retrace his steps to the foot of the ramp, where he would turn left and left again, and proceed northwards for about ten Amos along the foot of the ramp. There he would place the ashes on the ground three Tefachim (half an Amah) from the ramp, on the same spot where the crop of the Korban Of and the ashes from the Mizbe'ach ha'Ketores and from the Menorah were placed.

The moment the Kohen who performed the T'rumas ha'Deshen descended from the Mizbe'ach, the remaining Kohanim would run to wash their hands and feet from the Kiyor, would take spades, ascend to the top of the Mizbe'ach and proceed to shovel the remainder of the ashes from the entire Mizbe'ach, and to pile them up on the Tapu'ach (an area on the Mizbe'ach that was called by that name on account of the shape of the pile of ashes). When the pile of ashes on the Tapu'ach became too large, the Kohanim would take some of the ashes into a K'li called a 'P'sachter', which held a 'Lesech' (a half a Kur [which is equivalent to fifteen Sa'ah]). From there it was eventually taken outside the camp ... other details are discussed in Masechta Tamid and Yoma.

This Mitzvah applies to male Kohanim in the time that the Beis-ha'Mikdash is standing. Someone who contravenes it and fails to remove the ashes, has negated the Mitzvah.

* * *

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PooriM SupplemenT

HaMaN's HyStErIcS

Targum Yonasan and Targum Sheini describe the dialogue that took place between Achashverosh and Haman, following the latter's 'advice' as to what to do to the man whom the king wished to honour.

One look at Haman, the Targum explains, was enough to convince him that Haman did indeed intend to kill him, just as he had seen in his recent dream. That was when he instructed him to do exactly what he (Haman) had suggested (plus a lot more) to Mordechai.

In reply to his question 'Which Mordechai?', the king replied 'Mordechai the Jew'. And when he pointed out that there are lots of Jews called Mordechai in Shushan, the king left no doubt as to which Mordechai he was referring to, when he replied 'the one who sits by the palace gate'.

When Haman heard that, says the Targum, his eyes became black, his mouth shrivelled, his thoughts became confused, the joints of his loins became loose and his knees began knocking together.

'My Master the king', he persisted, 'there are numerous Mordechai's in the big wide world. How should I know which of them the king has in mind'?

And when the king reminded him that he was referring to the Mordechai who sat at the palace gate, he was ready with a brilliant question - 'Which gate?' After all, the king's palace had numerous gates and who was to know which one he meant. The king promptly informed him that he was referring to the gate which led from the women's quarters to the king's palace. But Haman wasn't done. He explained to his majesty that Mordechai was an old enemy of his, and that he would prefer that he receive ten thousand Kikar of silver RATHER THAN HAVE THAT KAVOD DONE TO HIM. When the king commanded him to do both, he offered to send his ten sons to run in front of the king's horse, 'BUT DON'T GIVE HIM THAT KAVOD!'

'You and your wife and your sons will all become Mordechai's slaves', was the king's reply, adding that in addition, THAT KAVOD WOULD NOT BE WITHHELD FROM HIM.

Haman to serve ...

He argues that Mordechai hails from the poorer classes, and it would be a great honour for him to be given charge over one of the king's 127 provinces or even just one district, RATHER THAN THAT KAVOD.

But the king serves an ace ...

'I will place him in charge of many provinces and districts, and he will rule over all the kingdoms of the sea and of dry land, on top of which THAT KAVOD WILL NOT BE WITHHELD FROM HIM..

Haman serves again ... 'Let your majesty's honour and his honour travel through all the provinces and across the entire world, but NOT THAT KAVOD!' (a double fault),

'No way', retorts the king. 'The honour of the man who spoke good about the king and who saved his life from the evil sword will indeed travel through all the provinces and across the entire world together with mine - BUT THAT KAVOD WILL NOT BE WITHHELD FROM HIM'.

Match point ...

One last time Haman pleads with the king, offering to withdraw all the scrolls and letters POT POURIMthat have been sent out to destroy the people of Mordechai 'BUT NOT THAT KAVOD!'

'I will cancel the scrolls and letters which I sent', the king retorts, AND ALL THAT KAVOD WILL NOT BE WITHHELD FROM HIM. ... THE KING HAS WON!

'Hurry', the king orders Haman, giving him no chance to lick his wounds. 'Get on with it, and don't leave out one single detail that you (or I) mentioned!'

* * *


Why Was Haman Angry?
(Adapted from the Chochmas Chayim)

R. Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld asks a number of questions on the Pesukim which introduce the friction between Mordechai and Haman, the friction that led to Haman's terrible decree to annihilate Yisrael.

The Pasuk writes in Megilas Esther (3:2-5): "And all the servants of the king who were at the gate of the king prostrated themselves to Haman, but Mordechai would not prostrate himself.

And the servants of the king asked Mordechai 'Why do you transgress the command of the king?'

And it was, when they said this to him day by day ... and they told Haman to see whether Mordechai's words would stand, because he had told them that he was a Jew.

And Haman saw that Mordechai would not kneel or prostrate himself to him, and Haman was filled with fury".


Firstly, asks R. Yosef Chayim, what did Mordechai reply to the servants' question 'Why do you not prostrate yourself ... '? Secondly, why did they see fit to inform Haman that Mordechai refused to prostrate himself to him? Was that not something that he could see for himself?

Thirdly, what does the Pasuk mean when it says 'to see whether Mordechai's words would stand'? And how does it fit with the remainder of the Pasuk 'because he had told them that he was a Jew'?

And fourthly, what were the servants trying to achieve? Was there the slightest doubt in their minds that the royal edict of the mighty Achashverosh bore more weight by far than the will of Mordechai, the oppressed Jew?

Before attempting to answer any of the above questions, let us glance at the Targum on the first of the above Pesukim. The Targum explains there that all the servants of the king bowed down to the image that Haman carried and prostrated themselves to Haman. But Mordechai, the Targum concludes, would not bow down to the image and did not prostrate himself to it (see the Ibn Ezra there).

Now we can Understand Mordechai's answer to their first question. "Because he had told them that he was a Jew", and as a Jew, he was forbidden to prostrate himself before the image and the idol that he carried around hanging from his clothes. And in any event, the king had issued no instructions obligating anyone to break any laws concerning idolatry, only to prostrate oneself to Haman (which is not prohibited).

That was when the servants became smart, and decided to inform Haman that the problem was the image hanging on his chest. They therefore advised him to remove the image and to see what Mordechai would then do.

And that is precisely what Haman did. He removed the image from his chest, and walked past Mordechai to see how Mordechai would react. Much to his consternation, "Mordechai did not kneel before him and he still refused to prostrate himself to him" (just as he had until then).

That was when Haman became infuriated and made his fateful decision to destroy the Jews, every man, woman and child. See how all the questions have now been answered.


Smelly Haman

Chazal point to the Pasuk in Ki Sisa, which lists 'Mar-D'ror' at the head of the list of spices, and which Unklus amazingly translates as 'Mira-Dachya' (which contains all the latters of 'Mordechai'). This they explain, is where Mordechai is hinted in the Torah.

Haman too, has the distinction of being mentioned in the Torah - in the Pasuk in Bereishis (3:11) "ha'min ha'Eitz" (which can also be read as 'Haman ha'Eitz', an obvious allusion to Haman's happy ending (for us anyway).

The Torah Temimah explains the connection between the episode of Haman and the Pasuk in Bereishis according to the opinion of those in Megilah (12a), who hold that Yisrael was guilty at that time, for participating in the grand party of Achashverosh. The difficulty with this lies in the fact that eating with gentiles, even where the food is not kasher, is not subject to the death-penalty. So why does the Gemara attribute their sentence of extermination to this sin?

That is why the Gemara (in Chulin 139b) cites the Pasuk in Bereishis, to cite a precedent where someone (by the name of Adam) was sentenced to death for eating something that he should not have. This may not answer the question. But it does take the sting out of it.


R. Yosef Chayim however, finds Haman hinted in the very same set of spices as the one in which Mordechai is hinted - in the evil-smelling "Chelb'nah", one of the components, of the spices (see Parshas Ketores, in the Korbanos that we read each morning, before Pesukei de'Zimrah). Because the numerical value of "Chelb'nah" is the equivalent of 'Haman' (particularly relevant after his beloved daughter had poured something rather obnoxious over his head, just before he was hauled off to the second party with the King and Queen).


Haman's Scheme

When Haman originally sold the Jews to Achashverosh, the Pasuk writes 'yikasev le'abdam' (let it be written to destroy them), and that comprised the agreement between them that was signed and sealed.


How come then, asks the Megilas S'tarim (among many other questions), that when the letters were actually dispatched, the Pasuk writes "lehashmid, laharog u'le'abed (to wipe out, to kill and to destroy)", two extra expressions not mentioned in the original contract?

To answer the question, he explains that although Haman and Achashverosh agreed on principle, to destroy K'lal Yisrael, they differed vastly on how to go about it. Indeed, each had his own interpretation of the word }le'abdam".

The king was of the opinion that the best way of getting rid of the Jewish people was by causing them to sin, in order to lose their Jewish identity. Doing that would result in assimilation, his life's ambition; This was what he had in mind when he made his party, whose main objective was to attract the Jews and to cause them to sin. And it explains why he invited Vashti to appear in 'immoral attire' as Chazal explain. He hoped that the other women would follow suit, in order to place his Jewish subjects in a situation of sin which they would be unable to resist.

This is what the Pasuk means by 'Le'abdam' (with reference to a spiritual destruction, such as in the Pasuk in Yeshayah [27:13] "u'va'u ha'ovdim be'Eretz Ashur"), and this is the word that was to appear in the text of the letter that Haman initially agreed to send out.

Only Haman disagreed with Achashverosh in principle. He maintained that gentle persuasion would not achieve the desired effect. They had to be forced to convert, failing which they would have to be exterminated. So he added the words "lehashmid and laharog" in front of "Le'abed", implying that they had the option - either to be exterminated or to convert. And the order of the words, it seems to me, indicate which of the two he hoped they would choose.

So deep in fact, was his hatred of Am Yisrael that he dared defy the king's orders.

This explanation helps us understand many apparent discrepancies, says the Megilas S'tarim. First of all, why, when referring to Haman's version of the text, the Pasuk speaks of a copy of the original edict. For indeed, that is was it was (though with a slight amendment). The original edict contained only the word 'Le'abed', as per agreement. And it was Haman who sent additional letters throughout the kingdom with the extra words 'Lehashmid Laharog' added.

We will mention just two more. Firstly, what did Achashverosh mean when, in reply to Esther's mention of someone who wants to destroy her together with her people 'Mi hu zeh ve'eizeh hu?' (Who is that man?). Was he stupid, that after selling an entire nation to his Prime Minister barely a week earlier, he could not imagine to whom she was referring?

According to the above explanation however, Achashverosh's surprise can easily be understood. He had never entered into an agreement to destroy Yisrael physically, not even to force them to convert. All that he agreed upon was to apply public pressure on the Jews to forsake their religion and to coerce them gently to convert.

And this also explains how Mordechai and Esther could change the wording of the decree, which we know, was strictly forbidden by Persian law.

The answer lies in Achashverosh's words (8:8) "And as for you, write for the Jews what is good in your eyes". What the king meant was that now that the letters had two different texts, each with its own interpretation, they could choose whichever one they preferred to be put into practice. Mordechai, knowing that the people had done a thorough Teshuvah, opted for the original text, and sure enough, the Jews withstood the test and were saved both physically and spiritually.


The above explanation however, does not concur with the parable brought by the Gemara in Megilah to two men with a problem; one had a mound of earth which he wanted to get rid of, whilst the other had a deep pit which needed filling in. One day the two met, and they amicably solved all their problems. This certainly suggests that Achashverosh wanted to get rid of the Jews and not to convert them. In fact, the Mashal would have fitted the explanation perfectly had Haman been portrayed as the owner of the mound, and Achashverosh, the owner of the pit, and not the other way round.

Neither does it seem to fit with the Pasuk (3:11) where Acashverosh specifically told Haman "the money is given to you (you can keep it), and the people to do with as you see fit". Clearly then, the prerogative what to do with the Jews was Haman's, and Haman's alone. And without the least shadow of doubt, Achashverosh had no illusions about what he planned to do.

And thirdly, Mordechai's decision to implement the third version of the letters should have precluded any need for fighting. On what basis then, did the gentiles atack the Jews on the 13th Adar?

* * *

Poorim in Halachah
(Adapted from the Lu'ach Itim le'Binah)

Purim Meshulash (Hooray!!!)
For Yerushalmim
(and Walled Cities) Only!

The basis of 'the triple Purim', says R. Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld, is two-fold: The Takanas Chachamim not to read the Megilah on Shabbos (in case one comes to carry it through the street); and the prohibition of giving Matanos la'Evyonim on Shabbos (due to the prohibition a. on the rich man giving a gift on Shabbos, and b. on the poor man to carry it home). Based on the Yerushalmi, one would not be Yotzei if one ate Se'udas Purim on Shabbos, since the Pasuk writes "la'asos osam", implying that the Simchas Purim must be the one that Mordechai instituted, and not one that was already ordained in Heaven (such as Se'udas Shabbos), and (for obvious reasons) Se'udas Purim and Sh'lach Manos go hand in hand.

Consequently, Chazal fixed the reading of the Megilah on Friday (a day before, rather than a day later, since the Pasuk writes "ve'lo ya'avor", a specific prohibition against postponing Mikra Megilah). And as the Chachamim have taught, once the poor people hear the Megilah, they anticipate Matanos le'Avyonim, so the two go together.

Bearing in mind the Shabbos preparations, Chazal opted to postpone the Se'udah and Sh'lach Manos until Sunday.

And Finally, we have the insertion of 'Al ha'Nisim' (in the appropriate places) and the leining of "va'Yavo Amalek". Since there is no reason to move them from the actual day of Purim, that's where they remain.


Friday, the fourteenth of Adar (Sheini): Mikra Megilah and Matanos la'Evyonim.

Shabbos, the fifteenth:
'Al ha'Nisim' and "va'Yovo Amolek".

Sunday, the sixteenth:
Se'udas Purim and Sh'lach Manos.


P'razim and Mukafin

Now that the Pasuk in Megilas Esther mentions the fourteenth and the fifteenth of Adar as the days on which Purim is observed, and then specifies the fourteenth as the day on which the P'razim (who live in open cities) must observe it, it is implied that the Mukafin (who live in cities with walls from the time of Yehoshua bin Nun) observe it on the fifteenth. That's fine as far as fulfilling the Mitzvos of the day is concerned (as is inherent in the word "osim"). The Mitzvah of reading the Megilah, which the Gemara refers to as 'remembering', we learn from that of observing, as the Torah writes "nizkorim ve'na'asim" (comparing the two).

And we know, the Gemara concludes, that the walls of Mukafin Chomah, must be from the time of Yehoshua bin Nun from the Gezeirah-Shavah of 'P'razi P'razi'.


The Torah Temimah explains this Gemara as follows.

To begin with, he explains, the Jews who lived in the open cities and those who lived in Shushan, which was surrounded by a wall, did not rest from their enemies on the same day. The former rested on the fourteenth, and the latter, on the fifteenth.

The Chachamim subsequently fixed Purim for each one on the day that they rested.

However, since it would have looked odd to institute a Takanah that would be restricted to Shushan only, they decided to categorize Shushan as a walled city and to treat all walled towns like Shushan.

Realising however, that Shushan's special status would not include the cities of Eretz Yisrael, which were still in a state of destruction, and therefore without walls, something of a disgrace for Yerushalayim and the other cities of Eretz Yisrael. So, in order to give them a boost, they went one step further, and decreed that any city that had been surrounded by a wall at the time of the conquest of the land (to include Yerushalayim, which was not surrounded by a wall at that time), would have the same Din as Shushan.

And as a final touch, they added the name of Yehoshua bin Nun to their decree, since besides being the one who conquered Eretz Yisrael and distributed it to the tribes, he was also the first to fight against Amalek (Haman's infamous ancestor, whose hatred of Yisrael Haman inherited).

That is why they finally decreed that any town that had a wall around it at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun, would have the distinction of observing Purim and reading the Megilah on the fifteenth, just like Shushan.


The Status of Purim

" ... to make them days of festivity and joy" (9:22).

"Festivity", the Gemara explains in Megilah (5:2), refers to the prohibition of fasting; "and joy", to that of delivering a Hesped (a eulogy over a deceased person). The Pasuk does not however, forbid working on Purim, because although it was suggested to give Purim the status of a Yom-Tov, the people did not accept it, so the Sanhedrin dropped the idea. This explanation will resolve an apparent discrepancy, says the Torah Temimah, since in this Pasuk, the Pasuk suddenly throws in the Mitzvah of Matanos la'Evyonim, of which it made no mention in the earlier one.

The reason for this, he explains, is because the Pasuk mentioned Yom-Tov, on which one is anyway obligated to send gifts to the poor (see Beitzah 15b), and it is only after the people rejected the suggestion that it should be a Yom-Tov, that it became necessary to institute it.

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