MARCH 2-3, 2012 9 ADAR 5772
Ta'anit Esther will be on Wednesday, March 7.
Purim will be celebrated on Thursday, March 8.
"However it seemed contemptible to [Haman] to lay hands on Mordechai alone." (Megilat Esther 3:6)
Haman gets very angry at Mordechai for not bowing down to him. He decides to kill Mordechai, but that's not enough. Haman decides he will kill all the Jews. The verse says that it was contemptible (Vayibez) and beneath him to kill only Mordechai. The Midrash now describes Haman as "contemptible one, son of a contemptible one (bazui ben bazui)." For one verse says: "Esav showed contempt for the birthright" (Beresheet 25:34) and here it says, "It seemed contemptible to him to lay hands on Mordechai alone." We learn that since the Torah used the same word, there must be a relationship between Haman and Esav.
Rabbi Eliezer Ginzberg explains the connection. By selling the birthright, Esav demonstrated that he didn't realize the importance of the service of one true servant of Hashem. Similarly Haman felt it was below him to kill only Mordechai. He failed to realize the tremendous effect that a single saddik's service of Hashem has on the entire universe. Thus he regarded it as beneath him to smite a single individual. For a man of such eminence, anything short of complete genocide was simply unbecoming.
The same principle is seen in the Sages' statement, "If the Holy Temple is not rebuilt during a person's lifetime, it is considered as if it had been destroyed in his lifetime." At first glance, this seems strange, since rebuilding the Temple is a communal obligation, and it doesn't seem right to hold one individual responsible for not fulfilling it. We see from this that the Sages understood the power of a single man's holy service. As far as they were concerned, a single righteous individual has the power to tilt the balance of the entire world, and cause all of mankind to repent and embrace the ways of Hashem. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim. Rabbi Reuven Semah
The holiday of Purim gets its name from the pur, the lottery which Haman used to determine the day on which to destroy the Jews. This seems to be a very minor detail in the whole scheme of the Purim story. Why choose this aspect to give us the name of the holiday?
The answer is that Haman comes from Amalek, who believes everything in this world is random happenings. Amalek was willing to buck the Creator Himself as the cause of everything that takes place and Haman followed in his grandfather's footsteps. There is nothing more symbolic of chance than a lottery. This was the method that Haman chose to decide the fate of the Jews. The entire story of Purim shows how all random events are linked up to bring about the great miracle of Purim. Therefore, the name Purim is meant to bring home to us that our destiny is carefully planned with precision and detail. Just as a lottery is really the will of Hashem, so too are our every day happenings, from the greatest events to the smallest detail.
When we read the story of Purim, we should strengthen our faith in Hashem, thereby meriting to have miracles and salvation speedily in our days. Amen. Happy Purim and Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"In the Ohel Moed…Aharon and his sons shall arrange it from evening until morning, before Hashem." (Shemot 27:21)
The whole idea of lighting a Menorah before Hashem seems superfluous. Does Hashem need the light? He is the Source of all illumination. The Midrash addresses this question and explains that, indeed, Hashem does not need the light of the Menorah. Rather, He commands us to light for Him, just as He provided illumination for us in the wilderness. He is giving us the opportunity to repay the favor. It is a well-known Midrash, but it takes someone of the caliber of Rav Yeruchem Levovitz, z"l, to view the Midrash as teaching us a lesson in etiquette. When we receive a favor from someone, the usual reaction is to want to repay our benefactor. What if he shrugs off the favor: "It was nothing," "Don't bother," "Anytime." "I do not want anything in return." It does not always happen this way, because some of us thrive on recognition, but is refusing payback appropriate?
Hazal teach us that, in fact, it is proper that the benefactor allow the beneficiary to pay him back, to return the favor. Someone who is truly sensitive to his friend's feelings will not want him feeling beholden to him. He will not want him to feel he is indebted to him. He should give him the opportunity to return the favor, regardless of its significance or lack thereof.
In his Orchot Chaim, the Rosh states that this idea applies as well when someone offends us and wants to excuse himself. Allow him to explain. Do not say, "Forget about it." If he acted horribly and has a reason for his ignoble behavior, let him clear his chest and wipe the slate clean. By forgiving him and ignoring his reason, one is only adding to his heavy heart. Hear him out, even if his excuse is nonsensical. Allow him the satisfaction of thinking that he settled his debt, that he has made amends.
Some of us thrive when others are in our debt - regardless of its negative impact on the debtor. It is all part of the game of manipulating people to satisfy an intemperate ego, the result of insecurity activated by low-self esteem. Hazal are teaching us a way of life that ultimately leads to personal contentment that is not at the expense of another person. (Peninim on the Torah)
Your money back within seven days! No questions asked!
The verse states: "They are my slaves that I freed from Egypt" (Vayikra 25:55). The Torah's attitude towards life is that all actions are subject to scrutiny and accountability. Also, people are expected to accept different degrees of responsibility based on their positions, intelligence, and ability. Life is certainly not a "free ride."
When you are about to say the magic words "it is not my fault," catch yourself before the words leave your lips. Consider that "it" just might be something that you are responsible for causing, and perhaps there is a price you should pay for the incident. It only takes a little maturity to shake off the "no strings attached" mentality and accept responsibility for your actions or lack of performance. It may hurt for a minute, but it will be beneficial for many years to come. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)
1. Half of zero is still zero. What other number can be halved to make zero?
2. If two hours ago, it was as long after one o'clock in the afternoon as it was before one o'clock in the morning, what time would it be now?
3. Two men were driving along a deserted country road from the town of Proton to the town of Micron. It wasn't until they came to a multiple fork in the road that they faced a problem. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions. Since they did not have a map (or a GPS) and there was no one around to ask, how could they find their way to Micron?
4. Which animal eats with its ears?
"Let a royal decree be issued from him [the king]." (Esther 1:19)
Rav Shemuel ben Ozida explained that this Memuchan was none other than Haman. He introduced a new law to be added permanently to the constitution of Persia and Media, giving the king the right to sentence someone to death without consulting with his ministers or advisors. G-d arranged for this incident to take place in preparation for the ultimate salvation of the people of Yisrael from Haman's plan. If this law had not been introduced, then at the moment when Ahashverosh's rage at Haman reached its peak, he would not have been able to simply command that he be hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for hanging Mordechai. He would have had to submit his recommendation to the High Court. Now, however, since Haman had pushed through the law empowering the king to have people executed without trial, Ahashverosh was able to dispose of Haman without any complications. Had he found it necessary to bring him to trial, it may be that Haman would have found a way to finagle himself out of being prosecuted.
This is the reason that Megillat Esther includes this seemingly absurd episode. It is very much a part of the Purim miracle. (Yalkut Yosef)
"Harbona said…"Besides, there is the hanging post that Haman prepared for Mordechai, the one who spoke in the king's favor. It is standing in Haman's house, fifty cubits high." (Esther 7:9)
Rabbi Elazar taught (Megillah 16a) that this Harbona himself was a wicked person and conspired together with Haman to murder Mordechai. Nevertheless, since he saw that Haman's plan was foiled, he immediately became turncoat. What clue did Rabbi Elazar use to reveal the true character of Harbona? Rav Yaakov Kranz of Dubno explained this using a parable of a blind beggar who, over the years, collected a considerable sum of money. He kept this treasure in a leather packet under his arm. He hired a young man to lead him about in his travels.
One day, as they were making their way to the next town, the beggar realized suddenly that his packet was missing. He began screaming in frustration, describing the difficulties he had endured while collecting this money and the many times he had tripped and fallen as he had gone from place to place. He was absolutely inconsolable.
Hearing his cries, people came from all directions to help search for the lost packet. The young guide pretended to join in the search, but in reality he himself had stolen the packet. After hearing how anguished the blind man had become, he felt remorse for his lowly action. He came over to the poor man and said excitedly, "I found it. I found the packet, and the one-hundred-fifty rubles are intact in it."
The blind man took back his packet, but then he grabbed the young man and began beating him severely. The youngster cried out, "Is this the thanks I get for finding your money?"
"Finding my money?" exclaimed the blind man. "You stole my packet, for it not how could you have known how much money it contains? You must have had it for some time and you were able to sit down and count it."
In the same way, although Harbona knew that Haman had prepared a high hanging post for Mordechai, how could he have known exactly how tall it was? It must be that he was one of Haman's advisors who gave him the idea to hang Mordechai! (Yalkut Yosef)
1. Eight. When written as a digit, 8, the top half is 0 and the bottom half is also 0.
2. Nine o'clock.
3.They should stand the signpost up so that the arm reading Proton points in the direction from where they had just come. With one arm pointing in the right direction, the others will also be correct.
4. All of them, since no animal takes its ears off to eat!
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
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