by Zvi Akiva FleisherBack to Purim Homepage
PURIM 5761 BS"D
The Avnei Neizer says that the uniqueness of the miracle of Purim lies in successfully combatting Amoleik, even though the bnei Yisroel were living in the diaspora without a king. The gemara Sanhedrin 20b says that the bnei Yisroel were commanded to fulfill three mitzvos upon their entry to Eretz Yisroel: First, to appoint a king; second, to eradicate the descendants of Amoleik; third, to build the Beis Hamikdosh. How did they successfully overpower the descendants of Amoleik if they had no king? The Avnei Neizer answers that the need for a king is to UNITE the nation. With this power they can overcome Amoleik. When Homon sent an edict to ch"v destroy ALL the Y'hudim, they assembled as ONE and repented, subordinating themselves to the will of the King of all kings. This unity was even greater than that brought about by appointing a human king.
Perhaps this concept of the Avnei Neizer can be built upon. Haman's evil decrees actually brought the bnei Yisroel to unify themselves, and this self-same unification brought about Haman's downfall, hangup. In the Hagodoh, we say, "V'hi she'omdo ...... shelo echod bilvad omad oleinu l'chaloseinu, v'haKodosh Boruch Hu motzileinu MI'YODOM." Our not being "echod," united, has been a cause for their standing up against us, in an attempt to annihilate us, but HKB"H saves us FROM THEIR HANDS, through that which their hands have wrought, as is the case with Homon. His decree of annihilation has brought us together; we are again ECHOD.
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Va'y'hi" - This first word of the Megilloh and the last word (10:3) "zaro" equal "Mordechai ha'Y'hudi." (Roke'ach)
Perhaps we can add another insight into the first and last words of the megillah. We know that Hashem kept a low profile in the Megilloh, orchestrating every event, but not having His name mentioned even once. Hashem's name which embodies this concept of constriction, "tzimtzum," is Shin-Dalet-Yud, "Ani she'omarti l'olomi dai" (M.R. on Breishis 17:1). The first and last words of the Megilloh equal 314, the numerical value of the name Shin-Dalet-Yud, to indicate that from the first word until the last word, everything that happened was controlled behind the scenes by Hashem in the constricted form of natural occurrences.
Ch. 3, v. 7: "Hipil PUR hu hagorol mi'yom l'yom u'meichodesh l'chodesh" - Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz, in his monumental work Yaaros Dvash, drush 3, asks two questions:
1) Since Homon cast a lot, a PUR, singular, why do we name this day PURIM (9:26) in the plural form, "Al kein koru la'yomim ho'eileh PURIM al sheim haPUR?"
2) What does "mi'yom l'yom u'meichodesh l'chodesh" mean? He answers that when one casts a lot to arrive at a date, it does not indicate auspiciousness of the date. The lot must land somewhere. Ochon used this claim against the lot cast by Yehoshua, saying that if the names of Yehoshua and Eliezer Kohein Godol were the only ones put into a box, one of their names would be drawn, so this is no indication of guilt (gemara Sanhedrin 43b). Therefore Homon used a different type of system for casting lots. He had one box with the names of the months and another one with numbers corresponding to the days of the year. If, for example, he drew the month Nison and drew the number 100, he knew it did not match, since Nison is the first month. Only with the drawing of a number that was 30 or less could these two lots match. He continued drawing lots until he hit the combination of a month and a day of the year number that landed in that month. Hence, PURIM is in the plural form. Although Homon arrived at only one date, two lots were cast to arrive at this date, one for the month, and one for the day of the year.
In the spirit of DRUSH, perhaps we can build onto the words of the Yaaros Dvash. Which number did Homon select? Since there are 354 days in a lunar year, and we see from the Megilloh (3:7 and 3:13) that the calculations began with Nison being the first month, the thirteenth of Ador was the 338th day. This number is significant. In letter form this number spells "CHoLoSH," Ches-SHin-Lamed. This word means a lottery, just as "gorol" and ""pur" mean a lottery. The Mishneh Shabbos 148b says, "Matilin CHALOSHIN al hakodoshim," on Shabbos the Kohanim may cast LOTS to see who will perform the service. The gemara 149b asks, "Where is the source for the word "CHOLOSH" meaning a lottery?" The gemara brings the words in Yeshayohu 14:12, "CHOLEISH al goyim." Something most interesting emerges upon studying the complete verse. It reads, "Eich Nofalto Mishomayim Heileil ben shachar, nigdato lo'oretz CHOLEISH al goyim. - How have you fallen from the heavens, you bright star? You have been cut down to the earth, CASTER OF LOTS on nations." This seems to be the story of Homon, who was in a high position and was cast down from it. He was the one who cast a lottery on the Jewish nation. The first letters of "Nofalto Mishomayim Heileil" spell Homon, Hei-Mem-Nun. Possibly this particular word CHOLEISH was used, as it equals 338, and Homon would choose the 338th day of the year to ch"v annihilate the bnei Yisroel. When Yehoshua waged war with Amoleik it says (Shmos 17:13) "Va'yaCHALOSH Yehoshua es Amoleik." The Yalkut Shimoni #265 says that this means he cast LOTS to decide whom to kill and whom not to kill. The Yalkut says that there are four synonymous terms for casting lots: 1) cholosh 2) gorol 3) pur 4) chevel. Amoleik was smitten with each of these terms: cholosh in Shmos 17:13, "Va'yaCHALOSH Yehoshua; gorol and pur in Megillas Esther 3:7, "hipil PUR hu haGORO;" chevel in Hoshei'a 13:13, "CHAVLei leidoh yovo'u lo."
From this Yalkut we see that Yehoshua, a descendant of Binyomin, had laid the grounds for Mordechai, also a descendant of Binyomin, to overpower Amoleik, specifically with LOTS. This might be another reason for the plural term PURIM. It encompasses two lots, that of Homon, and the one that preceded it, the lot cast by Yehoshua, which set into motion the power to have Homon's lot also be one which brought victory for the bnei Yisroel. Through Yehoshua's "VA'YACHALOSH," the bnei Yisroel merited to turn around the king's decree, (8:10) "VA'YISHLACH sforim.
"VA'YACHALOSH and VA'YISHLACH have the same letters. A final gematria: The word PURIM when spelled "mollei Vov," equals 336. It appears in the Megilloh five times, but only twice with a "Vov". Add these two times to the 336 and it totals 338.
Esther's name appears in the Megilloh 54 times. Homon's name appears 54 times as well. Esther's other name, Hadasoh, appears once. Homon's other name, M'muchon, also appears once. "Zeh l'umas zeh oso Elokim" (Kohelles 7:14).
Possibly this might be alluded to in the blessing recited after the Megilloh reading, in the words "Hadon es di'neinu," rather than simply, "hadon lonu." "Don," judges, equals 54, the number of times that Homon's name appears. Homon wanted to have the bnei Yisroel JUDGED negatively. Hashem responded by judging us with "di'nei'nu, OUR judgement, our 54, the 54 times the tza'dekes Esther's name appears.
Homon's name appears 54 times, and Zeresh's name 4 times, totalling 58. Correspondingly, Mordechai's name appears 58 times. (Roke'ach) The GR"A on Mishlei 15:25 says that there are 54 letters in the names of the sons of Homon who were hung.
The Megilloh contains 167 verses. The two chapters of Amoleik, Shmos 17:8-13, and Dvorim 25:17-19, contain 167 letters. (Rokei'ach)
KLOPPING (BANGING) HOMON
The custom of banging when (preferably immediately after) Homon's name is read in the Megilloh is alluded to in the Torah. In Dvorim 25:2 it says, "V'ho'yoH iM biN hakos horosho." The last letters of "V'ho'yoH iM biN" spell Homon. Upon hearing "Homon," "hakos horosho," bang the evil one. (Rabbi Yaakov Emdin)
Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid says that every time one bangs Homon during the reading of the Megilloh, Homon feels the banging in Gehinom.
AD D'LO YODA
The gemara Megilloh 7b states, "Michayiv inish libsumi b'Furia ad d'lo yoda bein ORUR HOMON L'VORUCH MORDECHAI." Following are a few explanations - Imbibe until:
1. You don't know if there is a difference in the numerical value between the gematria of "orur Homon" and "Boruch Mordechai", both of which equal 502. (Perhaps the 502 value of both "orur Homon" and "boruch Mordechai" teaches us that the hidden miracles of Hashem are greater than the open ones displayed in Egypt with the ten plagues. Dtzach Adash Bachav equal 501, while "boruch Mordechai" and "orur Homon" each equals 502.)
2) You are beyond the point of emulating Esther's behaviour as it is described in the verse stated between the downfall of Homon and the elevation of Mordechai. The verse is 2:20, "Ein Esther MA'GEDDES." When one is intoxicated, one tells all. (Sfas Emes)
3) You don't know which power was greater in bringing the repentance and turnabout, the negative edicts of Homon, or the words of admonition of Mordechai.
4) You don't differentiate between Hashem's edicts, be they seemingly harsh, or sweet. Look at the great outcome of the terrible edicts of Homon; the bnei Yisroel accepted the Torah willingly (gemara Shabbos 88a). (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l)
5) You don't know, meaning you negate the value of, those who are between "orur Homon" and "boruch Mordechai." There are many people who straddle the fence when it comes to Torah issues. The Prophet Eliyohu complained to the false prophets who were somewhat religious, but not totally committed to Hashem, "How long will you trod on the two threshholds (M'lochim 1:18:21)?" (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l)
6) The M.R. on Breishis 12:2 says that upon mentioning the name of a tzaddik, one must bless him. Upon mentioning the name of a rosho, one must curse him. It is obviously more pleasant and less risky to bless a righteous person than to curse an evil person. Imbibe until you do not differentiate between the two, and as easily denigrate the evil person as you would exalt the righteous person. (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l)
The festive meal of Purim is alluded to in the Torah in Breishis 21:8, "Va'yaas Avrohom mishteh godol b'yom HIGOMEIL." "Higomeil" has the letters Hei, Gimmel, Mem, and Lamed. The same letters spell Megilloh. (Divrei Yechezkel of Shinov)
A Satmar chosid once received mishloach monos delivered by a neighbour's son who was dressed as a monkey. During the course of Purim the chosid had the opportunity to visit the Holy Admor of Satmar. He told the Rebbe what happened and said that he felt slighted by the outlandish dress. The Rebbe responded that surely no negative intentions were meant and that it was in the spirit of Purim. He added that even if a real live monkey had delivered the mishloach monos, it would be a proper fulfillment of the mitzvoh, as stated by the Chasam Sofer. The words of the Chasam Sofer can be found in his Chidushei Chasam Sofer on Gittin 22b.
Ch. 9, v. 19,22: - "Simchoh umishteh v'YOM TOV umishloach monos, Mishteh v'simchoh umishloach monos uMATONOS LO'EVYONIM" - The Shaar Yisochor (the Holy Admor of Munkatch) notes two differences between these two verses. The first mentions YOM TOV and leaves out MATONOS LO'EVYONIM, while the second mentions MATONOS LO'EVYONIM and leaves out YOM TOV. He explains this with the gemara Megilloh 5b which says that although the Rabbis seriously considered giving Purim the status of a Yom Tov, they decided not to do so. The first verse, which mentions Yom Tov, leaves out Matonos Lo'evyonim, since if Purim had been a Yom Tov, there would have been no Matonos Lo'evyonim, since money is not to be used on a Yom Tov. The second verse leaves out Yom Tov, as it was decided to not institute Purim as a Yom Tov, and then Matonos Lo'evyonim were permitted and instituted.
Possibly, some other differences between these two verses can be explained along the same lines. The first verse mentions simcho before mishteh, and the second verse does the reverse. Also the first verse has the word "umishlOach" spelled "mollei Vov" after the letter Lamed, while the second verse has it "chosser Vov." (Some editions have the first "umishloach" also "chosser Vov," but this is inaccurate.) Since the first verse discussed Purim with the status of a Yom Tov, the simcho would begin at night, while the special mishteh of Purim would be during the day, hence simchoh is mentioned first. The second verse deals with Purim as we know it, not a Yom Tov. The simchoh is at the Purim meal, where the edict of "ad d'lo yoda" is fulfilled, hence mishteh before simchoh. Also, if Purim would have had the status of a Yom Tov, as mentioned in the earlier verse, the mishloach monos would be a greater one. Halacha requires that the mishloach monos be something worthy in the eyes of the recipient. Everyone has a higher standard for Yom Tov food than for weekday food, hence the word 'mishlOach "mollei Vov." In the second verse which relates Purim as a day that is not an actual Yom Tov, the word umishloach is "chosser Vov," indicating that a lesser level is sufficient.
COSTUMES (~:)> )~:)>
Esther 8:17 - "V'rabim mei'a'mei ho'oretz mis'Yahadim ki nofal pachad ha'Y'hudim aleihem" - The Medrash Shmuel says that their conversion wasn't genuine, as the verse states that a great fear of the Y'hudim fell upon them. They only appeared as Y'hudim outwardly. "Mis'Yahadim" means "made themselves as Jews." Similarly, we dress as non-Y'hudim to show that the outward dress is not the real person. Perhaps another reason for wearing costumes is that Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that Eliyohu the Prophet dressed himself as Charvonoh and appeared in front of Achashveirosh. He then suggested that Homon's gallows was a perfect fit for Homon (see Tosfos on gemara Yoma 31a d.h. Amoh). We therefore also dress ourselves as if we are impersonating someone else. In the spirit of the season, the liberty is taken to suggest that this might be why we say "V'GAM Charvonoh zochur latov," (piut Shoshanas Yaakov, taken from Yerushalmi Megilloh 3:7). Why not just say, "v'Charvonoh zochur latov?" The GAM seems superfluous, redundant, extra, needless, dispensable, and totally unnecessary. The gemara B.K. 66a derives from the word "GAM" in Dvorim 23:19 (esnan zonoh u'mchir kelev) to include a substitute for an object, "l'rabos shinu'yeihem." We are saying that Eliyohu the Prophet, the substitute for Charvonah, the GAM, should be remembered for good. In "birkas hamozone," grace after meals, we say "hoRachamon hu yishlach lonu es Eliyohu hanovi ZOCHUR LATOV," possibly alluding to his being remembered for good when he impersonated Charvonoh. As well, Eliyohu equals 52, as does V'GAM, (49 plus its three letters equals 52).
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, MO'OZ TZUR Y'SHU'OSI
In the stanza beginning "Krose komas b'rosh," we sing, "ROVE bonov v'kinyonov al ho'eitz toliso." We know that ten of Homon's sons were hung on the tree gallows. "Mo'oz tzur" tells us that "ROVE bonov" were hung. How many sons did Homon have in total? If Homon either had only ten sons, or had twenty or more sons, how do you explain the word "ROV?" Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that Homon had FORTY SONS, ten of whom lived in Poras and were royal scribes, while the remaining thirty resided throughout the rest of the lands. "Omar Rebbi Eliezer, 'Arboim bonim hoyu lo l'Homon. Asoroh shehoyu sofrei hamelech, ushloshim b'chol hamdinos.'" How then, do we explain "ROV bonov" in the "Mo'oz tzur?" Perhaps the Tosfos on Yoma 31a d.h. "Amoh" can be helpful. Tosfos says that the children of Homon were decapitated before being hung on the tree gallows. Armed with this information, perhaps it can be said that "ROVE" does not mean the majority of the NUMBER of his sons, but rather, the majority of the BODY of each of the ten who were hung. "KEIN YOVDU CHOL OIVECHO, HASHEM." (Shoftim 5:31)
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