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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Tetzaveh - Purim

Rabbi Mansour 2012
Shabbat Morning Class
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In honor of the upcoming holiday of Purim we discuss today a law that pertains to the festive meal of Purim day.

"??? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ???"

The Gemarah in Megillah says in the name of Rava, that one is obligated to become intoxicated on Purim until he cannot differentiate between Blessed is Mordechai and cursed is Haman.
A person is required to drink so much until he reaches the point that he blesses the wicked Haman!

How are we to understand this requirement? Why would we be obligated to reach the point that we would want to bless a Rasha?! Is it even possible to reach such a point, to confuse the Sadik with a terrible Rasha?? Also, why is it that Rava was the first person to introduce this obligation to us; we do not find this obligation listed anywhere else, it is not found in any Mishnah or Baraita. If this is an obligation, why didnít anyone else mention it until now?!

In order to understand some of the depth behind these points we must go back and analyze the origins of Haman and the holiday of Purim.

In this weekís Haftarah we read about the story of Shaul Hamelech.
Shaul had been commanded to eradicate the nation of Amalek and he almost did so, however he left Agag-the king of Amalek alive, and therefore failed his mission. Instead, Shemuel Hanavi had to come the next day to kill Agag. In the interim, Agag had impregnated a maidservant and was successful in perpetuating the nation of Amalek. It was from this union between Agag and the maidservant from which the evil Haman descended.
How could Shaul have made such an error in judgment? How could he have even temporarily left alive the most "wanted" man in Amalek?! It seems so obvious that Agag should have been the first person to be killed!

Now, we have to understand about whom it is we are speaking about. Shaul Hamelech was chosen by Hashem to be the king over the nation of Israel. He was selected over everybody else at the time, and he was a holy Sadik. The Gemarah (Yoma 22b) explains the Pasuk in Navi (????? ?', ??') "??? ??? ???? ?????"-"Shaul reigned one year". Shaul was just like a one year old baby that never sinned! We must give Shaul some credit and safely assume that he had a pretty good reason for doing what he did.

In order to understand, we must mention what is said about the great Sadikim in their ability to look into a personís soul and see what will come from it in the future. One example is in the incident of Moshe killing the Egyptian. It was only after Moshe Rabeinu looked into the soul of the Egyptian man and realized that no one would come from him, that he killed the Egyptian.

The Gemarah says that from the grandchildren of Haman came out Rabbis who taught Torah in Bnei Brak!

Most notable was Rabbi Shemuel Ben Shilat. Rabbi Shemuel was a dedicated school teacher. The Gemarah (?'?-?') writes about Rav Shemuel that he took a small break from teaching only once in 13 years and even then he was focusing on his students! He was the perfect example of a school teacher, that the Pasuk refers to as "?????? ????? ??????? ????? ???" and he cultivated the pure Torah of the innocent children which has a tremendous impact in sweetening the judgment in heaven. This precious Neshama of Rav Shemuel Ben Shilat was hidden inside of Agag and Haman!
It was this Neshama of Rav Shemuel that Shaul Hamelech recognized inside of the soul of Agag, and he therefore left him alive in order to save the soul of Rav Shemuel! When Shaul lifted his spear to kill Agag he saw Rav Shemuel in front of him!

There are several proofs to this eye opening interpretation.
One is from the Gemarah in Yoma (22b) that quotes the Pasuk in Shemuel that says "???? ????"-Shaul "laid wait (in attack of Amalek) in the valley".
The Gemarah explains that Shaul was involved with ??? (???? ???). Than proceeds to explain a Kal Vachomer Shaul made involving an Eglah Arufah (just as by the case of a body found next to a town, the town must bring the sacrifice of Eglah Arufah for it, then surely if one kills an entire nation he must bring many sacrifices! It was because of this Kal Vachomer that Shaul spared the lives of the animals in order to sacrifice them to Hashem). In explaining the Kal Vachomer the Gemarah uses the terminology ??? ??? ???-"now if when one should be found dead etc." the word ??? implies something more than the mere physical existence of a person. The Gemarah is alluding to the fact that Shaul was analyzing the ?????-souls of Amalek and what would come from them and not just their physical bodies.

This Pasuk "???? ????" quoted by the Gemarah also shows us Shaulís intentions in attacking Amalek, and in sparing the life of Agag. The word ??? stands for ??? ??? ??????, and it stands for Hashemís attribute of mercy when he continues to reward for good deeds even 2000 generations later! The ability to see many generations in the future is symbolized by ??? ??? ??????-when Hashem rewards many generations into the future, and it is for this reason that the Pasuk tells us that they laid wait ????. It is to show us that Shaul was focused on the future generations, and this led him to spare Agag in order to save Rav Shemuel Ben Shilat!

The only problem was that Hashem said to kill Agag! Even though Shaul had noble intentions in saving Agag, when Hashem commands you to do something you canít make calculations. This is why Shaul was considered mistaken for what he did, and as a result he lost his kingdom.

Rav Shemuel Ben Shilat actually knew that he was a descendent of Agag-Amalek, and it was because of this that he strove to reunify the name of Hashem that had been separated by Amalek.

The Pasuk says "?? ?? ?? ?? ?-? ????? ??' ?????" regarding Amalek and it uses the letters ?-? without the final letters ?-?. This is to show that Amalek caused a division (so to speak) in the name of Hashem. Rav Shemuel tried to repair the damage caused by his ancestors, and reunite the letters of Hashemís name.
He did so by teaching children. A school teacher as mentioned teaches the most pure Torah and causes great pleasure in Shamayim to sweeten the judgment and quicken the redemption and this causes Hashemís name to be complete.
This is hinted in his name ?' ????? ?? ???? the name ???? stands for the words: "????? ?-?-?-? ????? ????"-"I have set Hashem before me always".
This stands for the obligation on a person to constantly imagine the name of Hashem ?-?-?-? before him. Rí Shemuel constantly envisioned ?-?-?-? before him, and this was the goal of his life, to reunite the ?-? with the ?-? and to undo the damage caused by his ancestors!

The great granddaughter of Shaul Hamelech was Queen Esther. She was given the opportunity to rectify what her grandfather Shaul had done by leaving Agag alive. Haman, the grandson of Agag, was threatening to annihilate the Jewish nation. Mordechai commanded Esther to approach King Ahashverosh on behalf of the Jews.
When Esther hesitated, Mordechai told her;"?? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ????? ???? ??????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ??????"-"if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise to the Jews from another place, but you and your fatherís house shall be destroyed, and who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for this time?!
He specified??? ???? her fatherís house will be destroyed, because this was her chance to rectify the mistake of her fatherís house, and save the Jews from the wicked Haman - a descendent of Agag whom Shaul spared!

Once we understand this we can now understand a fascinating insight in an episode in the Megillah between Esther and Haman.
Esther invited Haman to a party of wine and Esther, like her grandfather, was also able to see the holy spark inside of Haman, and she was able to see the soul of Rav Shemuel Ben Shilat in Haman!
The ??? ???? (Rav Sadok Hakohen Milublin) explains that Esther tried to stimulate the holy spark inside of Haman, and turn him to Teshuvah!
When she invited Ahashverosh and Haman to the party she said; "???? ???? ???? ????" (let the king and Haman come today to my party) the first letters of these words are ?-?-?-?, Esther was trying to begin to undo the damage of Amalek and reunite ?-?-?-? thereby "starting Haman off" to Teshuvah!

The amazing part is that she was almost successful! The ??? ???? explains that when the Pasuk says that Haman left Estherís first party he was "??? ???? ??"-"happy and good hearted". The words ??? ?? are usually reserved for one whose heart is turned toward our father in heaven. If it is a reference to the righteous, how could these words be used for Haman?!
He explains that at that moment Haman actually had a feeling of Teshuvah! Esther had been successful in activating the holy spark of Rav Shemuel inside Haman, and momentarily brought Haman to genuine repentance!
However, when Haman saw Mordechai before him he "relapsed" back into wickedness, and thatís why right after this the Megillah tells us that when Haman saw that Mordechai would not bow he said;"??? ?? ????? ??? ??" Ė"itís all not worth it" and he went back to his wicked ways.

Originally Esther was not sure how the miracle would play out. She thought perhaps Haman will "turn around" and start to speak good about the Jews. She therefore strove to bring Haman to Teshuvah. Ultimately this was not Hashemís plan. Haman was killed and the goodness inside of Haman came out many generations later in his grandson Rav Shemuel.

We can now understand the depth behind the obligation to get drunk "until we bless Haman".
Rav Chaim Vital explains in the Sefer "??? ??????" that in general, whenever there is evil, there exists a small spark of good inside of that evil. When the Gemarah says that we are to drink until we bless Haman it means that we must give this spark of good (that exists in the evil) light and blessing, and try to capture it away from the evil. This can only be done ??? ????- when a person is not at full mental capacity. If a person tries to do this when he is not drunk, he is liable to accidently provide blessing to the evil itself! It is only when our minds are "not with us"-when we are drunk- that we are able to penetrate the evil unaffected in order to provide light to the spark of good that exists within, and try to redeem and extract what we can of that spark to bring it to the side of good!

This is what it means when it says drink until you can say "blessed is Haman", it means; drink until you are able to bring blessing into the spark of good which exists inside of the evil that is represented by Haman!

The final point that we have to clarify is why it was specifically Rava who revealed this law to us and why no other Rabbi that preceded him had mentioned it.
To answer this, we must refer back to what we learnt in Parashat Lech Lecha (see Lech Lecha class 2011) regarding the connection between Lot (the brother in law of Avraham) and Rava.
We have learnt that sometimes Hashem originally sends down the Neshamot of great Sadikim inside of ordinary people.

The Sefer Hagilgulim of R Menahem Azarya Mifino explains that the Neshama of the holy Amora "Rava" was contained inside of Lot.

We see this hinted in the Pasuk (Perek 14 Pasuk 12) mentioned in the story of Avrahamís rescuing Lot from the four kings. It says: "????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?????"- ["And they captured Lot and his possessions ĖAbrahamís brotherís son"]. The order of this Pasuk seemingly should have been written as: "they captured Lot - Abrahamís brotherís son - and his possessions". Why does the Torah insert "??? ????"-(his possessions) before mentioning that Lot was Avrahamís nephew?? The answer is that the Torah placed the words "??? ????" before the words "?? ???" in order to create a hint to the fact that Rava came from Lot. The first letters of the words ???? ?? ???"" spell ??? and alludes to the soul of the holy Amora Rava that the four kings held in captivity as a result of capturing Lot.

The drinking of wine was directly connected to Ravaís emergence into this world. Wine is what caused Lot to get drunk and sleep with his daughters and as a result of sleeping with his daughters Lot had children and eventually Rava would descend from them.

The ?????? explains in his Sefer ??? ???? that the Rabbis throughout the generations knew of this obligation to become intoxicated on Purim, but they chose to leave it for Rava to bring it out into the world. This was because wine was "Ravaís portion". Rava came about through wine - wine drunk by Lot in and indecent manner. Rava now wished to rectify this, and promote the drinking of wine to attain high spiritual feats! The honor was therefore given to Rava to explain this law and teach us that through intoxication from wine we are able to extract the holiness from evil, and we are able to use the consumption of wine on Purim, not for lewdness Chas Veshalom, but instead to effect great spiritual elevations.

We see from all this how holy the Seudat Purim is and how much can be accomplished through it! May we merit success in fully utilizing these precious moments. Amen.

Parashat Behaalotecha- Rectification is Always Possible
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge Ė and Rewards Ė of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torahís ďFootstepsĒ
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