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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Ki Tissa / Purim

Rabbi Mansour 2011
Shabbat Morning Class ?????? ???? ??? ?? ????
???? ?? ???-?????
"??? ????? ??? ????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????"
The Pasuk in the Megillah describes Mordechai as both ??? ????? and .??? ?????
This means that Mordechai was from both the tribe of ??? ?????) ????? ), and from the
tribe of ??? ?????) ?????? ). How is this possible? How could he have been from two
different tribes? The answer is that he was from Yehudah from his motherís side, and
he was from Binyamin from his fatherís side.
In general we consider a personís lineage and tribe to be of his fatherís. We donít
go after the mother when it comes to a personís tribe, or if he is considered a Kohen or
Levi. For what purpose did the Megillah mention both the tribe of Mordechaiís mother
and his father?
The explanation is, that the Megillah was telling us something more than simply
the tribal status of Mordechai. It was showing us the special traits that Mordechai had
acquired from his holy ancestors of his respective tribes.
It is said that a person can actually pass down his good traits to his children and
grandchildren. If he ingrains a certain good attribute deeply into his character, this
attribute will many times be found in his children and grandchildren, even if they had
never seen him! Itís almost like something genetic that is passed down to his children
without them even being conscious of it.
There was once a boy praying Shema and moving his head in a distinct manner
during the word ??? , an elderly man came to him afterwards and asked; "are you so
and soís grandson"? "Yes" answered the boy, "how did you know"? The man explained
that the boyís grandfather would move his head the same exact way while he recited
Shema! This boy had never even seen his grandfather!
The opposite is true as well. Our negative traits can be handed down to our
children. We must therefore be very careful of our actions, and realize the long term
effects that they have.
Mordechaiís great grandmother was Rachel Imenu. Rachel had an amazing
ability to keep silent at times when it was almost impossible to. We see this in the
episode with the marriage of Yaakov to Leah. Yaakov had worked for Rachel, and had
expected to marry her. Lavan tricked Yaakov and replaced Rachel for Leah. Yaakov
had suspected Lavan would try and trick him so he had set up signs for Rachel to give
him that night. These signs were the laws of Niddah, Challah (separating the proper
amount of dough while baking bread), and Friday night candle lighting. Rachel was
concerned that her sister would be greatly embarrassed if she were exposed, so she
gave over these Halachot to Leah before the wedding without telling her that they were
the secret signals between her and Yaakov!!
That night, when Yaakov asked Leah certain questions about these laws she
responded correctly, without realizing that she had just "passed the test". In the
morning Yaakov realized what had happened, and understood what Rachel had done.
No where do we find that Yaakov had rebuked her for giving Leah the signs. It was
understood that it was worth it in order not to embarrass her sister.
Later on, when Leahís son Reuven had brought to his mother some ??????
(flowers that promote fertility), Rachel requested of Leah to give her the flowers and
Leah responded;".. ???? ???? ?? ???? " "Isnít it enough that you took my husband now
you want my flowers"?! Rachel upon hearing this could have finally unleashed on her
sister what she held back all those years. You think that i took your husband?! Let me
tell you something; I gave him to you!! You only have him because of me! The least
you can do is to give me some flowers so that I may too have a child form him!! Rachel
had the amazing strength to hold this back from Leah, and keep silent in the face of
such a great test. (The credit for being silent is when you do have something to say but
you donít say it).
We find this trait handed down to Rachelís son Binyamin. Binyamin knew of his
brothers actions in selling his older brother Yosef. He witnessed his fatherís suffering
all the years Yosef was away, and he refrained from mentioning anything to his father
even though anyone else would have been tempted to. In the breast plate of the Kohen
Gadol there were 12 different stones representing the 12 tribes. The stone that
represented Binyamin was called " ???? "(a jade like color). The word ???? can be
broken up to spell ?? -?? -"there is a mouth". This shows us that even when Binyamin
had what to answer he would contain himself and keep quiet.
Binyaminís grandson Shaul Hamelech also received this power of silence. His
father had lost his donkeys, and asked Shaul to go to Shemuel Hanavi to help him find
them. When he arrived, Shemuel told him; "donít worry, the donkeys have been found",
he then informed him that he would be the first king of Israel. Imagine the excitement of
Shaul upon hearing this! Upon returning home, he told his father that the donkeys have
been found, but mentioned nothing about becoming the king of Israel! In his humility he
decided to leave that out and remain silent about it. Mordechai had inherited this great
trait from his ancestors Binyamin and Shaul and his grandmother Rachel.
Esther as well was from Binyamin, and she too had this strength of being able to
keep silent. It was through this power that she was able to refrain from revealing her
religion from Ahashverosh, as Mordechai had instructed. She was pressured greatly to
divulge this information, but she was able to resist, thanks to this strength of silence
that she inherited.
Mordechai was a grandson of Yehudah from his motherís side. Yehudah was the
son of Leah. What was the strength of Leah? She had the power to speak up when
something needed to be said. When she gave birth to Yehudah she publicly declared
???? ???? ?? ?'" "-"this time I will thank Hashem". Yehudah her son, when faced with
the moment with Tamar, had the courage to answer publicly "she is correct"! Yehudah
had this strength from his mother Leah, and this strength was passed down to
Mordechai. Mordechai had the ability to stand up and speak when the moment called
for it.
Mordechai had both the strength to be silent from Rachel, and to speak up from
Leah. We see this in his name. The numerical value of ????? is 274, the numerical
value of ??? & ??? is also 274, showing us that he possessed both of their strengths.
Mordechaiís power to "speak up" is evident in the Megillah. He went to the center
of town and donned sackcloth and lamented over the decree that faced the Jews. He
shouted and cried like the Pasuk says " ????? ???? ????? "-"he cried a great cry".
He rallied the Jews to repent and return to the ways of Torah and Misvot.
What is not as clear in the Megillah is Mordechaiís ability to keep silent. Where
do we see Mordechai being faced with something that he needed to keep quiet
about?? The answer lies in a Pasuk in the Torah (Shemot Chapter 17 Pasuk 14)
it says " ??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ". From the word ???? in this Pasuk the
Gemarah (Megillah7a) learns that the obligation to fulfill the Megillat Esther is from the
Torah. The obvious question is; how is it possible that we were obligated in the
Megillah from the time of Moshe Rabeinu, when the story of Purim happened so many
years later?! The explanation is, that Moshe Rabeinu knew what was destined to
happen in the story of Purim. He knew that the Jews would be threatened with
annihilation but would be saved in the end, and a great holiday would come from this.
Moshe Rabeinu passed this information down to his student Yehoshua as a secret. It
was not repeated to anyone as the Pasuk says " ???? ????? ?????? "-"place in the ears of
Yehoshua". Placing in the ears means to tell it only to him as a secret that is whispered
in the ear. Yehoshua then passed it down to his student and it was passed down from
generation to generation to only one man in the generation. It was crucial that this
remained a secret, because if it was revealed to the Jewish nation that they would be
saved in the end, they would not feel threatened enough to repent and change their
ways. Mordechai was the one who knew this secret in his generation. He knew that in
the end the Jews would be saved and a great salvation would come from Purim. The
Pasuk says " ?????? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? "-"Mordechai knew all that was done". The
Pasuk is telling us that Mordechai knew it all; he knew that the Jews would be saved.
Mordechai witnessed the suffering and fear of the Jews but had the strength to remain
silent. It was the power to keep this great secret that the Megillah attributes to his
grandmother Rachel.
Wine and Smell
The Gemarah in Yoma 76b quotes Rava that says; " ???? ?????? ????? "-"wine and
smell cause one to be wise". Simply understood Rava is saying that good wine and
smell open up oneís mind. We must however endeavor to understand the deeper
message that Rava was trying to convey.
Wine represents silence. How do we see this? When producing wine the noise
level must be kept low. The winemakers are very careful to keep things quiet, and to
keep the volume down as the wine ages in it casks. Noise "agitates" the wine.
Smell on the other hand, is enhanced by sound. We read this in the Ketoret
every day when we say; " ???? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? "-"Rav
Natan said that while the one was grinding the spices of the incense he would say
"grind it very fine, very fine grind it". Rav Natan is telling us that one grinding the spices
would say out loud as he was grinding the words " ??? ????, ???? ??? ". The sound of
his voice saying these words actually brought out certain aromas in the incense. There
is a certain perfume company who recently revealed that one of the secrets to their
scent is the sound and rhythms that they play as they formulated the different
ingredients of the perfume.
Wine represents silence. Smell represents speech (sound). Rava is teaching us
that the secret to becoming wise is knowing when to be silent, and when to speak up.
The wine and smell that Rava spoke of, stand for what wine and smell represent.
There are times when we must keep silent (for example in the presence of a great
man, one must keep silent in order to listen and learn from what he is saying, if one is
too busy speaking he is unable to hear anything! "silent" has the same letters as
There are also times when a person must be heard. He must give advice and
guide others when he is needed.
We now understand an additional significance in the opening ceremony of
Shabbat - the Friday night Kiddush. On Shabbat we are restricted in what we are
allowed to talk about. We are not allowed to discuss business, nor can we discuss
plans for after Shabbat. We also should not discuss things that agitate us. We are
limited in our speech, and for this reason we begin Shabbat making Kiddush on a cup
of wine. The wine symbolizes silence, and it reminds us that we have entered a time
that we must be careful about what we say. When we end Shabbat we make
Havdallah. In the Havdallah we smell the Besamim. This symbolizes that we are now
free to speak about all those things that we were unable to until now. We end the
Havdallah by drinking wine. This is to remind us that even though we are now
permitted to speak as we wish, we still must be careful not to speak forbidden speech,
such as Lashon Hara or embarrass others with our words.
The Kiddush and Havdalah - the wine and smell - signal to us when it is ok to speak
and when we should keep silent.
The idea that smell represents silence and that Mordechai had mastered this
silence can be seen in the Torah. The Gemarah (Chulin 139b) asks "????? ?? ?????
????" - "where is Mordechai hinted to in the Torah?" The Gemarah answers that the
Pasuk in Parashat ??? ?'-?? ??? says " ???? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? "-"and take for
you the best spices of pure myrrh". The Torah describes the Besamim as " ."?? ????
The Targum Unkelos translates these words as " ???? ???? " these words ???? ????
contain the letters of ????? ís name. This is the allusion to Mordechai from the Torah.
The Gemarah is not merely giving us a "play on words" that contains the name of
Mordechai. The Gemarah is showing us that the Torah specifically hinted to
Mordechaiís name in the topic of smell, to show us that great power of silence - which
is represented by smell - which Mordechai possessed.
Haman, the Snake, and the Sin of Chava
The Gemarah asks (Chulin 134b) " ??? ?? ????? ???? " Ė"where is Haman hinted to
in the Torah? The Gemarah answers that it is the Pasuk in Parashat Bereshit in which
Hashem reprimands Adam for eating from the Eitz Hadaat "??? ??? ??? ?????? ?????
??? ???? ????" -"Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat
from?" The word ??? from " ??? ??? "-"from the tree" has the same letters as ??? , and
this is the hint to Haman from the Torah. The obvious question is, what is the Gemarah
trying to tell us?! Is it just merely a "play on words" that ??? and ??? have the same
letters?? What is the connection between Haman, and the sin of Adam and Chava
eating from the tree?!
The answer lies in the ramifications of the sin of Adam and Chava partaking from
the Eitz Hadaat. When they ate, Hashem decreed death upon the world. Originally,
man was supposed to live forever. Now that they had sinned, death was introduced to
the world. Haman realized that this sin was the source of death. He therefore tried to
access it and reawaken its punishment. He witnessed the Jews partaking from the
banquet of Ahashverosh. The food was obviously not on the "highest levels" of kosher
standards. The Jewish people gathered to partake of the meal, and when Haman saw
this he felt it was the perfect time to attack.
Why is this so? Since when does eating something Unkosher warrant death?!
Haman understood that when Jews gather to eat improperly, this reawakens the
improper eating of Adam and Chava and reactivates the effects of that sin, thus
bringing death onto them ?''? ! He tried to capitalize on this, and approached
Ahashverosh and petitioned him to annihilate the Jews.
There was a good reason why he chose to go through Ahashverosh.
Ahashverosh represented the wicked snake that coerced Chava to eat from the tree.
He represented the ????? ???? (venom of the snake) that entered Chava when she
listened to him. The numerical value of ??????? is 821 which is exactly the same as the
words 821 ????? ???? ! Haman went to Ahashverosh to attempt to activate the venom
of the snake, and reenact the effects of the sin of eating from the Eitz Hadaat! He even
tried to hang Mordechai specifically on a tree in order to reawaken the sin of Eitz
Hashem protected us and Haman failed. Who was the integral figure in foiling
Hamanís plans? Esther Hamalkah. Esther was actually a reincarnation of Chava!
Chava had erred by engaging the snake in conversation. This constituted a flaw in
speech. Chava answered the snakeís claims, and was eventually seduced into eating
from the tree. Esther was coming to rectify the sin of speech that she transgressed in
her previous Gilgul (reincarnation). She did so by keeping totally silent about her
Judaism, and this led to the salvation.
(David Hamelech received his 70 years of life from Adam Harishon. Having
Adamís years, David realized the dangers of involvement with the Yeser Hara even to
the slightest desire. For this reason he began Tehilim with the Pasuk "???? ???? ???
?? ??? ???? ????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ???" "if you walk with the wicked
you will eventually stand with them and then you will eventually sit with them". What
starts off as a seemingly innocent conversation eventually leads to being drawn to sin.
David Hamelech knew this very well being from Adam Harishon.)
Esther asked the Jews to fast for three days on her behalf. " ???? ??? "-"fast for
me". We now understand that Esther was asking the Jews to fast because of her sin in
her previous Gilgul of Chava!
In the end, the Jews were victorious and repented with all their hearts. Haman
was hung on a tree, symbolizing his failure to reawaken the sin of the tree (eating from
the Eitz Hadaat). The Megillah says " ???? ????? "-"they ordained and they took upon
themselves". The Gemarah Shabbat 88a says " ???? ?? ????? ??? "-"they reaccepted
what they previously had accepted". They reaccepted upon themselves the Torah, and
it was like they had just received it again from Mount Sinai. At Mount Sinai the Jews
reached such a high level that they actually had rid themselves of the " !"????? ????
Death had been abolished from the world! When the Jews sinned with the Eigel they
fell from this high level and the ????? was reintroduced. Death was part of the world
The Pasuk in Tehilim says" ??? ????? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? "- "I (Hashem) said
that you are like angels and all higher beings". The next Pasuk follows, "??? ????
??????" -"however like Adam you shall die". This refers to when the Jews accepted the
Torah they were raised to the level of angels but when they sinned they reverted back
to being mortal. The Jewish people in the times of Purim were successful in eradicating
(to a certain degree) the sin of eating from the Eitz Hadaat and itís accompanying
????? ????" ". This was the same aspect as Matan Torah when the Jews received the
holy Torah and had rid themselves of the effects of the sin of the Eitz Hadaat. They
were therefore now motivated to reaccept and reaffirm the holy Torah once again Ė just
like by Mount Sinai.
????? ??? ???? ???
The spiritual benefits that the Jewish nation enjoyed during the days of Purim are
available again to us every year during the holiday of Purim. It is a time for us to
reaffirm and recommit ourselves to our holy Torah and Misvot. If we take advantage of
this, we are blessed with a renewed enthusiasm and fresh spirit with which to serve
Hashem. Let us be guided by the Torah to know when to speak and when to be silent,
and may the Simchah of Purim permeate throughout the entire year. Amen!

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Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torahís ďFootstepsĒ
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