Thursday, March 01, 2007

When the going gets tough...

Get your mask ready, Purim is upon us!

But, with all the festivity, frivolity and fressing, you wonder about the deeper significance of this seemingly raucous holiday.

Believe it or not, it's deep. So deep that most people miss it. "When one enters, secrets emerge", say the Kabbalists. When the whole festival is about wine, it must contain many spiritual secrets.

Here's one:

At the end of the Megillah, we're going to read a cryptic statement, "The Jews kept and accepted...". According to the Talmud, this means that we finally accepted the Torah that had been presented at Mt. Sinai centuries earlier. In other words, when the Jews committed to Torah in the presence of G-d, it wasn't good enough.

At first glance, this really makes no sense. The Jews who left Egypt were highly spiritual people. At Mt. Sinai, G-d Himself appeared and presented the Torah.

At the time of the Purim story, the Jews were not all that spiritual. When the king made a feast to celebrate the downfall of Jerusalem, they attended. Apparently, they were not very spiritually sensitive.

Instead of the miracles of Mt. Sinai, they were faced with the threat of a Holocaust. It seems odd that under such adverse circumstances, they would make a greater commitment than at one of the most powerful moments in history.

Actually, therein lies the message.

To commit to a Jewish lifestyle when G-d is "in your face", miracles are normal, your soul is on fire, and you're in the care of a spiritual giant like Moses, is no big deal.

To be proudly Jewish when life is tough and anti-Semitism is rife- that's an achievement.

Purim reminds us that it is the challenging moments in our lives that bring out the best in us. It teaches us to measure our spiritual progress by how we do when we're uninspired, not by how we achieve when times are good.

Now you can appreciate why the Talmud says, "A man is obligated to get drunk on Purim until he cannot tell the difference between 'Cursed is Haman' and 'Blessed is Mordechai'". This is not a call to drunken stupidity.

Rather, the Talmud wants us to realize that whether your internal Mordechai or your personal Haman is dictating your feelings; whether you're spiritually inspired or apathetic, you can always switch on your inner spirituality.

Have a great Purim!

(For more like this, visit


goldring said...


Im sure you have learnt the sicha with Rabba and Zeira. Rabba kills Zeira and then brings him back to life again... fantastic sicha... I would love to hear a shiur on that!

Have a great Shabbas!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Please grab anti-Olmert's Purim buttons from
The buttons are free and could be hotlinked. Let's make some fun of Olmert!