On your way to (Pesach) Passover,
don’t pass over Purim. Ah Purim, how we all appreciate you even
though you tantalize us, mystify us
and laugh with us as we struggle to understand
you. Like Yom Kippur, you help us to
reach a destination called forgiveness but what a difference in the trip. You allow us to atone for our sins with
merriment and with eating and with drinking– a lot of drinking. On Yom Kippur we abstain. On Yom Kippur we
remove our shoes, while you get us to put on an extra pair of clown shoes. On
Yom Kippur we refrain from anointing ourselves while you allow us to us smear
our faces and bodies with extra creams and cosmetics. On Yom Kippur we stay
awake and focused while you – Purim – lead us to take an extra drink and or a
little extra sleep. How does this happen?
Maybe we can find an answer using your mitzvah of drinking wine –everything
becomes clearer with a little wine and even clearer with more wine . . .
Let’s see, where was I ? Oh yes, Drinking can easily bring a person to
frivolity and nonsense, yet you, Purim, are (mehapech) the opposite, you make a switch and the wine we drink takes
us up the spiritual ladder towards purity and strivings towards kiddusha.
clever. You fool our (yetzer hora) negative inclination
by giving it just what it wants lots of
wine and maybe even some more and then all of a sudden, it can’t connive or
deceive any more because (nichnas yayin yotzei sod) once wine goes in, on this
unique holy day, then the inner yearnings of our pure Jewish soul come out.
You put masks on
us to strip our masks away. All of a sudden we may realize that our regular,
ordinary, middle of the road conduct is really the result of our inner battle
between these two forces. Now we get a chance to glimpse at our dark side and
through the special loftiness of this day can actually laugh at it, with that laughter freeing us from its negative influence hopefully
not just for this day, but forever.
When we see beyond
the mask, we learn how not to judge. Throughout the year we may be guilty of
too quickly evaluating and judging others on a very shallow level. On Purim
when a (adel) sweet person puts on a scary mask, we are not frightened because
we know that behind the mask is a precious soul. So, too, in the real world, every Jew has
good points which we should focus on and therefore not be so quick to judge
Ah Purim, you don’t have us
simply ask (mechila) forgiveness, of our friends, you tell us to say it with
presents. How so? We give two gifts to
at least one friend and minimally one gift to each of two poor people. One of
the great Rabbis makes an observation asking why are we obligated to give at
least double to a friend and only minimally one gift to each of the poor? He answers that the poor gratefully accept whatever
we offer, but we might have offended our friends over the course of the year
and they may continue to harbor resentment. On Purim we are commanded to make a
special effort to repair these breaches in all relationships especially those
which have weakened. Therefore we should “redouble” our efforts with sincere gifts and
send a clear message to both close friends and estranged acquaintances that we are sincerely interested in healing the
past and rebuilding the future together. Also we give them gifts that don’t
need preparation – ie. ready to eat – to hint to them that they do not have to
make any – preparations – changes in themselves – in order for us to accept
them as they are.
On Purim, the poor can make us
rich. One reason we are only minimally
required to give one gift to each of at least two needy people is because as
long as we don’t see the poor as our friends we ourselves are spiritually poor,
however, if we see every Jew, including the needy, as our friends, then we will
generously lavish them with gifts thereby taking them out of their physical poverty
and ourselves our of our spiritual poverty.
Ah Purim, leave us with one more gift,
leave us with your special smile which inspires our hearts as we prepare for
the next stage of our journey that being the wonderful Pesach transformation.
All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia
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