Sunday, February 28, 2010

Melave Malka and Enter Purim Post

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur on Thursday evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

Towards the end of the megillah, there is a phrase which is read by the congregation before being repeated by the ba'al koreh. The same line is repeated in the havdalah - "Layehudim Haisa Orah V'Simcha V'Sasson V'Yikar" - to the Jews there was light and happiness and rejoicing and goodness. The gemara in Megillah explains that Orah means Torah, Simcha means Yom Tov, Sasson means Bris Milah and Yikar means Tefillin.

Rabbi Frand asked the following question - did the Jews not have Torah, Yom Tov, Bris Milah or Tefillin prior to the miracle of Purim?

Rabbi Frand answered by quoting the Chasam Sofer who discusses the pasuk in Vayikra 32:22 "V'lo Sichallilu es shem Kadshi V'Nikdashti B'soch Bnei Yisrael" - You should not profane My holy name and make Me holy within the Jewish people. This pasuk is unique in that it discusses both chillul Hashem and Kiddush Hashem. This concept can be illustrated by a gemara in Sanhedrin. The gemara asks what happened to Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah after they were saved from the fiery furnace? The gemara gives numerous answers including that they drowned in the spit of the other nations.

The Chasam Sofer explains that the nations of the world were incredulous that the Jews were continuing to worship idols. Hashem had just performed an open miracle in saving Chanayah, Mishael and Azaryah from certain death in the furnace. How could the Jews continue to worship idols? The nations then spat on the Jews to show their disgust. This was a clear example of how an event could cause a chillul or kiddush Hashem. Had the Jews strengthened their emunah in Hashem as a result of seeing the miracle, they would have been lauded for their devotion. But alas they did not and were looked down on by the nations.

The Jews of Shushan did take note of the miracle which occurred in their midst and they changed their ways. Although they previously had Torah, Tefillin, Bris and Yom Tov, they were more enthusiastic in their actions. Torah was learned with greater inspiration, Yom Tov and brissim were celebrated with greater fervor. The tefillin was worn with greater pride. As a result of their greater devotion, the miracle of Purim became a great Kiddush Hashem.

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