Saturday, April 02, 2005

Toras Purim 5765 from my brother in law, R' Chaim Brown

Chazal (Shabbos 31a) identify each of the six sedarim of Mishna with a phrase in the pasuk in Yeshaya (33:6) "V'haya emunas itecha chosen yeshu'os chochma v'da'as...". Seder Taharos, which marks the completion of Shas, is identified and connected with the middah of da'as .

The last Mishna in Shas tells us that Hashem will ultimately reward each and every tzaddik with 310 worlds.

"Mishenichnas Adar marbin b'simcha". The Divrei Elimelech notes that the word "B'SiMChaH" has the same letters as the word "MaCHShaVaH", thinking, or using one's da'as . The shoresh of machshavah is ChoSheV = gematriya 310.

The climax of the Megillah is the unraveling of Haman's plans. Esther begs that Achashveirosh rescind "ra'as Haman haAgagi v'es MACHSHAVTO" and to recall "es hasefarim MACHSHEVES Haman ben HaMedasa HaAgagi". Purim is not just about repealing the edicts of Haman, but is about overturning the machshavah and da'as of Haman.

Da'as does not simply mean knowledge - it means connectedness on the deepest level, as reflected in the pasuk "V'Adam yada es Chava ishto".

The Rambam (Geirushn 2:8) tells us that even if a Jew refuses to consent to do a mitzvah unless Bais Din coerces him to agree, that agreement is considered to be done with full da'as. Although a Jew may verbally protest, may physically protest, may claim he does not care about mitzvos, on the deepest level there always remains some connection, some da'as, that attaches to ruchniyus.

There is a fundamental difference between the simcha of Purim and the simcha of all other yamim tovim. R' Soloveitchik explained that the geder of simcha of the three regalim is being in Hashem's presence, as the pasuk says "u'semachtem lifnei Hashem...". This is the purpose of aliya l'regel. According to Tosfos (M"K 14b), when there is no mikdash for korbanos haregel, there is no obligation min haTorah of simcha.

The simcha of Purim is of a different nature, as Hashem's name is never mentioned in the Megillah and the entire yom tov takes place without mikdash and in galus. The simcha of Purim is not a temporary trip to Mikdash and then a return home, but, like the deeper level of da'as that always exists even if we ourselves deny it, it is the simcha of knowing we are always with Hashem, machshava=simcha=choshev=310, that sans Mikdash, sans nes galuy, in the deepest galus, we still have a connection directly to Hashem.

Even if one drinks to a state of "ad d'lo yada", no one really mistakes the evil of Haman for the goodness of Mordechai. The Ishbitzer asks, once we put aside our da'as, where does our knowledge to make that disctinction come from? Perhaps the answer is (and he suggests a similar idea) that once we put aside our own thoughts, our own ideas, and all the false da'as we fill most of our lives with, we reach a deeper level of connectedness, which is the true da'as that the Rambam tells us is at our core.

The Ishbitzer writes that this is why Purim is the holiday of masks. We put on a costume, but in the end, everyone recognizes who we really are under that mask. In life, we disguise ourselves under many masks of da'as, but the true identity of each Jew, the true da'as that connects to Hashem, always remains recognizable.

Chazal (Meg 16a) tell us that when Haman came to dress Mordechai and parade him through Shushan, Mordechai Mordechai was learning the details of the korban ha'omer (Yalkut). The Radomsker in Tiferes Shlomo notes that the word OMER = gematriya 310. New wheat was not permitted to be offered in the Bais HaMikdash until after the offering of the shtei halechem on Shavuos. But the Torah tells us that not just the wheat of Mikdash, the "lifnei Hashem" wheat deserves a korban, but the wheat of each farmer that was grown for his daily bread also deserves a korban in celebration.

Purim Erev Shabbos means that we go from Purim into a Shabbos of "Meleches machsheves asra Torah" - Shabbos means we divest ourselves of the weekday machshavah and find that deeper da'as connecting to Hashem.

The machshavah of Haman is that there is no ultimate purpose and cause that binds each Jew to G-d; there whole universe is just an interplay of accidental forces, interchangeable masks and identities. This is the force of Amalek, "asher karcha baderech" - karcha=accident, happenstance, like the word KERI = 310. This hashkafa of KERI tells us that there is no deep connection to anything; that da'as and maCHShaVa (=310) have no roots. Achashveirosh orders Vashti to appear unclothed, stripped of her masks, to try to prove that underneath everything is really a great void of nothingness.

V'nahapoch hu! Each and every Jew tries on Purim to obliterate "maCHSHeVes Haman", the Haman-thoughts of the daily grind that threatens to dominate our lives, and to connect to the da'as of who we really are. KERI =310 is transformed into the great simcha of "LaYehudim hayisa Orah v'Simcha v'Sason v'YeKaR"=310.

The Rambam tells us that Purim will always be with us as a Yom Tov because "harei hi kayemes k'chamisha chumshei Torah u'k'halachos shel Torah sheb'al peh sh'ainan b'teilim l'olam". The immutable da'as reflected in the Yom Tov of Purim exists because Purim is a cheilik of Torah, which is everlasting.

By connecting to Torah and being toveil in what the Rambam calls the "mei hada'as", we nourish that deep connection to Hashem, the machshava=simcha=choshev=310 of Adar and Purim, so that ultimately we can be zocheh to the 310 worlds and "U'mal'ah ha'aretz de'ah es Hashem kamayim l'yam mechsim..."


  1. Just discovered the blog. Welcome to the blogsphere, and yasher koach on being marbitz torah berabim.

  2. Thank you very much. May we be zocheh to all be marbeh kavod shomayim.