26.2.10

Main message of Purim by Yekutiel Guzofsky

Purim and the expulsion of our enemies from Israel

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Main message of Purim: Them or us!

The Talmud in Tractate Megilla, 11a states, Rabbi Levi summarizes in one verse the essence of the Megillah and of the holiday of Purim by quoting the verse (Numbers 33) “If you do not disinherit the inhabitants of the land (drive them out).”

This is a baffling statement. After all, what does driving the gentiles out of Israel have to do with Purim? This question is only strengthened when we take into account that the holiday of Purim occurred in exile, in Persia, and has nothing to do with Eretz Israel.

An additional question can be asked with regard to the specific verse that Rabbi Levi quoted. The verse states that if we are reluctant to expel the nations from the land of Israel they will remain as thorns in our sides. And as the commentaries explain, they will yet arm themselves to chase us out of the land.

Must this be so? Why can’t there be coexistence between Jews and Arabs? Why is the Torah so negative about the prospects for peace?

Why was Esther initially unsuccessful in nullifying the evil decree against the Jews?

Another question begs to be asked. We learn from the Megillah that the actual decree against the Jews was requested by Haman and approved by King Ahashverosh on the 13th of Nissan, 11 months before the day designated for the Holocaust in Adar. Esther did succeed in convincing Ahashverosh to hang Haman three days after the initial decree was passed, when she pleaded before Ahashverosh at the grand party. However, the decree to annihilate the Jews was not nullified until the 23rd of Sivan, 70 days later. Why was Esther unable to have the order rescinded earlier? What was lacking in her approach?

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi Of Zefat, asks this question and offers the following explanation based on a story told in the Zohar.

Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, was with his friends in a field when he spotted a snake. The snake was chasing someone and was about to kill him when Rabbi Elazar spoke to the animal, calling upon him to leave the Jew alone, since he had repented and no longer merited to be killed. The snake stopped in his path and froze. And in spite of the fact that Rav Elazar repeated his words three times, the snake refused to move further.

The snake did not, in fact, leave until Rav Elazar called upon it to attack an evil gentile in a nearby village. Rabbi Elazar explained to his baffled friends that the snake was sent on a mission to bite and kill someone, and he would not leave until he was given an alternative victim.

Rabbi Eliyahu continued to explain that like Rabbi Elazar, who only understood on his third attempt, so, too, Esther Hamalka only grasped belatedly that the decree against the Jews would only be rescinded when she again appealed to Ahashverosh for permission to annihilate the Jew-haters who wished her people harm.

As long as they are here there is no hope for peace and security

The time has come for us to finally understand that there is no vacuum in the world. Israel belongs either to the Jews or to the Arabs. We will not inherit the land until we disinherit our enemies.

We can now understand the words of Rabbi Levi who summarized the holiday of Purim with the verse that tells us that we must disinherit the inhabitants.

This explanation can help us answer some additional questions related to the holiday of Purim. Why is Purim called Purim in plural and not Pur in singular if the holiday is in commemoration of the lots drawn by Haman? And how was the bloodthirsty Jew-hating Haman able to restrain himself for 11 months – to wait until Adar to massacre the Jews? And why was he complacent regarding the proposed date of the deed? Was he not aware that Adar is a lucky month for Jews?

After Rabbi Eliyahu’s explanation we can now answer all of the above. Indeed there is no salvation for the Jew from the jaws of his enemies until there is a reverse decree and a concurrent effort by the Jew to destroy those enemies.

Put bluntly, there are two lots for the Jew, and he has the freedom to choose – between life and death, mitzvah and sin, because good and evil cannot coexist forever. Ultimately there will be no place left to run. A choice must be made. Loving good without hating evil is a contradiction that cannot persist!

The month of Adar could be a horrible month for Jews or a wonderful month. And this is why the holiday is called Purim in the plural, because both lots are available for the month of Adar. By doing Teshuva and initiating a reversal of the decree on their enemies, the Jews emerged victorious. Haman was actually correct in his calculations of Adar as the graveyard month for the Jews. However, he did not consider the possibility of teshuva, the factor that reversed the decree and led to his undoing.

Thin line between righteous and evil

From here we learn one of the great secrets of Judaism – the balance between good and evil, between sweet and bitter, is more delicate than we realize. A mere hair separates a a bitter defeat from a resoundingly sweet victory. How true this is with all of our personal conflicts. On the one hand, yes, we can do Teshuva and draw strength away from the evil inclination, overcoming great obstacles on our way to personal betterment. On the other, how easy and quick it is to slip and fall from the path of righteousness. Perhaps this explains how Yehoash is referred to in Kings II as a righteous man and in Chronicles as an evil murderer. The same man, the same Bible, two opposite classifications.

In Hebrew similar roots to opposite concepts and anthonyms

Rabbi Meir Kahane OB”M explains the phenomenon of Hebrew words with distinctly opposite meanings that share the same or similar roots.

The Holy language is like no other language. The world was created through Hebrew and is not like other languages that were created by people. Hebrew was created by G-d and planned out by the Holy of Holies. In every word there are secrets and hints, each connected to each other, with lessons and morals to be learned. Sometimes, too, opposite words come from the same root to teach us that man has free will to choose between good and evil, both of which emanate from the same source. (See Or Haraayon page 17 and Sefer Hamakabee on Shemot, page 156.)

We can now understand the equation made by the rabbis comparing Purim to Yom Kippur, as well as the two goats – one for Hashem and one for Azazel – that are offered on Yom Kippur. There are many other examples from the Bible where two apparently opposite forces appear the same or emanate from a common root.

Temple Mount and Amalek – prime examples

We’ve all witnessed the unprecedented impurity and incitement against Israel that emanates from the Temple Mount, from the Mosques that replaced the Holy Temple on Judaism’s holiest site. It’s difficult to conceive that today in a sovereign State of Israel, the world’s holiest site is occupied by the most extreme forces of impurity and corruption and hatred of the Jew and his G-d.

Similarly, our Rabbis learn that the verse about Amalek that refers to G-d’s throne with a missing letter, shows us that as long as Amalek is alive in this world, G-d’s throne will not be whole.

Rabbi Kahane summarizes this idea in Or HaRaayon, page 53, explaining the halachic obligation to drink on Purim until we can no longer distinguish between blessing Mordecai and cursing Haman. The Rav explains there that the essence of this halacha is not, G-d forbid, to reach a level of drunkenness where one can not distinguish between Haman and Mordecai, but rather to drink until we understand that there is no difference between blessing Mordecai or cursing Haman – both are the same mitzvah – to praise the righteous and curse the evil. In fact, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of loving good unless he truly hates evil.

If you appreciated this dvar Torah and wish to help us print and distribute our news and Torah commentary in the spirit of the Jewish Idea, please sponsor additional publishing. We could use your help to spread our vital message to save Israel. Donate via paypal-

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=G387MEST7M2AU

or send a generous contribution to Mishal Yisrael POBox 6592 Jerusalem Israel – Purim Sameach!

24.2.10

Purim Dvar Torah by Daniel Pinner

B"H

Megillat Esther:
Revealing the hidden

Purim is the festival that, more than any other in our calendar, epitomises malkhut – God’s kingship. The word הַמֶּלֶךְ, ha-melekh (“the king”) appears 182 times throughout the Megillah, and indeed, there is a widespread custom for scribes to space the words of the scroll such that almost every column begins with this word. The historical narrative of the Book of Esther is the story of how God controls historical events without being seen, directing apparently random whims of kings, decisions of government ministers, and histories of mighty empires, all for the sake of the Jewish nation. Hence when the Megillat Esther uses the expression “the king”, without specifying King Achashverosh, it is understood on a midrashic level to be an oblique reference to the King of the Universe (see for example Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 50; Targum Sheni on Esther 6:1; Ibn Ezra’s commentary to Esther 6:1).
In Kabbalistic terminology, malkhut (“kingship”) is the lowest of the ten סְפִירוֹת, sefirot (the Divine “attributes”, “emanations”, “manifestations”). These sefirot are:
1) חָכְמָה,Chochmah (“wisdom”);
2) בִּינָה, Binah (“understanding”);
3) דַּעַת, Da’at (“knowledge”);
4) חֶסֶד, Chesed (“loving-kindness”);
5) גְּבוּרָה, Gevurah (“might”);
6) תִּפְאֶרֶת, Tiferet (“splendour”);
7) נֶצַח, Netzach (“eternity”, “victory”);
8) הוֹד, Hod (“grandeur”);
9) יְסוֹד, Yesod (“foundation”);
10) מַלְכוּת, Malkhut (“kingship”).

These are God’s ten attributes, so to speak, by which He controls the world and the people in it. To express it differently, these are the manifestations of God’s characteristics, so to speak – the guises in which He and His decrees become apparent in directing human history.
In the Megillat Esther, seven of these ten are present, three are absent. Let us see which these are, and examine the significance of the seven present and the three absent Sefirot.
1) חָכְמָה, Chochmah (“wisdom”) appears twice: וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לַחֲכָמִים, And the king said to the wise men… (1:13), andוַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ חֲכָמָיו , …and his [Haman’s] wise men said to him… (6:13).
2) בִּינָה, Binah (“understanding”) appears nowhere at all anywhere in the Megillah.
3) דַּעַת, Da’at (“knowledge”) appears three times: ...מָרְדֳּכַי מִתְהַלֵּךְ...לָדַעַת אֶת שְׁלוֹם אֶסְתֵּר, Mordechai would go…to know how Esther was doing… (2:11); מַדּוּעַ אַתָּה עוֹבֵר אֵת מִצְוַת הַמֶּלֶךְ, Why do you transgress the king’s command? (3:3); and וַתִּקְרָא אֶסְתֵּר לַהֲתָךְ...וַתְּצַוֵּהוּ עַל מָרְדֳּכָי לָדַעַת מַה זֶּה וְעַל מַה זֶּה And Esther called to Hatach...and commanded him to go to Mordechai to know what this was all about (4:5).
4) חֶסֶד, Chesed (“loving-kindness”) appears twice: וַתִּשָּׂא חֶסֶד לְפָנָיו, and [Esther] obtained [Hegai’s] loving-kindness (2:9); and וַתִּשָּׂא חֵן וָחֶסֶד לְפָנָיו, and [Esther] obtained [Achashverosh’s] favour and loving-kindness (2:17).
5) גְּבוּרָה, Gevurah (“might”) appears once:וְכָל מַעֲשֵׂה תָקְפּוֹ וּגְבוּרָתוֹ, and all [Mordechai’s] acts of power and might (10:2).
6) תִּפְאֶרֶת, Tiferet (“splendour”) appears once: בְּהַרְאֹתוֹ אֶת עֹשֶׁר כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ וְאֶת יְקָר תִּפְאֶרֶת גְּדוּלָּתוֹ, …showing off the wealth of his glorious kingdom and the grandeur of the splendour of his greatness…(1:4).
7) נֶצַח, Netzach (“eternity”, “victory”) appears nowhere at all anywhere in the Megillah.
8) הוֹד, Hod (“grandeur”) appears nowhere at all anywhere in the Megillah (but see below).
9) יְסוֹד, Yesod (“foundation”) appears once: כִּי כֵן יִסַּד הַמֶּלֶךְ, for thus the king had decreed (1:8).
10) מַלְכוּת, Malkhut (“kingship”) appears dozens of times: the word מַלְכוּת itself occurs 26 times, and the various cognates of royalty such as הַמֶּלֶךְ, ha-melekh (“the king”), וַיַּמְלִיכֶהָ, va-yamlikheha (“and he crowned her”) and so forth occur no fewer than 240 times throughout the Megillah.

The events of the Book of Esther are the story of Israel in exile. Though God controls all, He is hidden, and it is only by studying events with the special insight of Torah that we discover Him; hence the name מְגִלַּת אֶסְתֵּר, Megillat Esther, connoting מְגַלֶּה הַסֵּתֶר, megalleh ha-seter (“revealing the hidden”).
In exile there can be חָכְמָה, chochmah (“wisdom”): our Sages state explicitly that “if one will tell you that there is wisdom among the nations – believe this” (Lamentations Rabbah 2:13). Wisdom abounds in exile, so we can find wisdom in the Megillah. The Zohar (Ra’ayah Meheimana, Volume 3, Parashat Pinchas 235b; Tikkunei ha-Zohar #69) explains that חָכְמָה connotes כֹּחַ מָה, koach mah (literally “the power of what”, meaning potentiality). Potentiality – latent wisdom waiting to be tapped – is the story of exile. But in exile there is no בִּינָה, Binah (“understanding”): the Jew in exile is so cut off from the Torah that he gropes in darkness, never really understanding the events that transpire around him. Thus it is wholly consistent that understanding is nowhere to be found anywhere in the Megillah.
Likewise, the Jew in exile can have דַּעַת, da’at (“knowledge”). Knowledge can be totally theoretical, having no practical implications at all – and this epitomises certain segments of galut Judaism.
And the Jew in exile relies on חֶסֶד, chesed (“loving-kindness”) for his very existence. In the best case, he relies on God’s loving-kindness, and in the worst case, on his host country’s loving-kindness. In Kabbalistic terms, chesed applies to unlimited loving-kindness, bestowed purely for its own sake, entirely unconnected to the merits (or lack of merits) of the recipient. This is all that sustains the Jew in exile.
It might appear that the Jew in exile has no גְּבוּרָה, gevurah (“might”); but this misses the meaning of gevurah. In Kabbalistic terms, gevurah refers to might with the connotations of the severity of strict justice, which restrains chesed. Rabbi Chayyim Vital (Italy and Syria, 1543-1620) explains “Gevurah does not allow the Light of Infinity to continue forever, but limits it to the amount in which it is necessary” (Etz Chayyim 18:5). Gevurah “limits” God’s attributes, so to speak, primarily the attribute of chesed. Hence gevurah is the principle that maintains exile as punishment, which prevents our return to Israel based on pure chesed. Thus gevurah is most definitely appropriate in the Megillat Esther, whose narrative is the story of exile.
And תִּפְאֶרֶת, tiferet (“splendour”) can exist even in exile: tiferet is the blend of chesed and gevurah, thus it is the force that maintains the nation of Israel alive, even while keeping them in exile.
But for the Jew in exile, there is no נֶצַח, netzach in either meaning – neither eternity nor victory. Exile by its very definition is temporary – everything will pass, nothing outside of the Land of Israel will remain forever; and the very existence of exile is by its nature the defeat and weakness of the Jewish nation. So it is wholly expected that the Megillah never once mentions netzach – neither eternity nor victory.
And in exile, there is no הוֹד, hod (“grandeur”): exile by its very nature degrades and defiles the Jew, and there can be no grandeur for the Jew who depends for his very survival on the nations of the world. But there is an oblique reference to grandeur in the very first sentence of the Megillah: Achashverosh ruled מֵהֹדּוּ וְעַד כּוּשׁ, me-Hodu ve-ad Cush, which literally means “from India to Ethiopia”. But this alludes to how Achashverosh and his empire degenerated: his reign began from Hodu, the grandeur, and finished off with Cush, the son of the accursed Ham (Genesis 9:22-24, 10:6), the father of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8) who was the first to rebel against God – Cush, intertwined with Mitzrayim (Egypt) and destined to fall with him (Ezekiel 30, Nahum 3:9-10, Psalms 68:32). This is the polar opposite of the Jew, who “starts with the disgrace and concludes with the glory” (Pesachim 10:4).
Netzach and hod are usually linked, ever since King David linked them in his final blessing to God, made famous by being included in the Morning Service: “David blessed Hashem in the eyes of the entire congregation, saying:…Yours, Hashem, are the greatness and the might and the splendour, and the netzach and the hod” (I Chronicles 29:10-11). The Zohar refers to netzach and hod as “two halves of a single body, akin to two twins” (Volume 3, Parashat Va-etchanan 263a). Yesod is the synthesis of netzach and hod: while neither can exist separately in exile, the synthesis, which is all that sustains the world, is essential in exile.
And finally we return to malkhut – the lowest of the ten sefirot, the sefirah by means of which the purpose of the Creation is actualized. This principle is epitomized by the events of Megillat Esther: the purpose of Creation is to aggrandize the Creator and His Name. Though the events recorded in the Megillah would have appeared to have been completely natural to anyone living through them, by the end God’s control becomes clear. Though there was no single unmistakable miracle (such as the Splitting of the Read Sea) in the Purim narrative, the sequence of events and their climax demonstrate how even the mightiest kings and the most powerful of empires are under the total control of God. This is the very essence of malkhut.
And this is the hidden Hand of God that the Megillat Esther comes to reveal.

Imagine the Power

B"H

Ronen Burgman argues about "European fury, and the possibility of our ties with Russia and China being severed" in case of an Israeli attack on Iran. He tells us that our collective memory is centered around the Shoa and that is why we will attack. There is truth in this but it is not the only truth and talking partial truth we know is a form of lying. There are at least two other aspects to this issue. The first is that the current Israeli elite would simply lose its power base should it allow Iran to go nuclear. If the average Israeli thought it is not safer for him to walk on Dizengoff St. in Tel Aviv than let’s say in Dohany St. in Budapest, he would not, not support but not tolerate a regime that chops 50% off from his income, mainly to organize his defense. This is one. Two, we are a few days from Purim and from reading the Meggilah in packed synagogues. Isn't something fundamental as this should remind us that our collective memory does not stop at the Shoa, that it goes a lot further back than Burgman suggests? From our multi-millennia history we know that we make it when we stick to our G-d given values and we lose it when we let Torah go. In modern times this implies that the IDF should stop glorifying itself. Please, start glorifying Hashem for His sake and for ours. Imagine the power!

- This is talkback # 7 on "The decisive factor"

21.2.10

Jews know how to survive

B"H

Jews know that the IDF as it is, led by Barak, is not a Jewish army. Israel, as it is, is the only State in the world, that uses its official army to destroy synagogues and to harass its Jews. Apart from some Arab States where Jewish residency is prohibited and selling property to Jews is punished by death, Israel is the only country that restricts Jewish residency. With these anti-Jewish policies solidly in place, Israel's ruling elite defies its raison d'etre, the protection of the Jews against the anti-Semitism of the nations. Implementing a building freeze policy on the Jews only in the Land of Israel, for example, is not only intrinsically racists and anti-Torah, it clearly shows the limits of the present secular State, a limit that will have to be removed if the Jews, as we do, want to survive.

- This is talkback # 5 on "Rabbi Ronsky's dismissal"

11.2.10

Who is Amit Raicher?

B"H

I tried to find out who this author is and googled her name, but the only three hits were referring to this article. So, I assume she is no great expert psychologist, more likely an unpublished extreme-feminist. The reason I wanted to know who she is, is because I think this piece is heavily unbalanced. Please don't take my word for it, I'm no expert on the subject either, so I might be way off. But I think Amit Raicher, whatever her background is, arrives to the wrong conclusion. Why? Because she starts with the wrong assumptions. First of all she assumes that under-aged girls do not have sexuality and two, she assumes that the relationships they entered to were against their will. Sure, they were manipulated, but it might very well be that these 1000 girls will grow up to be happy women who know who they are and why, precisely because of their early exposure to sexuality. It's not a secret that Judaism in general and religious society in particular encourage early marriage and more often than not it leads to happy and fulfilled lives. The many rabbis who officiate under-aged an unofficial marriage ceremonies are under tremendous and unreasonable pressure and in unreasonable fear, for them it is illegal to perform such functions, according to State law. These restrictions must be lifted and the subject bought under Torah Law: it might very well be that these 1000 girls will grow up to be women with an acute sense of privacy, with a need to protect themselves and their families against invasive and heavy-handed State intervention.

- This is talkback # 15 on "1,000 girls will never feel safe"

10.2.10

B"H - Kol Hakavod Yossi Margalit. G-d bless you

- This is talkback # 14 on "Soldier killed in West Bank knife attack"

Israel Is Anti-Jewish

B"H

Attaching mental health to political positions as you do is a slippery slope that may end up in Stalinist detention and torture in mental health institutions of opponents.

The Jewish people over their long history have seen many destructive forces and actions, what is worst this time around is that it is coming from the so called Jewish State, from the people who supposed to shield the Jews from such actions. As it stands, Israel at present is the only State, who's official army is involved in harassing its Jews and destroying synagogues. Does it not tell you something? Does these attacks on Jews not shout loud enough for you and for the rest of the Israelis to grasp that their State is anti-Jewish? What are you going to do about it? Nothing? You are giving the Jews the "crazy". We've heard this long enough and deep enough from the nations thank you very much!

- This is talkback # 4 on "Police: IDF convoy attacked in Yitzhar"

5.2.10

The day will come

B"H

The day in which there will be Amir roads and Amir hospitals and Amir centers and Amir squares and Amir libraries will come. Maybe not in ten years, maybe not in fifty years, but that day will come, it is on it's way, may it come now, in our times. Amen ve Amen.

- This is a censored talkback on "Yigal Amir: I'm not a security threat"

4.2.10

Secular galore

B"H

The delegitimacy of the entire Israeli legal establishment is caused by its very own extreme-left political orientation and its disregard for Jewish values and for Jewish Law.

- This is talkback # 2 on "The shoe demagogues"

3.2.10

I don't understand

B"H

I don't understand how law-enforcers and the Judiciary can still take themselves seriously in a country like Israel, where the Executive over-turns their efforts and decisions time and again, according to their political needs. A life sentence or any sentence of Arab criminals are proved to be meaningless and "for show" only: this terrorist Arab policeman will be out with this Shalit deal or with the next or as a good-will gesture, promoted by the US, to the "good” Holocaust-denier terrorist, Abbas.

- This is talkbach # 2 on "Settler's murderer gets life sentence"

1.2.10

Temo per la Comunità Ebraica di Roma

B"H

Temo per la Comunità Ebraica di Roma.

Sembra che i cosiddetti rabbini lì riescano a farla franca e passare la responsabilità per l'enorme Chilul Hashem (dissacrazione del Nome di D-o), che loro hanno voluto ed in cui loro hanno partecipato, su ogni membro di quella comunità, compromettendo le posizioni dei membri, in questo mondo e nel Mondo che Verrà.

Sembra che gli ebrei romani odierni non si rendano conto della gravità della situazione in cui si trovano a loro malgrado, che siano ammutoliti dallo shock e che gli manca la forza persino per distinguere fra quello che è permesso a loro e quello che non è permesso: abbracciare o assistere all’abbraccio, anche se passivamente, di idoli e di adoratori di idoli, nel luogo di culto proprio, pubblicamente, in quanto ebrei, nei loro migliori vestiti, di fronte alle telecamere di tutte le nazioni - oi, non è davvero uno spettacolo bello!

Molti ebrei nella nostra storia hanno preferito di morire piuttosto di tradire la Torah e molti sono stati crudelmente assassinati perché hanno rifiutato di compiere un gesto simile.

Temo per la Comunità Ebraica di Roma.

Sembra che le spinte per il quieto vivere che si nasconde nell’accettare persino i più aberranti abusi dei poteri costituiti, siano più forti rispetto alla Verità, che così rischia di rimanere rinchiusa nei nostri libri sacri.

Ebrei romani, liberate la Verità del nostro D-o geloso! Mandate a casa questi "rabbini"*. Fatelo con convinzione e fatelo adesso, senza ulteriore perdita di tempo! Una comunità come la vostra, molto assimilata, non può essere guidata da "rabbini" politicanti. Serve una prestigiosa mano sicura, per ricondurre gli ebrei nella halacha.

*La base legale di tale azione è nel Sulkhan Arukh, Yoreh Deah, 242/11 e 243/3.

Ariel Ben Yochanan
Israele

Picture gets distorted

B"H

Picture gets distorted when only one side has "rules of engagement" and the other fires kassams into Sderot.

- This is talkback # 3 on "Senior officers punished over Gaza op"

New Director

B"H

Directors come and go, only One Director stays and at the end of the day, also at the begining of the day, Jews will have to work with that Director, on His terms, on His time-scale.

- This is talkback # 1 on "New Yesha Council director: I think beyond Netanyahu"