Sunday, February 11, 2007

Megillah 2a: Megillah, Amalek and Mikreh

The Mishnah commences with the words Megillah nikraas, the Megillah is read. There is an amazing allusion in these words to the entire story of Purim and the battle that the Jewish People fight with Amalek through history. Regarding Amalek it is said (Devarim 25:18), asher korcha baderech, that he happened upon you on the way. Rashi offers various interpretations for the word korcha, and one of the interpretations is that korcha means happenstance. This is meant to be understood that Amalek conducts themselves according to the laws of nature. Miracles do not exist in the lexicon of the Amalekites. Thus, although all the nations of the world were in awe after witnessing the splitting of the Sea, Amalek had no compunctions about attacking the Jewish People. Our Mishnah uses the word nikraas, which is similar to the mikreh. We read the Megillah, which according to the Medrash, does not contain the Name of HaShem, so that we can avoid the pitfalls of Amalek’s behavior. We do not believe in coincidence, chance and happenstance. When the Name of HaShem is not visible, we must be megaleh, i.e. delve further, so that we can reaffirm our belief that everything is Divine providence. Our Sages alluded to this idea by using the word nikraas, as we find many times that a word can have a definition and the same word will also contain the exact opposite of the definition. This is known as davar vihipucho. Thus, although the simple definition of the word nikraas is to read, we have delved further and revealed that this word also alludes to the essence of Amalek, which is happenstance, and this is the antithesis of our belief that everything that occurs in life is Divine Providence. This idea will be elaborated on later, regarding the honor that Haman accorded to Mordechai. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Avromi said...

Only Connect "Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt, that he happened upon you upon the way, and he struck those of you who were hindmost...." (25:18)

The head and the heart are like two different people. A concept can be as clear as daylight to the mind, but if we don't send it down the `information super-highway' to the heart, it's as though two different people are inhabiting the same body.

Amalek is the arch-enemy of the Jewish People. He is a master of ambush. He lies in wait along the highway between the head and the heart. He tries to kidnap the idea on the way to its destination -- to the place where it will be crystallized into conviction -- the heart.

Why does the Torah have to tell us here "that he happened upon you upon the way"? Upon which `way'? The way from the head to the heart. Intellect that is devoid of emotional conviction leads to cynicism and hedonism. Amalek's two great protégés.

As E.M. Forster once put it: "Only connect the prose and the passion...." Only connect the head and the heart, and Man will reach his true vocation, offering his mind on the altar of the heart to his Maker.

(Heard from Rabbi Yehoshua Bertram in name of Rabbi Yosef Tzeinvort, shlita)