Monday, February 12, 2007
Megillah 2a: Mordechai and Haman: Mikreh and Yekar
I mentioned that I would continue with the theme of mikreh, so here it is. Amalek reflects mikreh, happenstance. It is said (Esther 4:7) vayegeid lo Mordechai eis kol asher karahu, and Mordechai told him (Hasach) of all that had happened. The Medrash in Esther Rabbah 8:6 states that Mordechai informed Hasach that Haman was a descendant of Amalek of whom it is said asher korcha baderech, that he happened upon you on the way. Thus, Mordechai and the Jewish People are battling a war against Amalek who reflects mikreh, happenstance. When do we know that Mordechai and the Jewish People will be victorious? This occurs when Haman is forced to lead Mordechai through the streets, declaring, (Esther 6:11) kacha yaiaseh laish asher hamelech chafeitz bikaro, “this is what shall be done for the man whom the king desires to honor.” The word for honor here is yekar, which is also an allusion to Tefillin, as the Gemara later on (16b) expounds on the verse that states: (Esther 8:16) layehudim haysa orah visimcha visasson vikar, the Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor, and yekar, glory, is Tefillin. Thus, Amalek and Haman are employing mikreh in their battle against the Jewish People and they are vanquished by yekar. We find that the word yekar can denote mikreh, as is evidenced when HaShem appears to Balaam. It is said (Bamidbar 23:16) vayikar Elokim el Balaam, and HaShem happened upon Balaam, and Rashi writes that the word vikar means temporary, degrading, defiled. Yet, yekar is also reflected in holiness regarding Tefillin, which demonstrate the emunah, faith, that the Jewish People have in HaShem. This is evidenced from the passage in Hoshanos that states yekarcha imam maavirim, they crossed over with Your glory, and the Otzar HaTefillos quotes the Maharil Diskin who quotes a Medrash that states that the Jewish People crossed the Sea wearing Tefillin. (This is despite the fact that the day they crossed the Sea was Shevii Shel Pesach, and normally it is forbidden to wear Tefillin on Yom Tov). The explanation of this Medrash is that Tefillin reflect emunah, and this is the glory of the Jewish People. Furthermore, when Moshe requests that HaShem show him all His glory, it is said (Shemos 33:23) that HaShem only allows Moshe to view His back, and the Gemara (Brachos 7a) states that HaShem showed Moshe the back of His Tefillin. This is explained to mean that HaShem was showing Moshe that man cannot see the future. Rather, he can only understand events in hindsight. Thus, one must have emunah, faith, that everything that HaShem does is for our good. It is specifically for this reason that Moshe kept his hands raised against Amalek, as it said, (Shemos 17:12) vayehi yadav emunah ad bo hashemesh, and he remained with his hands in faithful prayer until sunset. When we are strong in emunah, revealing the glory of the Jewish People, we will succeed in vanquishing the mikreh of Amalek and his cohorts.