Friday, March 27, 2009

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Vayikra 5769

שבת טעם החיים פרשת ויקרא תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Vayikra 5769
Performing HaShem’s will with our will
This week’s parashah discusses the karbanos, sacrifices that the Jewish People were required to bring when the Mishkan and the Bais HaMikdash were in existence. The essence of a sacrifice is the ratzon, the will that one has when offering the sacrifice to HaShem. It is said (Vayikra 1:3) im olah karbano min habakar zachar tamim yakrivenu el Pesach ohel moed yakriv oso lirztono lifnei HaShem, if one’s offering is a burnt-offering from the cattle, he shall offer an unblemished male; he shall bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, voluntarily, before HaShem. Rashi cites the Gemara that states that the word lirztono teaches us that if one does not wish to offer the obligatory sacrifice, he is beaten until he declares that he wants to bring the offering.
HaShem’s speech is His will
Let us understand what this means When the Jewish People prepared to receive the Torah at Sinai, they declared naaseh vinishma, we will do and we will listen. Nonetheless, the Gemara (Shabbos 88a) states that HaShem held the mountain over their heads and proclaimed, “accept the Torah and if not, you will be buried here.” It appears that despite the Jewish People’s willingness to accept the Torah, it was still necessary for them to be coerced to accept the Torah. There are various explanation offered to resolve this paradox (See Tosfos Ibid; Maharal Tiferes Yisroel §32). Perhaps the idea that is expressed in the Gemara can be explained with the following statement. The Mishna in Avos (5:1) states that the world was created with ten utterances. Although HaShem could have created the world with one utterance, he chose to create the world with ten utterances so that the wicked people, who destroy the world that was created with ten utterances, could be punished, and the righteous, who sustain the world that was created with ten utterances, could be rewarded. The Ramban writes that when it is said that HaShem uttered that something should come into existence, it means that Hashem willed that something should exist. Thus, HaShem’s utterance was, so to speak, His will.
Ten utterances are revealed in Ten Commandments
Hashem created the world for the sake of the Jewish People and for the purpose of having the Jewish People study the Torah. Thus, HaShem’s will was for the Jewish People to study His Torah. Nonetheless HaShem uttered ten utterances regarding creation, and in a similar vein, writes the Sfas Emes, Hashem uttered Ten Commandments at Sinai. The Sfas Emes explains that the ten utterances of creation were concealed, whereas the Ten Commandments were the revelation of those ten utterances. The Jewish People, by declaring “we will do and we will listen,” were revealing the ten utterances so creation. Yet, HaShem sought to demonstrate that their willingness to accept the Torah was only a mirror of HaShem’s will in this world. Thus, when we refer to someone’s will, we are ultimately tracing that will to what HaShem’s will is for the world. A person who is required to offer a sacrifice must acknowledge that he is performing HaShem’s will. One who finds it difficult to express this recognition is coerced, similar to the raising of the mountain, to express this acknowledgment of HaShem’s will. In truth, the offering of a sacrifice is merely a microcosm of a person’s life, where if one does not acknowledge HaShem’s will voluntary, HaShem will, heaven forbid, coerce the person to accept His will in ways not to the person’s liking.
The Shabbos connection
This concept of accepting HaShem’s will is manifest on Shabbos, where we constantly supplicate HaShem to be appeased with our Shabbos observance. The requirement that we observe Shabbos was not given to us a choice, yet we still make choices regarding our level of observance and how much time we spend preparing for Shabbos. It should be HaShem’s will that we acknowledge His will and perform His will, and that we observe Shabbos with great joy and love for HaShem.
Shabbos Story
Now I can forgive you
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: In the city of Bnei Brak there are many Bar Mitzvah celebrations every Shabbos. It became very difficult for Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievski, the elder sage known to world Jewry as the Steipler Gaon to attend every Bar Mitzvah. In fact, he was old and weak and hardly had the strength to go to shul. One week, a Bar Mitzvah boy was honored with the maftir. Immediately after the davening, the Steipler Gaon was standing there in line, waiting to wish him Mazal Tov.
The Steipler Gaon bent down and began conversing in earnest with the neophyte member of the adult Jewish community. It seemed to the hushed crowd that this was much more than a perfunctory Mazel Tov wish.
The boy paled as he shook his head several times in amazement. "Of course, Rebbe!" he exclaimed. "Of course! There is no question. I feel terrible that the Rebbe felt he had to discuss this with me!"
The Steipler thanked the young boy, wished him Mazel Tov again, blessed him, and left the shul.
The entire congregation was shocked. What could the Steipler have wanted?
"Let me explain," began the boy. "Six years ago I was davening in this shul with a very large siddur (prayer book). The Steipler approached me and chided me for learning Gemara in the middle of the Tefillah. I showed him that it was a Siddur and that I actually was davening. He apologized and left.
Today the Steipler came to my Bar Mitzvah and reminded me of the story. He explained to me that even though he apologized for his mistaken reprimand six years ago, it was not enough. Since, at the time, I was a child under Bar Mitzvah, I did not have the frame of mind to truly forgive him. Even if I did forgive him, it had no halachic validity. The Steipler found out when my birthday was and waited for six years until my Bar Mitzvah. Today, I am halachically old enough to forgive him, and so, he came back today to ask my forgiveness!” [Reprinted with permission from]

Rav Shlomo Heiman Speaks To A Packed House
Rav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l, one of the first Roshei Mesivta in Torah Vodaas, was known for the excitement and enthusiasm with which he gave over his shiurim. When he gave over his shiur he would tremble, and sweat would appear on his glowing face. More than once, Rav Shlomo would faint at the conclusion of his shiur, which he would give over to his last ounce of strength.
In 1939, on a stormy and snowy day, only four talmidim arrived at the yeshivah. In a booming voice R’ Shlomo gave over his shiur as if hundreds of talmidim were crowded in the room listening. When the talmidim saw that he was utilizing all his strength to give over the shiur, they tried to stop him. “Rebbe, there’s only four of us here.”
Reb Shlomo retorted, “You think that I am only giving over the shiur to the four of you. You should know that my words are being given over to hundreds of talmidim. You, your future talmidim, and to their talmidim after them! (Chaim Sheyash Bahem) [Reprinted with permission from]

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
Parashas Vayikra 5769
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Beis Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, an hour before Minchah.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
For sponsorships please call

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Please send email to
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5769

שבת טעם החיים פרשת ויקהל-פקודי-החדש תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5769
Returning to the level of Divine Presence of the Patriarchs on our tents
This week’s parashah discusses the actual construction of the Mishkan and we also read Parashas HaChodesh, which discusses the Exodus from Egypt. The Ramban writes in his introduction to the Book of Shemos that this Book is called Sefer HaGeulah, the Book of Redemption, because of the Exodus from Egypt. Furthermore, the Jewish People received the Torah and then built the Mishkan, which allowed them to return to the level of the Divine Presence that rested on the tents of their forefathers. What is the meaning of returning to the level of the Divine Presence that rested on the tents of the forefathers?
The Jewish People had a few merits which would allow them to be redeemed from Egypt
One of the most intriguing aspects of the redemption from Egypt and of receiving the Torah was that the Jewish People were not prepared for either of these events. The Arizal writes that had the Jewish People descended to the forty-ninth level of impurity, and had HaShem not delivered the Jewish People at the last moment, they would never have ascended from the depths of impurity. This idea is difficult to understand, as this implies that the Jewish People themselves did not have sufficient merits with which to leave Egypt. Yet, we know that when Moshe asked HaShem in what merit the Jewish People would leave Egypt, HaShem told Moshe that in the merit of receiving the Torah, the Jewish People would leave Egypt. Furthermore, the Medrash (see Bamidbar Rabbah 13:19) states that in the merit of not changing their names, language and clothing, the Jewish People left Egypt. Additionally, the Gemara (Sota 11b) states that in the merit of the righteous women the Jewish People left Egypt. This being the case, how is it possible that the Jewish people almost reached a point of no return and HaShem had to redeem them from Egypt with apparently no merits in their favor?
One must view himself as if he himself was redeemed from Egypt
In order to understand what it means that the Jewish People had almost reached the point of no return, we have to understand another statement that we recite in the Hagadah Shel Pesach. On Pesach night we recite the words that in every generation one must view himself as if he himself had just exited from Egypt. How can one view himself as if he had left Egypt if he never was exiled to Egypt? While we know that our souls were all present at the receiving of the Torah, and it follows that all our souls were in Egypt, we must also understand this recital in a practical sense. Is it possible for a person to experience having left Egypt when he does not feel like he was there in the first place?
Only HaShem can assist a person in overcoming the blandishments of his Evil Inclination
The answer to these questions is that it is well known that the Zohar compares the Egyptian exile to the power that the Evil Inclination has over a person. The Sefarim write that the word Mitzrayim, Egypt, is an acrostic for the words meitzar yam, the border of the Sea. In a deeper sense, however, this means that the Jewish People were surrounded by the sea of impurity which is the fiftieth level of contamination. Thus, besides the physical exile that the Jewish People were forced to endure in Egypt, they were also subject to the blandishments of the Evil Inclination. The same is true for us in our lives. While we may not always be cognitive of this, the fact is that the Evil Inclination is a constant presence in our lives, and it seeks to wreak havoc on our spiritual equilibrium. The Gemara (Kiddushin 30a) states that if not for the fact that HaShem aids a person in his struggles against the Evil Inclination, a person would not be able to overcome the enticement of the Evil Inclination alone. Thus, despite the many merits one may have, it is insufficient in his struggles with the Evil Inclination. Only Hashem can allow a person to be victorious over his Evil Inclination.
The merits of the Jewish People were insufficient for them to be redeemed from Egypt and the clutches of the Evil Inclination
We can now understand why, despite having the merit of certain virtues and the merit of the righteous women, the Jewish People were in need of something that would catapult them out of the clutches of the Evil Inclination. This extra push, so to speak, was the deliverance that HaShem provided for them. This idea also helps us gain a better perspective of what we should be feeling when we contemplate the Egyptian exile and the redemption. We are constantly struggling with the Evil Inclination and it is only HaShem’s compassion that enables us to overcome this struggle.
The Shabbos Connection
The Medrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:1) states regarding the mitzvah of Parah Adumah that it said (Iyov 14:4) mi yitein tahor mitamei lo echod, who can produce purity from impurity? No one! This is akin to Avraham who came from Terach, Chizkiahu from Achaz, Yoshiyahu from Amon, Mordechai from Shimi, the Jewish People from the gentiles, and the World to Come from this world. The Sfas Emes (Parah 5647) writes that HaShem made it that one attains purity by being tested and forged in the crucible of this world. It was for this reason that the Jewish People had to endure the Egyptian exile and they were submerged in the forty-ninth level of impurity, until they merited being redeemed and becoming pure. This idea is manifest in the Jewish People residing amongst the gentiles, and in the Jewish people sojourning in this world in order to attain their share in the World to Come. Similarly, writes the Sfas Emes, every Shabbos is a commemoration to the exodus from Egypt, and every week we merit being redeemed from the gates of impurity and ascending towards the gates of purity. Based on the words of the Sfas Emes, we can now better understand why building the Mishkan was the culmination of the redemption process. Our Patriarchs lived a life of complete purity, and despite their encounters with foreign ideas and people who were the antithesis of their beliefs, they remained pure at all times. After enduring the Egyptian exile, the Jewish People received the Torah, which is the epitome of priority in this world. To attain that purity HaShem instructed them to build a Mishkan, which would allow them to receive the Divine Presence. Every week, with the arrival of Shabbos, we are returning to that level of Divine Presence upon our tents, as we light candles, eat challah, and bask in the Divine Presence, which are all reminiscent of the level of purity and holiness that our Patriarchs attained. HaShem should allow us to enter the upcoming month of Nissan with great joy and purity, and we should witness the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Mah Yedidus
Composed by an unknown author named Menachem
Shabbos food is unique in fragrance and taste
Meierev mazminim kol minei matamim, from Shabbos Eve they prepare all manner of delicacies. Regarding the manna in the Wilderness it is said (Shemos 16:5) vihayah bayom hashishi viheichinu eis asher yaviu vihayah mishneh al asher yilkitu yom yom, and it shall be that on the sixth day when they prepare what they will bring, it will be double what they pick every day. Rashi (Ibid verse 22) cites the Medrash that states that the word mishneh, literally translated as double, can also mean that the manna was mishunah lishvach bireicho vitaamo, unique for praise in its fragrance and taste. Thus, we can interpret the passage here to mean that on Shabbos Eve, we prepare all the delicacies, which we know will be unique for praise in their fragrance and in their taste.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Unity in praising HaShem
Baruch kevod HaShem mimekomo, blessed is the glory of HaShem from His place. In the Kedusha that we recite in Shabbos Mussaf, we recite the words ayei mekom kevodo, where is the place of His glory? If the angels themselves ask regarding the location of HaShem’s glory, how is it that we can recite the words “blessed is the glory of HaShem from His place?” Perhaps the answer to this question is contained in an understanding of the word makom that is used throughout Scripture. When HaShem instructed Avraham to bring his son Yitzchak as an offering, it is said (Bereishis 22:4) bayom hashlishi vayisa Avraham es einav vayar es hamakom meirachok, on the third day, Avraham raised his eyes and perceived the place from afar. Rashi writes that Avraham was able to perceive “the place” because he saw a cloud hovering above the mountains, whereas his two attendants were not able to perceive the cloud. We find further that it is said (Devarim 17:8) ki yipalei mimcho davar lamishpat bein dam lidam uvein din lidin uvein nega lanega divrei rivos bishorecha vikamta vialisa el hamakom asher yivchar HaShem Elokecha bo, if a matter of judgment is hidden from you, between blood and blood, between verdict and verdict, between plague and plague, matters of dispute in your cities – you shall rise up and ascend to the place that HaShem, your G-d, shall choose. In this instance too we see that when a meter is hidden from a person, he must ascend to “the place.” The “place” implies a sense of clarity and perception. Thus, we pose the query, “where is the place of His glory?” and we also declare, “blessed is the glory of HaShem from His place,” as this declaration demonstrates that we are attempting to ascend spiritually and to perceive more of HaShem’s Presence in our lives.

Shabbos Story
Not the way you want it to happen
A poor man once came to the renowned tzaddik, the Strikover Rebbe, who had a reputation for performing the most wondrous and amazing miracles. The man’s daughter had already been engaged twice, but when her father had been unable to provide the agreed- upon nadon (dowry), the engagements had been broken. Now she had become engaged once again, and her father desperately wanted this marriage to go through.
The Rebbe told him to go home, and buy a lottery ticket - the Ribbono Shel Olam would surely help him. The poor man optimistically returned home, and bought a ticket, but the ticket did not win. Although the father somehow managed to keep the shidduch (engagement) afloat and marry his daughter off, the Strikover Rebbe was so shaken by his “failure” the he refused to accept any more petitioners for his blessings. A Rebbe’s power, he argued, is derived from the dictum of Chazal, our Sages (see Taanis 23a) that Hashem fulfills the will of a tzaddik. Obviously, he was not a tzaddik!
Soon afterwards, Reb Simcha Bunim of Pshischa came to Strikov to visit the Rebbe. He was disturbed that the Rebbe had ceased accepting the hundreds of petitioners who desperately sought his blessings over the apparent failure of one blessing.
“Strikover Rebbe,” said Reb Simcha Bunim, “tell me: How does one reconcile that which we are taught, ‘Hashem fulfils the will of a tzaddik’ with the passuk in Iyov (Job 9:12), ‘Who can tell Him what to do!?’ The explanation, however, is as follows: Hashem will fulfill the Tzaddik’s will. But even the tzaddik has no right to dictate how Hashem will do it. Your beracha (blessing) was fulfilled. The marriage went off as planned - just not the way you thought it would happen!” The Rebbe saw the wisdom in his words, and resumed accepting Chassidim.

Shabbos in Navi
Shmuel II Chapter 3

HaShem give us Shabbos to overcome the Evil Inclination

In this chapter we learn how Ish Boshes accused Avner ben Ner of sinning with the concubine of Shaul, so Avner defected to the camp of Dovid. Avner made a treaty with Dovid, pledging allegiance to Dovid. When Avner left Dovid, Yoav came to Dovid and informed Dovid that Avner was merely seeking to entice Dovid and to learn about his comings and goings. Yoav then tricked Avner and killed him as revenge for Avner having killed Asahel, the brother of Yoav. Dovid heard about this murder and cursed Yoav, and Dovid then eulogized Avner. Dovid did not wish to punish Yoav at that point, because he claimed that the sons of Tzeruyah were more powerful than him. We mentioned above that the Gemar (Kiddushin 30a) states that the Evil Inclination is very powerful, and without HaShem’s help, one would not be able to overcome the blandishments of the Evil Inclination. The incident where Yoav killed Avner and Dovid not retaliate reflects this idea. Although Yoav was certainly a great man, Dovid had the right to kill him because he was the king. Nonetheless, Dovid felt powerless at that time to punish Yoav with death. Similarly, throughout the week we may feel an urge to subdue once and for all the forces of evil, but it can prove difficult, if not impossible. Thus, we wait for the arrival of the Holy Shabbos, when all harsh judgments depart, and HaShem and His Heavenly entourage, so to speak, subdue all the forces of evil.

Shabbos in Agadah

Hashem gives the Jewish People the souls of the righteous for Shabbos

It is said (Shemos 16:29) riu ki HaShem nasan lachem haShabbos al kein hu nosein lachem bayom hashishi lechem yomayim, see that HaShem has given you the Shabbos; that is why He gives you on the sixth day a two-day portion of bread. The Tiferes Shlomo (Ibid) interprets this verse homiletically to mean that Shabbos alludes to the soul of the Tzaddik, and the Gemara (Shabbos 10a) states that HaShem declares, “I have a precious gift in My treasure house and it is called Shabbos.” Yosef symbolizes Tosefes Shabbos and Moshe symbols the Shabbos. Thus, Moshe was telling the Jewish People that HaShem has given you a precious gift, which is the soul of the tzaddik, and this is referred to as Shabbos. Therefore HaShem is giving you on the sixth day a two-day portion of bread, which is reflected in Yosef, as the word lechem, bread, when multiplied by two, equals in gematria the name Tosefes. It is the idea of Yosef that HaShem is giving you as preparation for Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

Insulating a pot on the blech

Although nowadays it is not common to store food in materials such as salt, peat, lime, sand, wet cotton, grass or straw, there are several common application regarding this prohibition. A pot that one wrapped in a towel and left on the blech or hot plate is deemed to be insulated in a heat-intensifying material as the towel combines with the heat below to allow the temperature of the pot to rise. Thus, one is prohibited from wrapping completely a pot left on the blech or hot plate, even if this was done on Erev Shabbos.

Shabbos Challenge Question

Last week we posed the question: why do we mention in the first Perek of Kabbalas Shabbos that the Jewish People are an errant-hearted people that do not know HaShem’s ways? The Pinei Menachem writes that one must prepare for Shabbos. To attain true spiritual perceptions on Shabbos, one must have good character. On Shabbos one can attain the levels of nefesh, ruach, and neshamah. It is for this reason that prior to Shabbos we recite the chapter in Tehillim (107:4) where it is said tau vamidbar bishimon darech, they wandered in the wilderness, in the desolation of the path. Furthermore, we recite the words (Ibid 95:10) arbaim shanah akut bidor vaomar am toei levav heim viheim lo yadu derachai, for forty years I was angry with the generation; then I said, “An errant-hearted people are they, and they know not My ways.” It is said (Mishlei 21:2) kol derech ish yashar bieinav visochein libos HaShem, a man’s every way is upright in his eyes; but HaShem resides inside his heart. Shabbos is a propitious time for one to straighten the paths, and to arrive at a state where his mind is at ease and he is accountable for his actions.

This week’s question is: The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:8) states that Shabbos complained to HaShem that every day has a mate and only Shabbos does not have a mate. Hashem responded that the Jewish People will be your mate. The question is, why did Shabbos not have a mate? Shabbos could have been the mate of the sixth day, similar to the fact that the fifth day was deemed to be the mate of the sixth day. If you have a possible answer, please email me at and your answer will be posted in next week’s edition of Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
Parashas Vayakhel-Pekudei-HaChodesh 5769
Is sponsored by Mrs. Eileen Borsand in memory of
Chaim Lazar ben Meir HaKohen ob”m.
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Beis Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, an hour before Minchah.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos and a Gut Chodesh.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
For sponsorships please call

To subscribe weekly by email
please send email to
View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
and other Divrei Torah on

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Ki Sisa-Parah 5769

שבת טעם החיים פרשת כי תשא- פרה תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Ki Sisa-Parah 5769
Listening and doing even if we do not understand
This week’s parasha is Ki Sisa, and we also read Parashas Parah, where the Torah discusses the laws of one who became impure through corpse tumah is purified by having the ashes of the Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer, sprinkled on him. It is fascinating that according to Rabbi Moshe HaDarshan, the Parah Adumah was used as atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. One must wonder why is it that if someone contracts corpse tumah, his purification is an atonement of the sin of the Golden Calf. Furthermore, it is difficult to understand how there can be a reason offered for the use of the Parah Adumah when the Torah explicitly states that Parah Adumah is a chok, which means that its reason is unknown to man.
Listening and then performing a mitzvah that is a chok
What does it mean that a mitzvah is a chok? The simple understanding is that one must perform the mitzvah and not seek to rationalize why he is performing the mitzvah. Thus, one is sprinkled with ashes of the Parah Adumah and he does not understand how ashes purify him from corpse tumah Alternatively, the chok aspect of the Parah Adumah is that it purifies one who is impure and defiles one who is pure. However, there is also a deeper understanding of a chok. One may not understand the reason for a chok, but he listens to the commandment and performs it anyway. Thus, a chok is not merely that one performs the mitzvah without understanding the rationale. Rather, even though there is no rationale, he can listen to the chok and then perform it. While there may be a very fine line between listening and performing, regarding the accepting of the Torah we find a vast difference between the two. The Zohar states that when the Jewish People sinned by worshipping the Golden Calf, they forfeited naaseh, we will do, but were told to retain nishmah, we will hear. If one will not do, what is the benefit of hearing?
Parah Adumah rectifies the nishmah
The Pinei Menachem writes that the Zohar states that when the Jewish People sinned by worshipping the Golden Calf, they defiled their ears to the point that they were incapable of hearing words of Torah. This, asks the Pinei Menachem, is difficult to understand, as the Zohar itself states that they had still retained the listening aspect even after the sin? The Pinei Menachem answers this question by saying that although the Jewish People retained the aspect of listening, even this was tainted, and through the mitzvah of Parah, which serves as an atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, they can rectify the nishmah aspect like it was prior to the sin.
Listening rectifies the sin of the Golden Calf
We can suggest that this is the meaning of why when one is sprinkled with the ashes of the Parah Adumah, it serves as atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. One who listens to the mitzvah of Parah Adumah and subsequently performs its ritual is demonstrating that he has rectified the hearing that was tainted with the sin of the Golden Calf. We can now understand why Rabbi Moshe HaDarshan offers a reason for the performance of the Parah Adumah, despite the fact that the Medrash states that its performance is a chok. The explanation for this is because the rectification of the sin of the Golden Calf is through listening, and when one listens and performs the mitzvah of Parah Adumah, he has rectified the sin of the Golden Calf.
The Shabbos Connection
The Zohar states that on Shabbos, Moshe Rabbeinu returns the two crowns of naaseh, we will do, and nishmah, we will listen, to the Jewish People. Thus, we can suggest that on Shabbos, not only do we gain back the nishmah, which is the aspect of listening, but we even earn the naaseh, the aspect of “we will do.” In a sense, Shabbos is even higher than Parah Adumah, as Parah Adumah rectifies the nishmah, and on Shabbos both the naaseh and nishmah are rectified. Hashem should allow us to listen to His commandments and perform them, and in the merit of our listening and performance, we should witness the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days, with the cessation of death and the Resurrection of the Dead.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Mah Yedidus
Composed by an unknown author named Menachem
Fowl, quail and fish on Shabbos
Lihisaneig bisaanugim barburim uselav vidagim, to indulge in delights fatted fowl, quail and fish. It is noteworthy that the first letters of the words taanugim, barburim, and slav spell out the word Shabbos, as these foods are the essence of the physical delights that we indulge in on Shabbos.
Shabbos in Tefillah
Unity in praising HaShem
Vihaofanim vichayos hakodesh biraash gadol misnasim liumas seraphim liumasam mishabichim viomrim, then the Ofanim and the holy Chayos, with great noise raise themselves towards the Seraphim. Facing them they give praise saying. Here we see how the various angels raise themselves up towards each other and unify in their praise of HaShem. We should also realize that no matter what our background is, all Jews are unified in their praise of HaShem.

Shabbos Story
Parshas Vayechi: Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin Curses The Hospital
The famous Maggid of Yerushalayim Rav Bentzion Yadler retold the story of a group of Askanim who came to Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin to tell him that they purchased a plot of land to build a hospital outside of the old city of Yerushalayim near Shaar Shechem. Rav Yehoshua Leib said to them, “Yehi Ratzon Shelo Tishreh Shechinah Aleha,” it should be Hashem’s will that the Shechinah will not reside there. The group was baffled. Why would Rav Yehoshua Leib curse their holy venture?Then they realized the slyly disguised bracha in Rav Yehoshua Leib’s words. The passuk says (Vayechi 47:31) that after Yosef swore to bury Yaakov in Eretz Yisroel, Yaakov turned to the head of the bed and bowed. Rashi explains that from here the Gemara (Shabbos 12b) learns that the Shechinah rests above the head of a sick person's bed. Rav Yehoshua Leib gave them a bracha that their hospital should not have many sick people in it and all of Am Yisroel should be blessed with good health! (Gilyon Pninim Al HaParsha)
Rav Zemele Volozhin Follows The Doctors Orders
Rav Zemele Volozhin the beloved talmid of the Vilna Gaon and the brother of Rav Chaim Volozhin once went with another Rov to the house of a very poor person. The host was in middle of eating and begged them to sit down and join him. Rav Zemele knew that the host did not have enough food for them so he refused claiming the doctor told him he cannot eat.
When they left the Rov that accompanied him, asked him if it is true that he is sick. He said no he is not. “Then how could you lie? What happened to Midvar Sheker Tirchok?”He answered that the great doctor, the Rambam wrote that it is assur to eat from a meal where there is not enough food for the host. He indeed was just following the doctor’s orders. [Reprinted with permission from]

Shabbos in Navi
Shmuel II Chapter 2

On Shabbos we put aside our differences and show each other love

In this chapter we learn how Dovid was declared ruler over the people of Yehudah while Avner ben Ner made Ish Boshes, son of Shaul, the ruler over Yisroel. Avner and Yoav staged a dual between their men and many of the men died as the fighting got out offhand and culminated in tragedy. Asahel the son of Tzeruyah then chased after Avner and Avner killed Asahel. It is always troubling to read in Tanach how Jews killed each other. While it is difficult to understand how great leaders of the Jewish People reflected hatred towards each other, to the point of allowing their hatred to lead to bloodshed, we must remember that Shabbos is a day of peace. Thus, we should strive to sanctify this Holy Day and allow it to be free of strife and we should only show love towards our fellow Jews.

Shabbos in Agadah

Shabbos elevates everything to a higher place

The Pinei Menachem wriets that on Shabbso every Jew has his place, as it is said (Shemos 16:29) al yeiztei ish mimkomo bayom hashevii, let no man leave his place on the seventh day. Shabbos, writes the Pinei Menachem, elevates everything to a higher place. Following the sin of the Golden Calf, it is said (Ibid 33:14) panai yeileichu vahnichosi lach, He said, “My Presence will go and provide you rest.” This rest alludes to Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

Insulating with an item that increases heat

There are materials that can increase the heat of the item that they enclose. These materials, which include salt, peat, lime, sand, wet cotton, grass or straw, are referred to as davar hamosif hevel, items that increase heat. Without exception, one is prohibited to insulate any container, even a kli sheini, in such a material, and this is prohibited even Erev Shabbos

Shabbos Challenge Question

Last week we posed the question: why do we ask HaShem to forgive our sins specifically on Motzai Shabbos? The Pinei Menachem writes that the Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that one who observes Shabbos properly is granted atonement for all of his sins. On Shabbos we do not recite Viduy, confession, so for this reason we substitute our confession with our request for atonement on Motzai Shabbos.

This week’s question is: why do we mention in the first Perk of Kabbalas Shabbos that the Jewish People are an errant-hearted people that do not know HaShem’s ways? If you have a possible answer, please email me at and your answer will be posted in next week’s edition of Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
Parashas Ki Sisa-Parah 5769
Is sponsored in memory of the Heilege Gerrer Rebbe, the Pinei Menachem, HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Pinchas Menachem Alter, zechuso yagein aleinu vial kol Yisroel litovah, alah bisarah hashamaymah, 16 Adar 5756.
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Beis Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, an hour before Minchah.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos and a Freilechen Purim.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tetzaveh-Zachor-Purim 5769

שבת טעם החיים פרשת תצוה-זכור-פורים תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Tetzaveh-Zachor-Purim 5769
The Bais HaMikdash, our source of holiness
This week’s parasha is Tetzaveh, and we also read Parashas Zachor, where we are commanded to remember what Amalek did to us upon our exodus from Egypt. There is a tradition that the parasha of the week is associated with the extra Torah reading, so it behooves us to explore the association between the parasha of Tetzaveh, which discusses the instructions regarding the Priestly vestments, and Parashas Zachor. It is noteworthy that in the Megillah that we will read on Purim it is said (Esther 1: 4) biharoso es osher kivod malchuso vies yikar tiferes gedulaso yamim rabim shemonim umeas yom, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendrous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days. The Gemara (Megillah 12a) states that the words vies yikar tiferes gedulaso refer to the vestments of the Kohen Gadol, the High Persist. Thus, Achashveirosh had the audacity to don the vestments of the High Priest at his party. What lesson can we gain from this incident?
Achashveirosh and Vashti are determined that the Bais HaMikdash not be rebuilt
Achashveirosh also used utensils from the Bais HaMikdash, as a demonstration to all that in his opinion, the Bais HaMikdash would not be rebuilt and the Jewish People could no longer hope for salvation. In truth, the entire backdrop of the Megillah is regarding the Bais HaMikdash. We read that when Esther is granted an audience with Achashveirosh, it is said (Ibid 5:3) vayomer lah hamelech mah lach Esther hamalka umah bakashaseich ad chatzi hamalachus viyansein lach, the king said to her, “What is it for you, O Queen Esther? And what is your petition? [Even if it be] until half the kingdom, it shall be granted to you. The Gemara states that Achashveirosh was intimating that he would grant Esther anything that she wished, except for davar shechotzeitz limalchus, something that caused a divide between him and the kingdom, namely the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash. Vashti had succeeded in halting the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, and Haman was a fierce opponent of its being rebuilt. What was so unique about the Bais HaMikdash that these enemies of the Jewish People did not wish that it should be rebuilt? What is even more mystifying is that a few years after the Purim miracle occurred, Koresh allowed for the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, and only a majority of the Jewish People ascended from Babylonia to Eretz Yisroel. This would imply that Achashveirosh should have not so been concerned about the Jews rebuilding the Bais HaMikdash, as even having the Bais HaMikdash rebuilt was not enough of an incentive for most Jews to return to the Holy Land.
There is holiness within us even when the Bais HaMikdash is not standing
The Bais Yisroel (Terumah 5732) writes that his father, the Imrei Emes writes in the name of the Sfas Emes that the twelve months of the year corresponds to the twelve tribes, and the month of Adar corresponds to Yosef HaTzaddik. The attribute of Yosef is yesod, foundation. This attribute remains for the Jewish People forever, and every generation can be strengthened from the power of Yosef HaTzaddik and Moshe Rabbeinu who was born and died in Adar. The Bais Yisroel elaborates on this theme and writes that even when there is no Bais HaMikdash standing, one can arouse the power from Above through generosity of the heart. It is said (Yechezkel 11:16) vaehi lahem limikdash meat, and the Gemara (Megillah 29a) states that this means that even when the Bais HaMikdash is not standing, we still retain the holiness in the synagogues and in the study halls. Through Torah study and prayer we are guaranteed that the Divine Presence will remain with us. This, writes the Bais Yisroel, is what allows us to overcome all the challenges that face us from these matters that cause concealment in the world. Shabbos also has the power to overcome these concealments, as the Zohar states kad ayil Shabsa ….vichol shultanei rugzin umarei didina kulhu arkin viisabru minah, all wrathful dominions and bearers of grievance flee together – and there is no power but she in all the worlds.
Our enemies do not want us to have any arousal of holiness
Based on the words of the Bais Yisroel, we can understand why Vashti, Haman and Achashveirosh were all opposed to the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash. While the majority of the Jewish People chose to remain in Babylonia even after the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, the enemies of the Jewish People are always concerned with any spiritual arousal that we have. Thus, the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash was not merely the resurrection of an edifice that had been destroyed seventy years earlier. Rather, rebuilding the bais HaMikdash was indicative of an arousal to holiness and spirituality, and this is something that our enemies, in every shape and form, cannot tolerate. It would appear that although Esther did not reveal to Achashveirosh her origins and the fact that she was a Jewess, Achashveirosh sensed that she was spiritually inclined and he therefore resisted any overtures from Esther. Thus, Achashveirosh made it clear from the onset that he would not allow the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash. This, then, is the reason that Achashveirosh opposed the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, and to demonstrate that in his mind the Bais HaMikdash was not existent, he donned the vestments of the Kohen Gadol. This act was a mockery of the Jewish People and to demonstrate to them that there was no need for them to become spiritually aroused. The lesson that we can gain from this episode is that no matter how much our enemies attempt to destroy our spiritual growth, every Jew retains a spark of holiness from the holiness of the Bais HaMikdash, and it is this spark of holiness that keep us apart from the gentiles and allows us to come close to HaShem.
The Shabbos Connection
Amalek and his descendants have always had the mindset that they can tear the Jewish People away from holiness, but they are mistaken. The Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that had the Jewish People only observed the first Shabbos in the Wilderness, no race or nation could have assailed them. This is derived from the fact that it is said (Shemos 16:27) vayehi bayom hashevii yatzu min ham lilkot vilo matzau, it happened on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, and they did not find. Further on it is said (Ibid 17:8) vayavo Amalek vayilachem im Yisroel biRefidim, Amalek came and battled Israel in Rephidim. We see that when the Jewish People are lax in Shabbos observance, Amalek can make inroads. We must recognize that Shabbos is the stronghold of our holiness, and by observing Shabbos properly, all our enemies’ evil schemes will be thwarted and we will then merit the rebuilding of the Third Bais HaMikdash, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkienu, speedily, in our days.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Mah Yedidus
Composed by an unknown author named Menachem
Finished and desire
Vateichel kol haavodah lo saasu melacha, the all labors ceased – ‘you shall not work.’ We have mentioned numerous times that the word vateichel, besides meaning completed, also can be interpreted to mean desire, as the Targum renders the word (Bereishis 2:2) vayechal, (HaShem) completed, as vichamad, and he coveted. Thus, here we are declaring that all labors ceased and we do not work on Shabbos, but even more significant is the fact that HaShem desires that we rest on Shabbos, and we must also desire this rest, as through Shabbos we become close to HaShem.
Shabbos in Tefillah
HaShem’s greatness is found next to His humility
Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh HaShem Tzivakos milo chol haaretz kivodo, Holy, holy, holy is HaShem, Master of Legions, the whole world is filled with His glory. One aspect of this verse is the idea that HaShem is holy beyond our understanding, and nonetheless, His glory fills the earth, i.e. the lowly earth where human beings reside. This idea is parallel to the Gemara (Megillah 31a) that states: wherever you find the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed is He, there you find His humility.

Shabbos Story
Warmed By The Coat
Rav Moshe Schneider once met a renowned doctor who had not only veered off the path of Yiddishkeit, but fiercely opposed Yiddishkeit as well. The doctor told R' Schneider that he would have no hesitations about converting, except one thing stopped him from taking this drastic step - the warmth of the Chofetz Chaim’s coat.
The doctor explained that when he was still a boy, he learned in Radin, and one cold night he fell asleep on a bench in the shul. Suddenly, he was aroused from his sleep, and he saw an elderly man standing above him, removing his coat and covering him and providing him with some much-needed warmth. Later, he realized that the elderly man was the Chofetz Chaim. The doctor added, “This coat warms me until this day, and this is what keeps me from converting.” (Shaal Avicha Veyegadcha) [Reprinted with permission from ]
(This story was taken from an online source in its unedited version)
In honor of Purim, I present the following story. It appears in various websites, usually in abridged form. Here I present the full version, with the appropriate link. It was originally written up by Menachem Ziegelboim in the book L’Saper M’Breishis, vol. 2.

All that was dear to Shaul passed before his mind’s eye, and then he recalled the scene at the Purim meal, when the Baal Shem Tov asked him to sing...
Many people flocked to Medzibuzh to spend Purim in the holy presence of the Baal Shem Tov. The forest near Medzibuzh seemed to suddenly wake up from its wintry slumber. The town of Medzibuzh was hustling and bustling with people, and wagons packed with Chassidim could be seen driving by.Everybody knew that the Baal Shem Tov would celebrate the holy day with tremendous joy, and since our Sages say that the awesome day – Yom HaKippurim is K’Purim (like Purim) – the Rebbe would pray on behalf of one and all on this day.Purim day. The joy of the festival filled everyone’s hearts. The streets teemed with costumed children. Despite the revelry, all knew that this was just a prelude to the evening hours, when the Baal Shem Tov would host the Purim meal.Many of the guests came to Medzibuzh solely to be present at the Purim meal. “If Yom Kippur is like Purim,” they said, “then the meal that takes place towards evening is like the Neila prayer.” In addition, they knew that during the meal, the Rebbe was in a particularly good mood and that he dispensed brachos [blessings] generously as in the “gifts to the poor” that one gives on Purim.
People crowded around the long table. The greatest of the disciples, the Chevraya Kadisha, were eager to hear the Rebbe’s holy words. The Baal Shem Tov’s face shone, yet there was also a sense of deep seriousness about him. The sun’s rays streamed in through the windows of the Beis Midrash as the sun set. The Chassidim burst into a lively tune and the Baal Shem Tov sat there with his face radiating joy.
Among the disciples of the Chevraya Kadisha was the Baal Shem Tov’s beloved disciple, Rabbi Meir Margolis, the Rav of Lvov, and his young son, who sat on his lap. The child was all of eight years of age, and his father had brought him to his holy Rebbe for the first time so he could gaze upon the Baal Shem Tov’s face, a segula for fear of Heaven. The child was recognized as a talented lad when he was only five, but his outstanding quality was his remarkable voice.
When he sang at the Shabbos and Yom Tov meals at home with his family, all were transfixed. The child would sit with eyes closed and pour out his heart in sweet song. It wasn’t surprising then, that the Baal Shem Tov asked little Shaul’ke to sing something.

Yet R. Meir blushed and his hands trembled with emotion. At first, he thought his ears had deceived him, and he had only imagined that he heard the Baal Shem Tov request that his son sing a niggun. But when the Baal Shem Tov repeated his request, R. Meir recovered and whispered to his son: “Shaul’ke, the Rebbe is asking you to sing something special for Purim.” Everybody looked at them expectantly. The Rebbe watched and waited with a smile playing on his holy lips. The child thought for a moment, tilted his head back, closed his eyes, and sang a new version of “Shoshanas Yaakov.”
The tune started off slowly and quietly, but in the next stanza, the joy in the tune began to come forth, to penetrate the listeners’ hearts, and to fill the Beis Midrash with its sweetness.
The pure, clear voice of the boy grew stronger. The crowd’s curiosity was replaced with rapt attention. The niggun captivated them all, and overpowered them with feelings of joy and loftiness.The Rebbe listened closely, his eyes closed in dveykus, and his face on fire. When the boy finished the song, and everybody was still spellbound by the impression the niggun had made on them, the Baal Shem Tov opened his eyes and looked gratefully at Shaul’ke.
The day after Purim, Rabbi Meir Margolis went to the Baal Shem Tov to say goodbye. The Rebbe greeted R. Meir and his son warmly, and in the few minutes that they had together, the Baal Shem Tov gazed at Shaul’ke with great pleasure. Even R. Meir, who was accustomed to signs of affection from the Rebbe, was amazed by the special recognition his son was getting from the Baal Shem Tov.
Suddenly, the Rebbe’s face grew serious and he sat in silent thought for some time. Then he said to R. Meir, “Perhaps you will leave your young son with me for a few days?”R. Meir was astonished by the request, but the Baal Shem Tov went on, “Leave him here and I’ll make sure he continues with his studies, as usual. After Shabbos I’ll send him back home to Lvov.”R. Meir regarded the Baal Shem Tov’s request as an order. He looked at his son for a moment, as though trying to read the boy’s mind.
Shaul’ke immediately understood what was expected of him, and nodded his head in acquiescence.
“Yes, Rebbe!” exclaimed R. Meir happily, “my son will stay until after Shabbos. I am sure that he will absorb much holiness and purity in his stay here.” The Rebbe looked pleased.PART IV
The days passed quickly. Shaul’ke stayed with the Baal Shem Tov for Shabbos too, and his songs at the Shabbos meals were a spiritual delight for the Rebbe and the Chassidim. Early Sunday afternoon, the Baal Shem Tov abandoned his usual routine and told Alexei the wagon driver to harness his horses and prepare for a trip.While Alexei busied himself with the horses, the Baal Shem Tov asked three of his greatest disciples to join him on the journey. The disciples were happy to comply, for to be in their Rebbe’s presence on a mystery trip was a treat. They knew that on these trips it was an auspicious time for them to ask things they couldn’t ask in the Beis Midrash.
The Rebbe left the house with Shaul’ke’s hand in his. The disciples were waiting outside. Without further ado, they climbed into the wagon and the horses led them out of the town to some location unknown to all except the Baal Shem Tov.
The Rebbe sat there quietly, thinking. His brow furrowed and his disciples glanced at him somewhat worriedly. After traveling for some time, they arrived in an unfamiliar town and Alexei relaxed the reins and allowed the horses to go on their own. Suddenly the Baal Shem Tov looked out the window as though searching for something, and then he motioned to Alexei to stop the wagon.
The group alit from the wagon and the disciples followed the Baal Shem Tov. They walked until they were standing in front of a large building from which emitted hoarse shouting. The disciples were taken aback but the Baal Shem Tov confidently strode forward, while holding Shaul’ke’s little hand in his own.
The Baal Shem Tov opened the door to a bar and they entered a completely different world. A cloud comprised of alcohol and smoke hit them in the face. The Baal Shem Tov walked in with Shaul’ke as the disciples obediently followed. There were farmers rolling about on the floor, wallowing in filth. Others sat at tables, holding half-empty bottles of whiskey. The alcoholic vapors merged with the choking tobacco odors to make for a suffocating atmosphere.Only a few of the locals turned to look at the newcomers, but they gazed in astonishment. Here was a distinguished looking rabbi, beard and all, and he strode over to the counter and banged it vigorously for attention.
“Quiet!” the Baal Shem Tov called out, his voice overpowering the din.Most of the drunkards managed to direct their attention to the Baal Shem Tov who began speaking to them in their rough language.
“Hardworking farmers, listen to what I have to say! I have a little boy with me who sings beautifully. In all your life, you haven’t heard as sweet a voice as his. I brought him here to cheer you up, but you must listen closely to his song.”
The Baal Shem Tov’s announcement thundered in the sudden silence, and the drunks looked curiously at the Rebbe and his retinue. The Baal Shem Tov inclined towards Shaul’ke and whispered, “Please sing the ‘Shoshanas Yaakov’ again. Show these goyim your amazing singing abilities. Don’t be afraid. Nothing bad will happen to you.”
The child looked wide-eyed at the Baal Shem Tov, seemingly surprised by the request to sing a holy tune that belonged in the holy Beis Midrash and not in a place such as this. But the Rebbe had requested and he began to sing.This time too, he started off quietly and slowly, then grew louder and increased the tempo. The sweet notes filled the air. The silence that followed the Baal Shem Tov’s speech grew even deeper as Shaul’ke sang. From their spots on the floor, the drunkards looked at Shaul’ke in wonder. The Baal Shem Tov and his disciples concentrated once again on the incredible song.When Shaul’ke finished his captivating performance, the crowd burst into loud applause and shouted, “Bravo! Encore!”The Baal Shem Tov looked pleased. He looked around the room as though searching for someone. He scanned the crowd and then approached three boys [who were] playing cards. He pulled each of them out of their seats and drew them into the center of the room.
“You heard how Shaul’ke sang so beautifully?” the Baal Shem Tov yelled in mock anger.
The three men stammered “yes” and nodded vigorously. The rest of the crowd watched and nodded along with them.“What’s your name?” the Baal Shem Tov asked one of them.

“And you?”
“Zu-Zur-Zuraik,” stammered the second.
“And I’m Padrich,” croaked the third.
The Baal Shem Tov nodded gravely and scowled at them in feigned anger.“Listen you three,” he thundered, “see this boy who sang for you? His name is Shaul’ke. You hear? Shaul’ke is his name. He’s a good boy. Remember this! Don’t you dare forget him. Understand?” The three of them assented.
The Baal Shem Tov was silent. The three nodded in fright and stared at the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov turned to Shaul’ke, pinched his cheek lovingly, patted his head and walked out with him. The three disciples silently followed, absolutely bewildered by what they had just witnessed.“What did their Rebbe want from these gentiles? Why did he tell Shaul’ke to sing “Shoshanas Yaakov” in a bar for gentiles?”They didn’t dare ask the Baal Shem Tov. He certainly knew what he was doing. Something was afoot and time would tell what it was. The Rebbe returned to his place on the wagon as did the others, and they traveled back to Medzibuzh.

Years passed and Shaul’ke grew up. His childish features matured and a brown beard framed his face. He had become a successful merchant who was known for his wealth and business dealings. That year there was more rain than usual and the cold was more penetrating. Adar was approaching and people’s spirits began to lift just a bit. R. Shaul had begun thinking about the upcoming Yom Tov of Purim. “It would be the right thing to do to spend Purim at home with my family,” he mused. “They’re certainly hoping I’ll join them for the festivities.”
Shaul hurriedly wound up a number of business deals and postponed the remainder. He quickly packed and began the trip home to Lvov. The trip took a few days. He tried to hurry despite the mud that filled the roads. He yearned to see his family once again and he left the main road for a shortcut through the forest.

His coach penetrated deeply into the forest as the horses trudged through the trees. Shaul relaxed, as businessmen do when they’ve completed their business dealings successfully.
“I wonder what Moshe’le is up to,” he thought of his young son. “He can probably say a few words by now... And Shmerel, no doubt, has made progress and has begun learning Mishnayos in school. And Chana’le...”He stopped in horror and looked about. “Who screamed? Where am I?” He jumped up in terror and looked all around and realized that this wasn’t a dream. He had been daydreaming about his children, but here in the forest, stood three menacing characters brandishing knives.One of them called out to him to get down from the coach, as he waved his knife threateningly. It finally sank in; Shaul was being held up by robbers.One of the three approached him and Shaul put up his hands helplessly. They made a quick search of Shaul’s clothes and belongings while one of them pushed Shaul into the mud. His hands and feet were tied to the trunk of a tree, and Shaul began to realize that his end was nigh.He looked about him in desperation but help was nowhere to be found. There was only the forest, the robbers, and himself.One of the men came over to him and snarled, “Prepare to die.”

Trembling in fright, Shaul tried to focus on his final Vidui [confession]. “These are my final moments,” he thought resignedly. Images of his parents were clear in his mind’s eye, as were his dear wife Sarah’le and the sweet faces of his children. His eyes filled with tears as he thought of leaving everything he cherished behind.
Thoughts of the past continued to flit by: the Beis Midrash of his eight-year-old child – himself – sitting on his father’s lap...his father whispering to him to sing...Shaul opened his eyes and faced the grim reality. He looked at the robbers who sat around a bonfire, eating and talking amongst themselves. His mind worked furiously as he thought about how these were his final moments. A cool breeze made him shiver. The trees rustled ominously and the shriek of a forest denizen rent the air.
‘Well, I wanted to be at home to hear the Megilla and to fulfill the mitzvos of Purim, but apparently, this is not what Hashem wants. I can make my peace with that but at least I should do a little something in honor of Purim. What can I do while tied up like this? I will sing that “Shoshanas Yaakov” niggun that I sang for the Rebbe!Shaul began to sing, and although he sang quietly, he could be heard clearly in the silence of the forest. For some reason, the robbers didn’t shout at him to be quiet. Shaul closed his eyes tightly. He didn’t want the sight of the hoodlums to disturb his concentration. His tremulous voice wove a spell and it seemed as though everything stopped to listen.
For some reason, his voice was more clear and beautiful than ever, like it was back when he was a child, but this time his hands were tied.
He felt himself transported, and no longer thought of the forest and his untimely demise. He began singing the joyous stanza and his voice rose easily and flowed like a ship that sails confidently through the stormy waves.
Shaul finished the song slowly, in his attempt to forestall his inevitable end, and then he opened his eyes and saw the three men facing him. Their mouths were open and their hands were outstretched as though holding something invisible. They stood there like that for a long moment. Then they roused themselves from their frozen state and hesitantly approached Shaul.Shaul was terrified as he prepared to meet his end with the blade of a knife. But the three men stood there, half a step away from him. He looked at them and beheld something strange, though he himself didn’t know what it was.
The knife was still grasped in the hand of the one who had bound him, but the eyes of the threesome seemed softer and kinder. One of them whispered, “Is it you, Shaul’ke?”
It was as though a light turned on in Shaul’s mind. “Anton? Zuraik? Padrich?” he whispered in incredulity.
The three men trembled and they looked utterly confused. They untied the thick ropes that bound Shaul to the tree.“Your rabbi... we haven’t forgotten him. It was thirty years ago when a boy sang that song. The rabbi said we should not harm him. His song was so sweet; we couldn’t possibly forget you, Shaul’ke.”

That year, Shaul’s voice trembled as he uttered the words of the bracha at the end of the Megilla: “Shoshanas Yaakov – the rose of Yaakov was cheerful and glad when they jointly saw Mordechai robed in royal blue. You have been their eternal salvation, and their hope throughout the generations.”

Shabbos in Navi
Shmuel II Chapter 1

Torah scholars are akin to Shabbos

In this chapter we learn how Dovid is informed by the son of an Amalekite convert how he killed Shaul, and Dovid had this son of the Amalakite killed. Dovid and his men tore their garments and lamented, wept and fasted over Shaul, his son Yonasan, over the nation of Israel, and over the House of Israel who had fallen by the sword. Dovid then eulogized Shaul and Yonasan and Dovid described the great love that he had for Yonasan. The Zohar states that a Torah scholar even during the week is akin to Shabbos. One must treasure the Holy Shabbos and one must most also respect and develop a relationship with Torah scholars, as they are the vitality of our nation.

Shabbos in Agadah

Shabbos and Torah are aids to destroy Amalek

Regarding Amalek it is said (Devarim 25:19) vihayah bihaniach HaShem Elokecho licho mikol oyvecho misaviv, it shall be that when HaShem, your G-d, gives you rest from all your enemies all around. The Lev Simcha cites the Chiddushei HaRim who writes that the word bihaniach is similar to the word menuchah, rest, and this alludes to Shabbos, which is a Day of Rest. The Lev Simcha adds that the word vihayah contains the letters of HaShem’s Name, and Shabbos is also the Name of HaShem. Furthermore, the Bais Yisroel writes that it is said (Shemos 15:3) HaShem ish milchamah HaShem shimo, HaShem is Master of war – His name is HaShem, and the Medrash interprets these words to mean that HaShem, so to speak, does battle with His Name. This alludes to the idea that Shabbos is the Name of HaShem, and regarding Amalek it said that the Name of HaShem is not complete until Amalek is annihilated. Thus, Shabbos, which is the Name of HaShem, is an aid to the obliteration of Amalek. Additionally, the words vihayah bihaniach allude to Torah study, as it is said (Bereishis 49:15) vayar menucha ki tov, he saw tranquility that it was good, and this refers to Torah. The Torah is comprised of Names of HaShem, and this also aids, in conjunction with the idea that all opinions agree that the Torah was given on Shabbos.

Shabbos in Halacha

Summary of laws of insulation

One can wrap a pot in heat-retaining material Erev Shabbos. One can then uncover and re-wrap the pot on Shabbos. Nonetheless, one is prohibited from insulating a pot on Shabbos. If the food is transferred to a kli sheini, he can then insulate the food in a heat-retaining materiel. When necessary, one can wrap even a kli rishon in a heat-retaining material after it has cooled down below yad soledes bo (110ºF).

Shabbos Challenge Question

Last week we posed the question: why would it be permitted to cry on Shabbos? The Pinei Menachem writes that the Chiddushei HaRim said that on Shabbos one is permitted to engage in repentance, even if it brings a person to depression and tears. The reason for this is because it is said (Devarim 10:16) umaltem eis arlas livavchem, you shall cut away the barrier of your heart. We find (Shabbos 130a) that the mitzvah of milah, circumcision, overrides the prohibition of Shabbos. Shabbos itself is an aid for repentance and the word Shabbos is an acrostic for the words Shabbos bo tashuv, on Shabbos you shall repent.

This week’s question is: why do we ask HaShem to forgive our sins specifically on Motzai Shabbos? If you have a possible answer, please email me at and your answer will be posted in next week’s edition of Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim
Parashas Tetzaveh-Zachor-Purim 5769
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Beis Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, a half an hour before Minchah.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos and a Freilechen Purim.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Toras Purim 5769

Toras Purim and the rest of the
Jewish Calendar 5769
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler
Bimei neuray ushetusai, uvimos shikrusai viholilusai, ad shetomru bisifsoseichem dai, viaz ani aaneh eschem kigmulaschem hatovah alai, sheain ritzoni ela lichtov machshevosai, vilo machshevosai machshivoseichem, vihaikar lihashiv machasheves Haman Ben Hamdasa HaAgagi, ubazeh heicheili lichtov es kol tokef Haman bichol yimos hashanah:

Here we are again, ready to celebrate Purim 5769, and in the midst of what everyone refers to as an economic crisis. Well, I think most people would agree that Haman’s decree was a lot worse than an economic crisis, but since Chazal have deemed an ani to be likened to a dead person, let us address this crisis head on and see what the result is. For starters, if a poor person is deemed to be dead, he can’t be worse than someone who becomes intoxicated on Purim, as the Seder HaYom writes that the ultimate goal of becoming intoxicated is to land up on the ground. The reason for this, writes the Seder HaYom, is because Haman sought to spill our blood to the ground, so we attempt to emulate this by allowing ourselves to end up on the ground.

Now, one must still wonder why it is important that someone be on the floor on Purim, especially when Purim is such an exalted day. It is noteworthy that the Gemara cites the verse that states (Tehillim 124:2) lulei HaShem shehayah lanu bikum aleinu adam, had not HaShem been with us when men rose up against us, and the Gemara (Megillah 11a) states, adam vilo melech, a man and not a king, and this refers to Haman. The Gemara is telling us that we are fortunate that a man arose against the Jewish People and not a king. Why is Haman referred to as an adam? Perhaps he is thus called because the word adam is associated with the word adamah, land. The Gemara (Chulin 139b) states hamin min HaTorah minayin, where do we find an allusion to Haman in the Torah? The Gemara answers that it is said (Bereishis 3:11) hamin haeitz asher tzivischo livilti achal mimenu achalta, have you eaten of the tree from which I commanded you not to eat. The word hamin contain the same letters as the word Haman. Yet, we know that the Gemara is not merely attempting to find the letters Haman in the Torah. Rather, the context of the verse also alludes to Haman. How is the story of Haman alluded to in this verse?

The answer to this question is that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 56b) derives from a verse the seven Noahide laws. It is said (Ibid 2:16) vayitzav HaShem Elokim al haadam leimor mikol eitz hagan achol tocheil, and HaShem commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat.” The Gemara states that according to one opinion the word vayitzav alludes to idolatry. The conclusion of the Gemara (Megillah 12a) is that the reason the Jewish People were sentenced to death by Haman was because they had bowed down to the idol of Nevuchadnezzar. When HaShem questioned Adam regarding eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, He asked Adam, hamin haeitz asher tzivisicho and the word tzivischo alludes to idolatry. The next segment of the verse is livilti achal mimenu achalta, which alludes to the supposition of the Gemara that the Jewish people were sentenced to death for eating at the feast of Achashveirosh.

Now we can understand why the Gemara in Chulin chose this verse to allude to Haman, as this verse alludes to the causes for the sentencing of the Jewish People to death by Haman. Additionally, it is said hamin haeitz, and Haman was hung on a tree. One must realize that even the word hamin is associated with Haman. This is because we find another allusion to Haman in the Torah, and this is with regard to the manna that the Jewish People received in the Wilderness. It is said (Yehoshua 5:12) vayishbos haman mimacharas, the manna was depleted the following day, which is literally translated to mean that the manna ceased to fall the next day. The Sefarim write that these words can be interpreted homiletically (whatever that means) as Haman ceased, i.e. died on the next day, which was the second day of Pesach. Thus, we see a direct connection between the manna and Haman.

Furthermore, regarding the manna it is said (Shemos 16:5) viheichinu es asher yaviu, when they prepare what they bring, and regarding Haman it is said (Esther 7:10) vayislu es Haman al haeitz asher heichin liMordechai¸ so they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai. Additionally, regarding the manna it is said (Shemos Ibid) vihayah mishneh al asher yilkitu yom yom, it will be double what they pick every day, and we can assume from what it is said regarding Mordechai (Esther 10:3) that Haman was also a mishneh limelech, viceroy to the king. Most significant, though, is the fact that the manna fell from heaven to the ground, and Haman started his career in a very high position and ended up pretty low to the ground.

Now this leads us to a more difficult question, and that is, why did Haman deserve to be hung? After all, if we want to obliterate the memory of Amalek as the Torah commands us, Haman and his sons should have been swallowed up by the earth as had occurred to Korach and his sons (lihavdil). The Sfas Emes actually poses this question in a different manner. The Sfas Emes wonders why the Torah commands us to obliterate the memory of Amalek, when Amalek is not deserving of a memory. Perhaps the answer to these questions is based on a famous Rambam (Hilchos Chametz Umatzah 7:1) who writes that we are commanded to remember the day of the exodus from Egypt as it is said (Shemos 13:3) zachor es hayom hazeh asher yitzasem miMitzrayim mibeis avadim, remember this day on which you departed from Egypt, from the house of bondage. Similarly, writes the Rambam, it is said (Shemos 20:8) zachor es yom haShabbos likadisho, remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it.

Much ink has been spilled to explain why the Rambam associates the mitzvah of remembering the Exodus with the mitzvah of remembering the Shabbos. Since Haman’s blood was already spilled, we will leave this discussion for a different venue. However, a cursory explanation for the Rambam would be that Haman was hung On Pesach, and it is said (Yehoshua 5:12) vayishbos haman mimacharas, the manna was depleted the following day, and we mentioned that this is interpreted to mean that Haman ceases to exist on the second day of Pesach, and the word vayishbos alludes to Shabbos. Now we see that Amalek, Shabbos and Pesach are all connected, but what does that have to do with Haman being hung above the ground and with remembering the memory of Amalek while simultaneously attempting to obliterate them?

The answer to these questions is that we have to understand why we are instructed to remember anything. The Sfas Emes writes that Amalek caused the sin of the Golden Calf. You may wonder how this was so, especially if Amalek fought the Jewish People in the month of Iyar and the Jewish People received the Torah in the month of Sivan. The answer is that Amalek caused the Jewish People to forget their Torah learning. The Gemara (Eiruvin 54a) states that had the Jewish People not worshipped the Golden Calf, they never would have forgotten their Torah studies. Thus, Amalek, who sought to cause the Jewish People to forget about HaShem’s Providence in the world, ultimately caused the sin of the Golden Calf. One has to remember (pun intended) that although the gentiles and wicked people attempt to cause us to sin, we are ultimately responsible for our actions (perhaps not when we are intoxicated but we will discuss that a different time). Thus, Amalek was the catalyst for causing us to forget our Torah studies and it is for this reason that we are instructed to remember Amalek. Hence, the antidote for Amalek’s invasion is to remember. We are not so much focused on remembering Amalek as we are on remembering that he caused us to forget. That is why the Torah commences the instruction with the words (Devarim 25:17) zachor es asher asah lecho Amalek, remember what Amalek did to you. The Torah finishes with the words (Ibid verse 19) lo sishkach, you shall not forget. Is it not obvious that if you just remember than you should not forget? The Sifri (Ibid) understands this to be a positive commandment and a negative commandment. In explanation of the simple meaning of the verse, however, we can suggest that the Torah is teaching us to remember Amalek because it was Amalek who caused us to forget. Now after reading this, do you remember how we began this discussion?

Ok, so Haman is a big player in the Megillah. Would you believe that Haman shows up just about everywhere in the Jewish calendar? Purim we know he is in the mix, but where is he, say, on Rosh HaShanah? And how about Tisha Baav? Can Haman really be everywhere at once? Let us examine some verses in Tanach and we will see how they connect to Haman. It is said (Nechemiah 8:10-11) vayomer lahem lichu ichlu mashmanim ushisu mamsakim vishilchu manos liein nachon lo ki kadosh hayom laadoneinu vial teiatzeivu, he said to them, “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet beverages, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, for today is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad; the enjoyment of HaShem is our strength!”

Immediately we focus on the idea of sending manos, which is parallel to the mitzvah that we perform on Purim of sending mishloach manos, gifts of food to friends. The first thing we see in this verse is the idea of eating rich foods and drinking sweet beverages, which is definitely reminiscent of Purim. Now, we said that we will demonstrate how this verse connects to Haman. There are two words in this verse that are associated with Haman. Did you figure them out yet? They are the words manos, which is very similar to Haman, and the word nachon, prepared. Is it not amazing that Haman was also called Memuchan, which means prepared? The only difference between the word nachon here and Memuchan is that here people were not prepared and it was no fault of their own, whereas Haman was prepared to make trouble, fully aware of what he was doing. Once we are on the subject of Memuchan, it is worth noting that the word Memuchan (156) is equal in gematria to the word haeitz, the tree (155). Yes, Haman was actually prepared for the tree. If you are wondering why the gematria is off by 1, let us suffice with the idea that Haman’s head was cut off (See Tosfos Bava Basra 100b s.v. vihakuchin) so that would account for the missing 1. So that is the connection between Haman and Rosh Hashanah, as this incident in the Book of Nechemiah occurred on Rosh Hashanah.

Regarding Yom Kippur, it is well known that the Arizal stated that Yom Kippurim is Yom Ki-Purim, a day like Purim, i.e. Purim is a greater day than Yom Kippur. How, though, does Yom Kippur relate to Haman? In a simple sense we can suggest that the Satan is eliminated on Yom Kippur and Amalek and the Satan are one and the same. On a deeper level, however, we know that on Yom Kippur, two goats were chosen as sacrifices in the Bais HaMikdash. One goat that was chosen by lottery (see the connection to Haman and Purim already?) was brought as a sacrifice, and the other goat that was chosen was sent off the cliff. So let us take a look in the Megillah and see how this idea was manifest. Achashveirosh asks his servants who is in the courtyard and they announce the arrival of Haman. Upon asking Haman what should be done for the man whom the king desires to honor, Haman responds that he should have them bring royal attire that the king has worn, a horse upon which the king has ridden, one with a royal crown placed on his head. Then let the attire and the horse be given to one of the king’s most noble officers and let them dress the man whom the king desires to honor, and have him ride on the horse through the city square, and let them proclaim before him, ‘this is what shall be done for the man whom the king desires to honor.’ Achashveirosh then instructs Haman to carry out as Haman had said of Mordechai the Jew. Hama is forced to parade Mordechai throughout the city square proclaiming, ‘this is what shall be done for the man who the king desires to honor.’ Mordechai then returns to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried home, despondent and with his head covered. We see that Mordechai is likened to the goat that is chosen for HaShem, and Haman is like the goat that is sent off the cliff. Admittedly, even the goat that is sent off the cliff is serving HaShem, so we can safely assume that Haman also functioned as a vehicle in serving HaShem, albeit without his knowledge.

Moving on to Sukkos, it is interesting to note that Sukkos means a covering and the name Haman equals in gematria the word yichaseh, he will be covered (91). We find that Haman is covered with garbage by his daughter, and after he is killed his face is covered. Thus, Haman definitely connects to Sukkos. Just as an aside, the Bieir Heietev (Orach Chaim 669:2) cites the Maadanei Yom Tov who writes that he found a manuscript from Rabbeinu Bachye who writes that one should protest against those who throw fruits to the children (apparently on Simchas Torah) but there is a Medrash that states that Haman told Achashveirosh that this was one of the customs of the Jews. Thus, this is an accepted custom amongst the Jewish People, (he ends off that perhaps Rabbeinu Bachye saw in his time that they were engaging in frivolity and that is why he protested this custom).

Regarding Chanukah, the Gemara (Shabbos 21b) states that Shammai is of the opinion that we light the Chanukah candles starting the first night with eight candles and then we descend in order every night. One reason for this ruling is that the parei hachag, the bulls sacrificed on Sukkos, also were brought in descending order. It is noteworthy that the word parei is very similar to the word Purim but what is even more interesting is that 70 bulls were sacrificed on Sukkos. The Gemara (Eiruvin 65a) states that nichnas yayin yatza sod, wine enters and the secret exits. The words yayin and sod both equal 70 in gematria, and there is a mitzvah to drink wine on Purim. Furthermore, according to one opinion in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 70a) the tree that Adam and Chava ate from was a vine, and thus we see a connection between Haman and the tree, regarding which it is said (Bereishis 3:11) hamin haeitz.

Moving on to Tu Bishvat, the association between Haman and Tu Bishvat is so obvious, as Tu Bishvat is the holiday of the trees, and Haman was hung on a tree. Furthermore, the Binei Yissachar writes that one should pray on Tu Bishvat that he should merit owning a nice Esrog on Sukkos, and according to one opinion in the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 15:7) the tree that Adam and Chava ate from was an Esrog tree.

The next holiday is Purim and we all know the connection between Haman and Purim, especially considering that it is thanks to Haman that we celebrate the holiday of Purim.

We have already mentioned that Haman was hung on Pesach, but there is more to the connection of Haman and Pesach. On Pesach we drink four cups of wine, and it was through the feasts that Esther hosted for Achashveirosh and Haman where she served wine that the miracle of Purim occurred. Additionally, the Gemara (Megillah 13b) states that Haman, in his complaints to Achashveirosh about the Jewish people, said that the Jews always say shin hey yud and pey hey yud, which Rashi explains to mean that Haman was saying that the Jews are always saying Shabbos hayom, Pesach hayom, it is Shabbos today and Pesach today. The Pinei Menachem explains that Haman was intimating that the Jews are always preparing for Shabbos and Pesach, so Haman specifically chose these two times of the year. We can suggest that Haman was also alluding to his own downfall, which would occur on Pesach, which is referred to in the Torah as Shabbos.

As an aside, we mentioned earlier that Haman’s demise is alluded to in the words vayishbos haman mimacharas. The word mimacharas (please do not try this elsewhere in Tanach) when the letters are rearranged, can read meis machar, dead tomorrow. What does that have to do with Haman? The answer to this question is that we find that Amalek is alluded to in the word machar, tomorrow. It is said (Shemos 17:9) vitzei hilacheim baAmalek machar, and go do battle with Amalek; tomorrow.... It is also said (Esther 5:8) yavo hamelech vihaman el hamishteh asher eeseh lahem umachar eeseh kidvar hamelech, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and tomorrow I shall fulfill the king’s word. It is also said (Ibid 9:13) yinasein gam machar layehduim asher biShushan, let tomorrow also be given to the Jews who are in Shushan. Thus, we see that the destruction of Amalek is referred to as machar, tomorrow. It is for this reason that the word mimacharas, spelled out machar meis, alludes to the death of Haman.

Shavuos and Haman are uniquely connected, as the Gemara (Shabbos 88a) states that at Sinai, HaShem raised the mountain above the heads of the Jewish People like a beer vat, and declared, “accept the Torah or you will be buried here.” One must wonder why HaShem had to lift the mountain over their heads. Was it not sufficient to inform the Jewish People that they must accept the Torah or they would die? One answer to this question is that Mount Sinai symbolized humility, and HaShem was hinting to the Jewish People that one who humbles himself can easily accept the Torah, whereas one who is arrogant will find it difficult to accept the Torah. It is noteworthy that it was Haman’s arrogance that ultimately caused his demise. It is also noteworthy that HaShem held the mountain over their heads like a beer vat. The Gemara states that this coercion would allow the Jewish People to say that they accepted the Torah under duress and that they were not really responsible for their actions. Nonetheless, after the miracle of Purim they accepted the Torah out of love. The catalyst in their accepting the Torah was Haman, who, according to the Gemara (Megillah 14a) was able to effect the repentance of the Jewish People, something which forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses could not effect for the Jewish People. Additionally, Haman was the catalyst for the mitzvah of drinking on Purim, and although the mitzvah is best performed with wine, beer is definitely from the same family of alcohol.

That pretty much sums up the year. We will not discuss the fast days that we have because Haman already caused us enough grief. All that is left is the gematriyos and remazim that can be found in the Megillah and elsewhere.

Here is an interesting one. The name Agag in at bash is taf reish reish, which spells out the word terror. (Hey, I tried).
It is said (Tehillim 33:10) HaShem heifir atzas goyim heini machshavos amim, HaShem annuls the counsel of nations, and He thwarts the designs of peoples. This verse alludes to Purim, as the word heifer has similar letters to the word Purim (pey and reish). Furthermore, the word atzas alludes to Haman being hung on a tree (eitz). The word heini alludes to the words we recite following the reading of the Megillah asher heini atzas goyim, Who balked the counsel of the nations. There we also recite the words vayafer machshavos arumim, and annulled the designs of the cunning (remember that the Primordial Snake was referred to as arum, cunning?), and the word vayafer also contains the letters of Pur.
Here is a great story I picked up online: (And reprinted with permission, of course, so all you attorneys keep quiet for once).

Chapter 3, verse 7: “Miyom liyom umeichodesh lichodesh” – From day to day and from month to month – The story is told of the Avnei Neizer’s being in Cracow right at the beginning of the month of Adar. Among the people who came to see him was the Cracow town drunk, and in an inebriated state to boot. The Avnei Neizer asked him why he jumped the gun and started his “bisumei” two weeks ahead of schedule. He responded that he not only began in earnest from Rosh Chodesh, but also extended his “hidur mitzvah” until the end of the month. He justified himself by asking the following: “Why did Haman decide upon having only one day set aside for chas vishalom slaughtering the bnei Yisroel? Surely some of them would hide and be saved. If the edict would be for a week or a month he could more realistically actualize his goal. It must be that Haman feared that things might turn against him, as indeed happened. If this were to happen the bnei Yisroel would in kind make the whole month be a festival. This made Haman see red! He would rather limit his diabolical plans to one day of slaughter so that if it wouldn’t work out the bnei Yisroel would have but one day of rejoicing. In theory he would really have preferred to have the slaughter last the complete month of Adar. Am I then to limit my drinking to but one day on Adar because Haman could not ‘fargeen,’ have the generosity, to have the bnei Yisroel celebrate a whole month?” The Avnei Neizer lauded this explanation and told it over in the name of the Cracow “shikur” to many people. Perhaps this explains why “day to day” is mentioned before “month to month,” as Haman first decided that the slaughter last but one day. As well, there is a theme of Adar being a month of redemption in this Purim story, as per the verse, “Vihachodesh asher nehpach lahem” (9:22). [Reprinted with permission from the Shema Yisrael Torah Network. For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisroel classes, send email to]
There is much more to say but to paraphrase the Megillah, halo heim kesuvim al sifrei divrei hayamim, they are already recorded in the book of chronicles. For those interested in more insights to Purim and the Megillah, please refer to the Megillah and the rest of the Torah. As the Mishna states (Avos 5:26) hafach bah vahafach bah dicholah bah, delve in it [the Torah] and continue to delve in it [the Torah ] for everything is in it. It is no wonder, then, that one of the theme songs of Purim is vinahafoch hu, and it was turned about, as ultimately, Purim was the reacceptance of the Torah. Hashem should allow us to become sober one day and then become intoxicated with the words of Torah and may we see the arrival of Moshiach speedily in our days, in our times and in a gutteh shaah, a mazeldige shaah, and a gutteh voch, a gutteh yohr, and zei git meshugeh, Amen viAmen, ken yehi ratzon, vinomar amen. Play Ball!
Oh, and one last thing: this Toras Puirm was sponsored in memory (Sorry, I was getting carried away with remembering Amalek again) I mean in honor of the birthday of the Adam HaChashuv, HaAdam Hagadol Baanakim, Gibor Baaretz, Yihyeh Zaro, HaRav Yoni Torgow, Shlita, Amush, Kivodo bimkomo munach, hanach lo, tein lo makom lihisgadeir bo (ok enough of this shprach already) So Mazel Tov, Yoni, on your Heilege twenty-eight birthday, a time of koach (Yes, Koach, strength, last time I checked equals perfectly in gematria 28.) May HaShem give you and your family koach viosher (aval lo kimo sheasah Haman im oshro) and you should be zoche to alleh gutteh berachos and shefa bracha vihatzlacha viharbei nachas mitzetzaecha umikol haam vigam lirabos acheirim and you should merit much intoxication this Purim ad dilo yada bein mizeh uvein mizeh vigam Charvonah zachur latov amen selah lanetzach visikvasam bichol dor vidor omdim aleinu lichaloseinu vaharikosi lachem beracha ad bli dai, Dayeinu now enough said. Zei gezuent, kol tuv.

And Most Important,