Thursday, February 21, 2013

Purim-It's in the Name

The name of Purim expresses the essence of this special day.

At first glance, it may seem that there is nothing more random than casting lots-putting a pile of papers in a hat, mixing them together and taking out one piece. It's easy to say that the outcome of this selection is totally random and that the one whose name was chosen must have come out by chance.

However, we see from the Torah that the opposite is true-a goral is the ultimate expression of Hashem's instruction and explicit direction to us. It is as if Hashem is talking directly to His people.

When it came time to distribute the land of Eretz Yisroel to the shvatim, it was done by means of casting lots. Each shevet had his own preference of where they wanted to be situated (for example, near the water). One of the shevatim got up and said, I want this to be done with Hashem's announcement. And what was Hashem's announcement? Through a goral-by casting lots and letting Hashem do the talking for them.

The same is true with the two goats on Yom Kippur. One was Se'ir LaHashem-as a korban to Hashem and the other was sent la'azazel,it was thrown down a mountain and stoned as a kapparah for Klal Yisroel. How did they know which goat would be used for what part of the avoda? Through a goral-by Hashem expressing it directly to them.

We find the same in sefer yehoshua. When there was one man who took from the spoils of a war, Yehoshua did a goral to see who the guilty party was. When it revealed that it was Achan, he complained by saying that someone's name had to be chosen, but that didn't prove that he was the guilty one! Yehoshua said "sim na kavod laHashem elokei yisroel". Yes, you have a point but let's face the facts, a goral is the word of Hashem revealed to us!

We see from all of this that the expression of Hashem amidst the teva is specifically through a goral.

This is the essence of Purim-named because of the pur, because of the goral.What seems like natural or random is really an expression of Hashem's will.

By reading the megillah on Purim and seeing Hashem so clearly through the details of this seemingly regular story, we can develop a deeper connection to Him-by looking out for and noticing Him in the natural everyday events that happen to us. He is right here with us, and we can come to this realization specifically on Purim-by internalizing the message of the megillah within our hearts!

R' Shimshon Pincus zt"l continues with the following incredible thought.

On Purim a person can come to a point of being so drunk that he says Baruch Haman and Arur Mordechai.

What does this mean?

After a person reads the megillah, they see how Hashem is so there, so revealed within this ordinary story. They see how involved He was in every part of it and they can even see how the things that seemed like they were not good-like Esther's entrance into the king's palace-were really for the good. This is what saved the entire Jewish Nation.

And so...they can then say Baruch Haman. Haman represents the bad, the negative, the things that we thought were so painful and hard. A person can say-everything that seemed bad, really was good. Hashem, I now see you so clearly and I can now KNOW that whatever you do is for the good, even the things that don't seem so good.

So what does Arur Mordechai mean?

When a person davens for something and they feel that they need something more, they will go to a tzaddik and ask him to pray on his behalf. They feel that their own zechusim may not be enough to tip the scales but when someone greater than them is in the picture...they feel more confident in those tefillos making some change for them.

But on Purim, what do we say? We say Arur Mordechai. We don't need the tzaddikim to daven for us today! Purim is such a special day of connection to Hashem that we don't need anyone else-we break all the barriers that separate us from Hashem and He listens directly to us!

Today, Ta'anis Esther, many people take out their tehillims and say Perek Chaf Beis that starts with Keili keili lama azavtani. As we approach this special time of connection to Hashem, when He listens directly to us, to our cry of pain when things are hard and to our expression of thanks when things are good, let us internalize these messages and come into Purim--the day of the pur, the goral that is an expression of Hashem's hashgacha pratis towards us--on the lookout for the megillah and in our own lives! 


  1. I didn't know that about saying perek chaf beis today. So...I just said it. Thanks! :)

  2. Michal (yup, the same one)February 21, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Thank you so so much for this post and the last one! This one especially was original and I'm sure it will add to my Purim--I really owe so much to you for keeping me inspired.


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