Shabbat of Sanctity Dirshu’s 20th Anniversary International Convention
By: Rabbi Daniel Levy
How does the name “Purim”
reflect the essence of the holiday?
The word “pur” means lot. Haman cast lots to determine the date on which to carry out his plot to destroy the Jewish people. As R’ Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, relays, a profound lesson can be learned from this: One shouldn’t be complacent about the abundant blessings Hashem has bestowed upon him. Rather, he should recognize that his lot in life can change for better or worse at any moment, and that, in fact, he is totally dependent upon Hashem for his good fortune. Although it appeared that Haman had the upper hand at first, the tables turned on him. This understanding, as reflected in the story of Purim, should provide us with the constant drive to pray, turning to Hashem with the same fervor before and after our salvation.
Where in the Torah is there a hint
to Mordechai and Haman?
The pasukin Parashat Ki Tisa (30:23) commands taking the spice “mor deror”– pure myrrh – which is the choicest of spices. Rashi in Chulin (139b) says that just as mor deroris the choicest of spices, so too,Mordechai was from the greatest members of the Sanhedrin of Anshei Keneset Hagedolah.
The Gemara (ibid) mentions that in Parashat Bereshit, perek3, the words “Hamin Haetz” is hinting to the tree that Haman will be hung from. According to R’Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, Haman is hinted to in one of the spices of the ketoret. The numerical value of helbenah, which by itself had a bad odor, equals 95 – the same numerical value as “Haman,” whose evil actions carried a bad odor.
Why does the Megillah mention
that Achashverosh raised taxes
on the land and islands?
R’ Yitzchok Zev of Brisk explains that after the Jews were victorious over their enemies and Haman and his children were hung with the approval of King Achashverosh, according to the laws of nature an anti-Semitic rebellion should have broken out against the Jews. It was truly a miracle that Achashverosh’s rulership strengthened to the extent that he was able to raise taxes on the people of the land and islands after he placed Mordechai as Mishneh L’melech– Second-in-Command. The fact that Mordechai held such an illustrious position in Achashverosh’s cabinet, without anti-Semitic opposition, reflects Hashem’s miraculous Hand and is a most appropriate way to end the Megillah.