A Natural Path to Remission?

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By: Y. Dror

It’s that time of year when children discuss what costumes they will wear. The older kids focus on the annual candy trade show; for teens drinking is the topic; for adults it’s time to distribute Matanot L'evyonim.And the women are quite busy with preparations for the Purim Party – doing their best to satisfy family and friends. These are just a few different ways people prepare for Purim.

The pasuk says Achashverosh gave a banquet for seven days in the court of his palace garden for all who wanted to attend, satisfying every single individual without fail “Kadat En Ones.”“And the rule for the drinking was, ‘No restrictions!’ for the king had given orders to every palace steward to comply with each man’s wishes” (Ester 1:8). Achashverosh made sure to cater the banquet with every single type of food possible for all the people attending from different countries. Even special sweets were served to the children attending, to satisfy them too. Just imagining the amount of money, time, and effort that was expended in order to coordinate such an event is enough to get one thinking: was this just a party? Or was it a mastermind plot to trap the Jewish nation once and for all? (Of course the food was all strictly kosher.)

Some commentators add that Achashverosh not only tried to satisfy his guests’ sense of taste withfood, he actually tried to satisfy all of their five senses, except for one. He satisfied their sense of sight with beautiful tapestries and couches made of gold and silver on pavements of marble and mosaics, their sense of touch with beds that had the most luxurious fine linens, and their sense of smell with all types of foods and fragrant aromas.

So what happened to sense of hearing? Many mefarshimexplain that the party was missing one thing: music.

How was it possible for such an elite well-coordinatedparty not to have any music?

The Maharam Shiff explains that one of the criteria of the party planning was to do the will of every single guest. If music would have been played, it might have gone against the will of some of the guests, since not everyone enjoys the same type of music. Furthermore, one of the secret plots behind the party was to get people to sin on their own. If guests were forced to listen to music it would have forced them to violate the Torah, since the Jews accepted upon themselves from the time that the Beit Hamikdashwas destroyed not listen to music and drink wine at the same time at a party (Isaiah 24:9).

Rav Shlomo Alkabetz, was a great scholar who lived in the mid 1500’s. He was born in Salonika, Turkey (currently known as Greece). Rav Shlomo is well known for composing the song that is sung by all Jews around the world as they welcome the Shabbat, the “Lecha Dodi.” In 1529 Rav Shlomo wrote Matnot Levi, a seferon Purim,as a gift to his future father-in-law.

In his seferRav Shlomo comments on the wondrous reason why music was absent at Achashverosh’s party. Before a person is born, when the soul is still in heaven, all the soul can hear is the angels singing praises toGd. This scene is so programmed into the soul that each time the soul hears music in this world it automatically elevates itself back into the highest spiritual spheres. (This is one of the many reasons why one is not obligated to say a blessing on the pleasure of listening to music, as opposed to saying a blessing on other pleasures, for example on smelling spices, since music is more of a pleasure for the soul than the body.) Likewise, one of the reasons why babies are so comforted by music, to the pointthat they will fall asleep, is because the music that the soul just heard in heaven is still playing in their ears.

Achashverosh knew that if the Jews would listen to their music, they would get so distracted from all the food and
other pleasures that were present and it would prevent them from sinning.

But on the contrary, there are also many types of music that can actually cause one to sin, and Achashverosh knew the Jews would not show up if it was played.

It is well-known that the story of Purim unfolded in a way where nothing seemed to be unusual. For example, we know the name Ester comes from the word “seter” hidden. In reality everything was hidden, secrets and miracles. Although Hashem's name is not mentioned in the Megillaheven once, we know He was there every single step of the way, preparing our salvation.

The exclusion of music at the party is just one of many hidden examples of the amount of Achashverosh’s planning. He intended to get the Jew satisfied with strictly kosher food, and then get them to sin. Everyone knows that underneath a person in a costume is a real man. You just can't see him, but he is there. Mordechai realized and knew that the party was one big costume, concealing Achashverosh’s real intentions, and there was something bigger behind the party. But not many wanted to believe him.

Purim is a great time to bring out one’s inner secret of what his soul really desires in this world. Thankfully we are blessed to live at a time with so many Mordechais who can see right through thecostumes of this world, teaching and showing us right from wrong, what is a trap and what is not. B”H, very soon we will all attend the real party, the party of the dedication of the third Beit Hamikdash.

Happy Purim!