Vol 26.27 - Parshat Zachor -Purim
|Hebrew Text: Rambam-Megillah vChanukah|
(5744) Remembering Amalek is cited "here (parshat Beshalach) and in Mishneh Torah . . in the Prophets . . in the Megillah" (Tal Megillah 30a). And the debate between Tal. Bavli and Yerushalmi (ibid. 1:5) in this.
Explanation of the words of Rambam (Hil Megillah 2:18) "All the books of the Prophets and all the Holy Writings will be nullified in the Messianic era, with the exception of the Book of Esther etc"
1. On the Shabbat before Purim, Parshat Zachor is read - in order to “bring close (לסמוך) the obliteration of Amalek to the obliteration of Haman. The closest distance which can be between Shabbat Parshat Zachor with Purim is (like the calendar setup of this year) when the 14th of Adar (Purim) is on Sunday. For then it comes out that the “celebration” (״עשי׳״) (of Purim), comes immediately after the “remembrance”.
The aspect of remembering the war of Amalek is mentioned many times in Tanach, as the Talmud (7a) learns from the verse (Ex. 17:14):
“Write this a memorial in a book (the Torah)”
(They expounded this as follows):
· ‘Write this’, namely, what is written here (in Parshat Beshalach) and in Mishneh Torah (in Parshat Teitzei);
· ‘for a memorial’, namely, what is written in the Prophets (in Sefer Shmuel);
· ‘in a book’, namely, what is written in the Megillah.
- Thus the Megillah is also an aspect of the “remembrance” of the obliteration of Amalek.
(According to this, it comes out that there is an advantage to the calendar setup of this year - in that one reads (without a pause in time), one after the other, -all the places in the Written Torah where it speaks of the obliteration of Amalek:
· On Shabbat Kodesh we read Parshat Zachor in “Mishneh Torah”, and also in the Haftarah (we read) “what is written in the Prophets) (in Shmuel).
· And immediately after this - on Motzai Shabbat, we read “what is written in the Megillah”.
· And the next day we (also) read “what is written here” (Parshat VaYavo Amalek) )
The general virtue of this is not just that we mention the obliteration of Amalek many times in the Torah, but rather in that, which it is found in all parts of the Torah, as it states in the words of the Talmud Yerushalmi that it is:
“Written in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings” (בתורה ובנביאים ובכתובים), (and this is like we find in many aspects – that the Talmud emphasizes that it is written in the Torah and repeated a second time in the Parshat, and a third time in the Ketuvim)
This brings out, even more so, that the war of Amalek is an aspect of extreme importance (הכי כללי), so much so that it touches every portion (level) of Torah.
Just as regards to the time aspect, it states regarding the obliteration of Amalek – “a war with Amalek for all generations” (מדור דור). So too, this is also regarding Torah - that the obliteration of Amalek is expressed in all parts of Torah.
According to this, it is understood, why the Talmud Bavli states in more detail and adds:
“What is written here and in Mishneh Torah” –
for in Torah itself, Mishneh Torah is a category in itself, as the Talmud differentiates that: the first four books are “Moshe said them from the Mouth of G-d” (מפי הגבורה), whereas regarding Mishneh Torah “Moshe said them of his own accord” and with Divine Inspiration (רוח הקודש).
2. One could say that according to the view of Talmud Bavli there is another advantage. This can be explained by prefacing the precise wording of Talmud Bavli:
Talmud Bavli states:
· ‘Write this’, refers to what is written here and in Mishneh Torah;
· ‘for a memorial’, refers to what is written in the Prophets;
· ‘In a book’, refers to what is written in the Megillah”.
For seemingly, following the wording “what is written in the Prophets”, it should have stated:
· ‘In a book’, namely, what is written in the Ketuvim” (and not in the Megillah)
In Talmud Yerushalmi it indeed states, as aforementioned:
“They found it written in the Torah, the Prophets and the Ketuvim:
· “(Write) this” refers to Torah.
· “For a memorial” refers to the Prophets..,
· “in a book” – these are the Ketuvim”! (בספר אלו הכתובים)
One could say that, with this, the Talmud Bavli is emphasizing that the virtue of this is not just that it is stated in all the parts of the Torah, but also in that which, in each part there is a special strength and severity (וחומר).
Therefore the Talmud Bavli differs and states (not – “these are the Ketuvim”, but rather) that
· ‘In a book’, refers to what is written in the Megillah”.
For regarding the “Prophets”, it is understood that there is a strength over that of “Torah”. For even though Torah is above prophecy and prophets – nevertheless there is a severity (חומר) in the words of the Prophets – for one who transgresses the words of the Prophets is deserving of death (חייב מיתה), whereas , this is not so if one transgresses the words of Torah
(Even though the punishment for transgressing the words of the Prophets is specifically if he heard it from the mouth of the prophecy (מפי הנבואה), and at the time of the prophecy. Yet this, itself is a proof that there is a strength in the words of the Prophets, in general, even when it is just “written in the Prophets” (and it is, in actuality, not connected with punishment, as aforementioned).
· “in a book” – these are the Ketuvim”,
there, seemingly is no severity. Therefore the Talmud Bavli writes:
· ‘In a book’, refers to what is written in the Megillah”,
as will be discussed.
3. One can understood this according to the explanation in Talmud Bavli there, in tractate Megillah:
It states there:
“Esther sent to the Sages saying, Write an account of me for posterity. They sent back the answer, ‘Have I not written for you three times’ (Proverbs 22:20) — three times and not four?
(“In three places we have to remember the war with Amalek in Scripture: In Shmot and Mishneh Torah (Devarim) and in the book of Shmuel. And this is what it means that it was completed with three (retellings), and you are not permitted to have a fourth- Rashi”)
(And they refused) until they found a verse written in the Torah, “Write this a memorial in a book” (Exodus 17:14) (which they expounded as follows):
· ‘Write this’ refers to what is written here and in Mishneh Torah;
· ‘For a memorial’, refers to what is written in the Prophets;
· ‘In a book’, refers to what is written in the Megillah”.
Rashi explains on the words: “what is written here and in Mishneh Torah” that “everything that is written in the Torah is called one verse”.
One must understand (as the commentators ask): What did they accomplish by finding a “verse written in the Torah”?
Seeking proof is only when one considers (the two verses in Torah) as “one verse” – Yet they already knew previously that one may do so “three times” (without the verse “write this etc.”). However they learned that “here” (in Shmot) and in Mishneh Torah are considered two verses (and in the Prophets, it is considered “three times”).
On the other hand – even from the verse “Write this a memorial in a book” it proves that we may not write it “four times”, but rather just “three times” – therefore what was innovated (by “until they found a verse”) from the verse “write this etc.”? In that verse it does not, seemingly, state that “here” and in Mishneh Torah they are considered one verse!
And if this is proven from reasoning then:
4. There is another aspect that requires explanation:
Rambam rules that:
“All the books of the Prophets and all the Ketuvim will be nullified in the Messianic era, with the exception of the Book of Esther. It will continue to exist, as will the Five Books of Torah and like the Halachot of the Oral Law, which will never be nullified.”
The Hagahot Maimoniot (by Rabbi Meir HaKohen of Rothenberg) cites the source for this from the Talmud Yerushalmi, tractate Megillah, in the continuation of the passage there:
“This is a dispute between Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish. Rabbi Yochanan said: "The Prophets and Ketuvim will be annulled in the future, but the Five Books of the Torah will not be annulled, What is the reason - as the verse states (that the voice at Sinai was) "a great voice that did not cease" (Devarim 5:19). Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: "The Megillah too, and the Halachot will not be annulled in the future”.
The Alshich, in his commentary on Megillat Esther, explains that the source for the saying of the Sages that ‘Megillat Esther will not be annulled in the future’ is from aforementioned study that:
They found a verse written in the Torah, “Write this a memorial in a book” (which they expounded that):
· ‘‘In a book’, refers to what is written in the Megillah”.
“Therefore the Sages sought fit to say that this book (the Megillah) will not be annulled, for it was a commandment of the Torah to write it. Therefore just as the Torah will not be annulled therefore also that which the Torah commanded to be written - will not be annulled. This is not so, however, regarding all the books of the Prophets and Ketuvim – for the Torah did not command them to be written”.
One can say that this is also the view of Rambam, that he (also) learns it from the aforementioned Talmud Bavli that ‘In a book’, refers to what is written in the Megillah”.
Accordingly, the ruling of Rambam is not just according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, but also founded on the Talmud Bavli.
The commentators (Mareh HaPanim) however, question this explanation of the Alshich:
It states (plainly) that the Prophets and Ketuvim will be annulled, which implies that is in the Book of Shmuel is also included in this. However, how can this be when the remembrance for the war of Amalek from the Book of Shmuel, is also learned from the very same verse: “Write this a memorial in a book”, meaning that even this (the book of Shmuel), was also a “commandment in the Torah to write it”?
5. One could say that the explanation is:
The difference between the remembrance for the war of Amalek in the Prophets (Sefer Shmuel) versus the way it is in Megillat Esther is understood from the words of the Talmud itself:
Regarding the Prophets, it is learned from the word:
And regarding the Megillah, it is learned from the word:
This means that the obligation to follow the words of Prophets is (just) a “remembrance”, the command in this is not (so much) the writing of its own accord, but rather that which the “remembrance” comes through the writing in the Prophets.
However, regarding the Megillah, the command in this is ‘‘In a book’ (בספר), in other words, in addition to the statement: “and place it in Yehoshua's ears”, through speaking in the ears, it should be a writing ‘‘In a book’ (בספר) – in the Megillah”.
And one could say that this is also the difference between the Talmud Yerushalmi and the Talmud Bavli:
In Talmud Yerushalmi, one learns that the remembrance of the deeds of Amalek must be written in “Torah, Prophets and Ketuvim”. And since we find it only in Torah and Prophets, and not in Ketuvim, it is understood that this is the source for the writing of the Megillah – in order that there be a remembrance for the deeds of Amalek, also in the Ketuvim, as it states: ‘‘In a book’ – refers to the Ketuvim”. They do not reference the Megillah explicitly for this is not a law (detail) in the writing of the Megillah, but rather a law (detail) in Ketuvim, that we mention the obliteration of Amalek also in the Ketuvim.
However according to Talmud Bavli we learn ‘In a book’ – refers to the Megillah”, that there is special writing of the Megillah, which is not similar to (the writing) of the other Ketuvim, and also not similar to the writing of the war of Amalek that is written in the Prophets, which is only in the realm of a preparation (הכשר) to the “remembrance”. However, in the Megillah, there was innovated a law of ‘‘In a book’ (בספר). The command is on the deed of the writing (מעשה הכתיבה), that it should be a book.
In other words, this is not (just) a law (detail) in Ketuvim, that the war of Amalek should be mentioned in the Ketuvim, but rather a law in the war of Amalek (the fourth time), that it must be ‘In a book’ (בספר),
6. According to this, the different views are also understood in the passage that:
“In the beginning they sent back answer, ‘Have I not written for you three times’— three times and not four?” yet in the conclusion it states “(until) they found a verse written in the Torah”.
In the beginning we learned that the different places where the war of Amalek is mentioned, are connected with the different levels of Divine Inspiration (רוה״ק)
(Which only then, makes it a part of the Holy Writings (כתבי הקודש) as it states that it is only “if they were said with Ruach HaKodesh” (as the Talmud continues)).
Therefore one must count what is written here and in Mishneh Torah as two different (verses), since there is a difference between the first Four Books of the Torah and Mishneh Torah (as aforementioned in Par 1).
So too, what it written in Sefer Shmuel though the Prophets is a separate category (and law) – Prophecy.
Therefore one cannot added the Divine Inspiration (רוה״ק) in the time of Esther which is a completely different category – after the time of the Prophets and prophecy,
(- as it states: “Acharonim, the time of the Ketuvim)
for ‘Have I not written for you three times’— three times and not four.
However afterwards “they found a verse written in the Torah” (כתוב בתורה). This is connected with the way it is “written in the Torah”. Therefore one learns in the verse
The aforementioned difference between the four books and Mishneh Torah is in the manner of the speech (האמירה,). However in the nature (גדר) and law of the writing “write this” (כתב זאת) is “what is written here and in Mishneh Torah” - both of them have the same property (גדר).
Accordingly, the passage (המשך) is understood:
The difference between Prophets and Megillah, is not just that we learn that the writing must be another two times, but rather that they are two different types of writing:
7. One could say that this itself is the explanation of Esther‘s request (as it states is Talmud Bavli) “Write an account of me for generations”. She requested that this should not just be written as a part of “Ketuvim”, and no more than that, but rather, it should be: “Write an account of me for generations” – a writing in which there is a law and obligation (of) writing (of the Torah) - for then, it would not be nullified – it is for generations.
And especially, since the Rogotchover Gaon, who elaborates regarding the “thing that is written in the Torah” (״דבר הכתוב בתורה״) that “it is a thing that constantly continues and influences” (נמשך ופועל). Therefore when one utters a vows using (the phrase) (מתפיס) “By Moses!” – the vow is upheld even though Moshe released his vow – “for since the vow is written in the Torah is it a thing that is continual, and as if the vow is constantly there” (כאילו השבועה ישנו תמיד).
And this is the virtue in the eternality of the Five Books of Torah - that they are not annulled,
For even though “the entire Torah is eternal in its general and specific aspects”,
(Which in this is also included the words of the Prophets).
meaning that the eternality of the aspects of Torah, in general, lies in that which their commands and directives are not exchanged (בייטן), and in which there is will never be a change of subtraction or addition. One must constantly fulfill them (as the Sages state also regarding Prophets – “Prophecy that was necessary for generations was written and (what) was not needed for generations was not written”).
Nevertheless the eternality of the Five books of Torah is in a manner that the command itself is always constant. For the Five Books of Torah‘s aspect is – the writing (כתב).
(Whereas the “writing” of the Prophets is not as a law of writing, of its own accord, but rather as a preparation to “remembrance”, as aforementioned.
And this is also the innovation of the Megillah, which is learned from:
· ‘‘In a book’ (בספר), refers to what is written in the Megillah”,
that its eternality is in the manner of the eternality of the Five Books of Torah, written words (דברים שבכתב) – Sefer (from the word to tell) – they constantly “say” (״זאגן״ שטענדיק) the aspects.
8. Accordingly the precise wording of the aforementioned Rambam that:
“All the books of the Prophets and all the Holy Writings will be nullified in the Messianic era, with the exception of the Book of Esther”. (And he continues) “It will continue to exist, like the five books of the Torah”
is understood and sweet:
For seemingly, according to the style:
(" All the.. will be nullified.. except the Book of Esther”.)
He should have written “it will not be annulled – like the Five Books of Torah etc. that are never annulled” (שאינן בטלין לעולם)?
However, with this (wording) Rambam explains the nature (גדר) and reason why Megillat Esther will not be annulled – for it is like the “Five Books of Torah”: “It will continue to exist” (- in the present tense). It is not an entity that was once said and given – but rather its subject matter will (also) after time not become annulled. The directives (הוראות) will not be nullified.
However, it is an entity whose essence exists constantly (שטענדיק קיימת), it is constantly spoken (גע זאגט שטענדיק) (apropos) and therefore it is not applicable that it should be nullified.
Whereas the “the books of the Prophets and all the Holy Writings”, even though they are directives for the generations – meaning that they are “necessary for the generations” – they are, however, an aspect of “remembrance”.
And one could say that, on the contrary, “remembrance” is applicable only on a thing that is not in front of us (ניטא לפנינו). It is not in the realm of “writing “, “book” - the speech (די רייד) (- the words (רעדו)) themselves do not flow constantly.
9. The reason that one finds specifically by the war of Amalek, a special emphasis in the Torah regarding the aspect of generations – eternality, so much so that it is “in a book”, even though all the aspects that are written in the Five Books of Torah are eternal – is explained in the Written Torah itself (as aforementioned Par. 1) – for it states: “The hand is on G-d's throne, G-d will be at war with Amalek for all generations."
One could add that the reason is:
He (Amalek) is the one who brought all the others (also all the nations of the world) to war, as it were, against G-d (in the Name and the Throne) through that which he “cooled”
(The word “korcha”, literally: “who happened to meet you” also means that he “cooled”)
(the boiling bath for) the others.
(Note: "This can be compared to a boiling hot bath into which no person could descend. One scoundrel came and jumped into it. Although he was scalded, he cooled it off for others.-Rashi")
According to Pnimiyut of the matter, one could say that:
It is known in the explanation of the aspect of “Amalek is the first among nations” (ראשית גויס עמלק) that the seven (Canaanite) nations represent the seven evil Middot (characteristics) in which, refinement and polishing, and even transformation, is possible.
Whereas Amalek represents the level of Keter of Klippah (בחי׳ כתר דקליפה), chutzpah (impudence) - “sovereignty without a crown” (מלכותא בלי תגא). Therefore ”in the end he shall be destroyed” (״אחריתו עדי אובד״).
This is the opposition of the true Keter (כתר האמיתי) – the Achdus of G-d.
In Avodah this means - that he (Amalek) opposes the faith and knowledge in G-d, and to the level of the Will of the Heart (רעותא דלבא) which is above intellect in holiness. Therefore the seven Canaanite nations were immediately conquered when they entered to the Land, whereas with Amalek there is a constant war, so much so that it is in the manner of an oath, as it states: “The hand of G-d is (raised) to swear by His Throne to have eternal war and animosity against Amalek”. For in one’s daily Avodah – the seven Middot are transformed and refined in the proper time of prayer. However this is not so for the Klippah of Amalek, who “knows his Master and consciously rebels against Him”.
And this is in all the levels of Avodat HaShem. Even when a Yid prevails and has faith and knowledge of G-d through his own contemplation, as it states “and you shall know this day” (״וידעת היום״), and even when, in his Avodat Hashem, he gives himself over, with Kaballlat Ol, which is above intellect – (even at that level) the level of Amalek comes there, in minute form. For since he is the First of the Nations (ראשית גוים), the level of Klippah of Keter, he is here and affects all levels.
Therefore specifically by Amalek, the aspect of “for generations”, an eternal was, is emphasized, for it affects each generation, in all the levels.
And one could say, possibly, that we therefore find in the expositions of our Rebbeim (דרושי רבותינו נשיאינו), an abundance of material and elaboration regarding the aspect of “Amalek is the first among nations, and in the end he shall be destroyed.” (״ראשית גויס עמלק ואחריתו עדי אובד״) and regarding the obliteration of Amalek in Pnimiyut HaTorah and in Avodat HaShem, and that they repeated it
(Even though there were innovations as it states: “there is no study hall without innovation” (שאין ביהמ״ד בלי חידוש)
As long as we find ourselves still in Galut, even after all the gains (העליות) in Avodat HaShem – Amalek is still in all places, and we must oppose him with battle, so much that there is the obliteration of Amalek.
And the next day – we must continue to battle him, according to the level and condition of the world (that will be achieved) the next day (מחר).
And since “Amalek is the first among nations”, as aforementioned, it not pertinent so much (- completely, לגמרי) that one exert himself to wage war with him,
(Which is not so regarding the battle with the seven nations – the evil Middot)
but rather, one must rely on a power (נתינת כח) that is bestowed from Above, as it states: “I will totally obliterate the memory of Amalek from under the heavens”.
And this “goes” (גייט) and becomes drawn down and is given from the Hidden level of G-d through the hidden level of the Torah and through the hidden level of Yisroel (סתים דקוב״ה דורך סתים דאורייתא און דורך סתים דישראל) – through our Rebbeim in their expositions on Chassidut
(Revelation – in a manner of a ‘taste’ (טעימה), at least – of the hidden aspect of Torah),
Power to eradicate the remembrance of Amalek in each one of Yisroel, even until the minutest aspect – “asher korcha” - the cooling off of serving G-d.
And just as this was in the first war of Amalek, that this was connected with the power of Moshe, in that we needed Moshe’s people (אנשי משה), and also at the time of the war itself it was that: “When Moshe raised his hand, (Bnei) Yisroel prevailed etc.”, so too was the battle of Mordechai and Esther, that when Haman wanted to destroy all the Yehudim, meaning - because they were “Jews” - who acknowledge and unite with Achdus HaShem, every day and in every place
(And Haman, who was from (the level of the Klippah of) Amalek, opposed this) –
the salvation of the Yidden was due to their Mesirat Nefesh in the One (G-d), through their connecting with Mordechai (the Yehudi and) the Tzaddik, who was like Moshe in his generation.
The same is in each generation, that we must rely on the power of, the spark of Moshe which is in each generation (אתפשטותא דמשה שבכל דור) – the leader of the generation – the Nassi HaDor, the Rebbe Rayatz (דער רבי דער שוועד) in order to eradicated (even ) the “remembrance” of Amalek.
And through the attachment to the Tzaddik (התקשרות להצדיק) and through that, which each person does all that he is able to do, in his Avodah to his Master (לקונו), to eradicate the remembrance of Amalek – erasing any motion that opposes G-dliness – this will hasten, the actual “war of G-d with Amalek for all generations” (מדור דור) – ‘from the generation of Moshiach to the generation of the World to Come’ (״מדרא דמשיחא ומדרא דעלמא דאתי) when the verse: “For I will totally obliterate the memory of Amalek from under the heavens” will be fulfilled and it will be : “G-d‘s Name will be complete and his throne complete”.
And even then, the Megillah of Esther will exist and "the celebration of the days of Purim will not be nullified, as it states: "And these days of Purim will not pass from among the Jews, nor will their remembrance cease from their seed".
mSichas Purim and Shabbat Parshat Tisa and Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei 5742
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