Vol 16.41 - Purim 2 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Rambam-Megillah|
(5740) The expression of receiving the Torah by Bnei Yisroel ("They reaccepted the Torah that they had previously accepted at Mount Sinai"). (Tal. Shabbos 88a) in the Mitzvot of Purim.
The connection of the Mitzvot of Purim to the Simcha of Purim and the explanation of Rambam (Hil. Megillah 2:15): "What is the nature of our obligation for this feast? etc until he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor"
It is preferable for a person to be more liberal with his donations to the poor etc. For there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor etc. he then resembles the Divine Presence etc. (ibid 17)
What is the nature of our obligation for this feast? A person should eat meat and prepare as attractive a feast as his means permit. He should drink wine until he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor. Similarly, a person is obligated to send two portions of meat, two other cooked dishes, or two other foods to a friend, as implied by Esther 9:22, "sending portions of food one to another" - i.e., two portions to one friend. Whoever sends portions to many friends is praiseworthy. If one does not have the means to send presents of food to a friend, one should exchange one's meal with him, each one sending the other what they had prepared for the Purim feast and in this way fulfill the mitzvah of sending presents of food to one's friends.
It is preferable for a person to be more liberal with his donations to the poor than to be lavish in his preparation of the Purim feast or in sending portions to his friends. For there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the converts. One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence, which Isaiah 57:15 describes as having the tendency "to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive those with broken hearts."
1. On the verse
“The Jews fulfilled and accepted upon themselves” (קִיְּמוּ וְקִבְּלֻ הַיְּהוּדִים) the Sages state:
“They confirmed what they had accepted long before” (קיימו מה שקיבלו כבר).
Namely that the:
“Strong protest against the Torah” (״מודעא רבה לאורייתא״) from that which “G-d overturned the mountain upon them like an (inverted) cask etc.” (״כפה הקב״ה עליהם את ההר כגיגית וכו״), at the time of Matan Torah,
was nullified in the days of Purim, for:
“They reaccepted it in the days of Achashverosh” (״הדר קבלוה בימי אחשורוש״).
It is understood that the Yidden’s accepting of the Torah (then), of their own volition (מדעתם) was a critical aspect.
It is, therefore, seemingly not understood:
Why did they not enact something as a commemoration, on Purim, for the “re-accepting of the Torah in the days of Achashverosh”?
And even though the reason that they accepted it then from their own volition, was due to “the love of the miracle that was performed for them” (מאהבת הנס שנעשה להם). Nevertheless, it is still difficult to say that there should not be even a remembrance to this most important aspect. For this miracle recalled– the completion and completeness of Matan Torah - the accepting it from their volition.
2. One could say that, on the contrary, that this is manifested in all the special Mitzvah of Purim:
1. The reading of the Megillah (מקרא מגילה)
2. Mishloach Manot (משלוח מנות) – (“Sending portions of food to one's friends”)
3. Matanot L’evyomim (מתנות לאביונים) - ("Gifts to the poor")
The explanation is:
These Mitzvot express the difference between Purim and the other holidays and Yomim Tovim.
(whereas the other Mitzvot and aspects of Purim – the reading of the Torah, the reciting of Al HaNisim in proyer and in Birkat HaMazon, the prohibition of eulogy and fasting and – the feast – Mishteh vSimcha (feasting and happiness) – which have (their similarities) in the other holidays and Yomim Tovim)
To understand this, one must preface:
There is difference between a deed that a person does through being forced and coerced, versus a deed that one performs from his will and volition.
· When the deed is from coercion and force, he does it as minimally as he can (to fulfill his obligation)
· Whereas, when one does this with his own will and desire, he is not satisfied with just fulfilling his obligation, but rather, he endeavors and finds ways to add and embellish the deed, more than what is required due to the duty (פליכט) which is upon him.
And this manifested itself in that which:
“The Jews ordained and took upon themselves and upon their seed” -
namely through these Mitzvot of (writing and) reading the Megillah, Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyomim.
The explanation is:
On one side, these three things are not actually new things. Yet on the other hand, they contain an addition compared to the way they were previously:
Regarding reading the Megillah: The aspect of the Megillah is not an innovation.
(There previously existed, the Holy Books, Torah, Prophets, and Ketuvim. Yet nevertheless, with the Megillah there was added another book to the Holy Books – through a special request: “Write an account of me for posterity” – that this is one of the miracles that are written (הכתובים), at least the conclusion and end of them; So too is)
Its reading which is the aspect of reading the Torah, was already established, and so too the aspect of recounting a miracle here (in general) on Yom Tov. However, here there is an addition in that the reading is at night, from a scroll that is written on parchment, and the publication of the miracle (פרפומי ניסא).
Regarding Mishloach Manot: According to what is explained in the sefer Manos HaLevi, its aspect is to promote peace and friendship (שלום וריעות) between one Yid and another. Yet, this is a Mitzvah and maxim all the days of the year – Ahavat Yisroel - which is a great Torah principle (כלל גדול בתורה).
However, from the Mitzvah of Ahavat Yisroel there is no obligation that one must seek a Yid to fulfill the Mitzvah of "Love your fellow as yourself" (ואהבת לרעך כמוך).
However, the innovation and the Mitzvah of “Mishloach Manot” - sending portions to one’s friend - is that one must endeavor to find his “friend” (רעהו) and through Mishloach Manot to actually express (ארויסברענגען), and in a manner where it can be immediately used (not like money ) - the "Love your fellow as yourself".
Regarding Matanot L’evyomim: The aspect of Tzedaka – is a Mitzvah for the entire year. However on Purim there is an additional virtue – that it is not sufficient that just when one encounters a poor person, he fulfill the Mitzvah of “Open your hand” (פתוח תפתח) and “Surely give” (נתון תתן) – but rather one must seek and find (not just one) poor person – but two poor persons and give them (in a manner of) “gifts” (Matanot).
And this is also emphasized in the words: “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”:
These are things which “they had accepted long before” – that one was obligated to do, anyway. However on Purim, it was instilled in them the aspect of “fulfillment/kiblu” - the innovation of acceptance and strength (קיום וחיזוק) – and in both areas – between man and his fellow, and between man and G-d. A fulfillment and addition from an aspect in Torah, plainly. Writing and reading the Megillah. And through that also in praise and song to G-d (שבח ושירה) more than in the other Yomim Tovim (which are between man and G-d).
And an addition of the special deed and endeavor of "Love your fellow as yourself" and the Mitzvah of Tzedaka, through Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyomim (between man and his fellow).
One could however ask:
Regarding Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyomim one finds other reasons (for the Mitzvah):
Regarding Mishloach Manot it is “so that each one have the sufficiency and needs to fulfill the feast according to the law, as is apparent from the first chapter (Megillah 7b) that:
“Abaye b. Abin and R’ Chananiah b. Abin used to exchange their meals with one another and fulfill with this (the Mitzvah of) Mishloach Manot, the reason being because it is a meal.”
The same is for Matanot L’evyomim for it is apparent in many places that the reason is in order that they have (sufficient) means for the Purim feast -
According to these views, that their subject and aspect of the these Mitzvah is the fulfillment of the Purim feast and the endeavoring in these Mitzvah is because of this
(Even though, one automatically also fulfills the Mitzvah of “Love your fellow as yourself” and Mitzvat Tzedaka) –
it is not recognizable and emphasized in them the aspect of “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”?
4. One can understand this by prefacing that the aforementioned also appears to confer with the view of Rambam – namely that the Mitzvah of Matanot L’evyomim is not (just) to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzedaka (and so to regarding Mitzvah, as will be discussed).
“It is preferable for a person to be more liberal with his donations to the poor than to be lavish in his preparation of the Purim feast or in sending portions to his friends. For there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the converts. One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence, which describes as having the tendency "to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive those with broken hearts."
If Rambam holds that the nature of the Mitzvah of Matanot L’evyomim on Purim is the aspect of Tzedaka, therefore this aspect of (Matanot L’evyomim . . similar to the Shechinah) , which possesses an advantage over that of the Mitzvah of Tzedaka during the whole year - should have been placed
(Namely, the virtue of “One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence”),
mainly in its correct place – in Hilchot Matanot Aniyim which speaks of the virtue of giving Tzedaka in general – However, what is the relevance of this, specifically (to Purim and) to Hilchot Megillah?
Also on the other hand:
The virtues of giving Tzedaka which are brought in Hilchot Matanot Aniyim (that Yidden will not be redeemed except through Tzedaka, etc.) is not mentioned here in Hilchot (Purim -) Megillah.
One must therefore say that according to the view of Rambam - that even with giving “Matanot L’evyomim” on Purim, one (also) fulfills the Mitzvah of Tzedaka. However, the subject and aspect (of the Mitzvah of Matanot L’evyomim on Purim) is not (just) the aspect of Tzedaka, to fulfill “the needs” (די מחסורו) of the poor person, plainly – but rather (mainly) the fulfillment of the aspect of Simcha of the poor person: “to gladden the hearts of the poor” (לשמח לב עניים).
(And for this reason, it is understood why Rambam also includes in the simcha of Matanot L’evyomim “the orphans, the widows, and the converts”. For, seemingly, if they are in need, they are also in the category of “poor people” (אביונים ועניים). Therefore why does he especially delineate them? And if they are not in need, and do not require Tzedaka – why does Rambam consider them with regard to the Megillah of Matanot L’evyomim?
According to the aforementioned, however, that the nature and subject of the Mitzvah of Matanot L’evyomim is primarily to “gladden the hearts etc.” – it therefore has relevance to all “these unfortunate individuals “. And as a keen observation (derech tzachot), in the aspect of simcha, they are all “poor”, and needy).
From the wording of Rambam it is understood that all the three aspects whether they are the “feast” (סעודתו) the “Shalach Manot to his friend”, or the “Matanot L’evyomim” – their aspect and purpose is – Simcha, (not another aspect). However, since that “there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor,” therefore “It is preferable for a person to increase his donations to the poor (Matanot L’evyomim).
One must understood:
Regarding the feast it is understood that its aspect is Simcha – however, where is Rambam‘s source that the nature and subject of Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyomim is the aspect of Simcha?
(One must also understand:
What indeed is the connection between “One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence”, specifically to the nature of the Mitzvah of Matanot L’evyomim? This is, seemingly, related to every donation of Tzedaka, as it is understood also from the verse that Rambam cites. Yet nevertheless, Rambam does not mention the virtue of “resembling the Shechinah”, regarding Tzedaka in general, as aforementioned, even though he cites there the verse: “to revive the spirit of the lowly etc.”).
5. Regarding Mishloach Manot, one could say that Rambam learns that his reason is, as aforementioned, to ensure (פארזארגן) that another should have the needs for the Purim feast, which is a part of the obligation of his own feast, as Rambam states:
“What is the obligation for this feast? A person should eat . . (and he continues in the same Halacha:) Similarly, a person is obligated to send two portions of meat . . If one does not have the means to send presents of food to a friend, one should exchange one's meal with him, each one sending the other what they had prepared for the Purim feast”
for Purim feast is an aspect of Simcha of the Mitzvah – Mishteh vSimcha.
Similarly one could also say that this is also regarding Matanot L’evyomim – that this is connected with the obligation of Mishteh vSimcha that is upon him, his own Purim feast.
As Rambam already stated regarding the simcha of Yom Tov that:
“When a person eats and drinks (in celebration of a holiday), he is obligated to feed converts, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, is (not indulging in) rejoicing associated with a mitzvah, but rather the rejoicing of his gut.” (See there)
(Note: And with regard to such a person (the verse) is applied: "Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners, all that partake thereof shall become impure, for they (kept) their bread for themselves alone." This happiness is a disgrace for them, as (implied by: "I will spread dung on your faces, the dung of your festival celebrations."”
It is however difficult to learn so regarding Matanot L’evyomim, since Rambam specifies the law of “Matanot L’evyomim” in a separate Halacha (17):
“One is obligated to distribute charity to the poor on the day of Purim”,
not like the law of Mishloach Manot which he writes in the (flow) of one Halacha regarding the Mitzvah of the feast.
And especially since he does not mention in that Halacha, and in the Halacha after that, regarding Matanot L’evyomim: “when he eats and drinks etc.” like he writes in Hilchot Yom Tov.
From this it is understood that this a separate aspect which is not related to the obligation of his feast, Mishteh vSimcha which is upon him.
According to the aforementioned, it comes out that Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyomim – are not separate aspects of Purim – but rather that they are a portion and detail of the obligation of his feast. And when he does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyomim, he has not fulfilled properly (יוצא כדבעי) the Mitzvah of the feast of Purim (Mishteh vSimcha) which is upon him, similar to the way it is regarding Yom Tov.
This is contrary to the simple understanding of the verse and what is explained in many places that they are three separate Mitzvah. and this is also proven from the wording of Rambam regarding Matanot L’evyomim that it is preferable to increase in this, since “there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor etc.”. This means that without this aspect, he also fulfills the Mitzvah of Purim, including also - the aspect of simcha. However it is not a greater and more splendid happiness – it does not approach the simcha of Matanot L’evyomim.
6. One could say that the explanation in all this is:
The wording in the Megillah
(From which we learn the three Mitzvot: Mishteh – the feast, Mishloach Manot one to another and Matanot L’evyomim),
is “to make them days of feasting and joy, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” (לַעֲשׂוֹת אוֹתָם יְמֵי מִשְׁתֶּה וְשִׂמְחָה וּמִשְׁלֹחַ מָנוֹת אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ וּמַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִים).
From the word “days”, it implies that that the obligation of the Mishteh vSimcha on Purim is not a deed which must be done and whose time is on that day, but rather, the boundary (the -obligation) of the day, is an outcome (א תוצאה) from that which the day’s (yemei) aspect is “(Mishteh v’) Simcha.
From this it is understood that also the other aspects and obligations of the days of Purim,
at least those which are stated in the continuation of the same verse “Mishloach Manot one to another and Matanot L’evyomim”,
also come as an outcome to that which the days themselves - are days of Mishteh vSimcha.
The aspect that the “days” become (“days”) of Mishteh vSimcha, are not found by other Yom Tov.
And this is the relevance to “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”, namely, that in the aspect that they are “days of Mishteh vSimcha” – this is manifested that which “they re-accepted it in the days of Achashverosh, (The opposite of coercion) when they accepted the Torah “from their volition” and will.
7. One could say that this aspect of “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”, manifests itself also, mainly, in the special manner of Simcha on Purim which is not found in the other Yomim Tovim and the obligations of simcha.
Concerning the Mitzvah of the feast, Rambam states:
“What is the nature of our obligation for this feast? A person should eat . . He should drink wine until he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor.”
The source for this Halacha is (as the commentators note) in the saying of Rava: “A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai’”.
Drunkenness (שכרות) is seemingly, not a desirable conduct, and the commentators elaborate about this in conjunction to this law. Rambam himself comments in relation to (the other) Yomim Tovim:
“Drunkenness, profuse mirth, and levity are not rejoicing; they are frivolity and foolishness.” –
So how can it be that this, precisely, is the “obligation of this feast .. that one should drink wine until he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor.”?
8. One can explain this according to the aforementioned:
Since the “days” of Purim effected the aspect (as the Talmud states) of “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”, the completeness and completion of the receiving of the Torah – therefore since the Torah is the revealed will and wisdom of G-d,
his “Chamuda Genuza” (חמדה גנוזה) - “precious hidden (Torah)” ,
therefore, a created being
(One who is limited in his knowledge and intellect and in his being)
cannot receive it , and therefore - at Matan Torah, on each Saying their souls departed.
Similarly, this is, with greater force, regarding “They reaccepted it in the days of Achashverosh”. In order to receive G-d’s Torah, there needed to be the nullification of intellect and comprehension (ביטול השגה ודעת) so much so that there is a stripping of physicality (הפשטת הגשמיות).
This is similar to what is stated in the Tur in Shulchan Aruch (and in that of the Alter Rebbe) that regarding the manner of prayer of Chassidim and Anshe ma’aseh (men of deed (אנשי מעשה)),
(For one who “prays” must view himself as if the Shechinah is in front of him)
“Meditated and had intent with their prayer that they would attain a stripping of physicality and the overpowering of intellectual spirit until they reached a level that was close to the level of prophecy”.
And in the days of Purim, the Yidden achieved this level through their Mesirat Nefesh in the course of the whole year.
9. Accordingly it is understood that the (main) aspect of Purim, the “essence of the day” (עיצומו של יום) is manifests itself in the “days of Mishteh vSimcha” – namely, in the simcha of the feast in a manner of “drinking wine until he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor” –
For the subsequent “reaccepting it in the days of Achashverosh” and the “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”, on Matan Torah, is manifested in that which one nullifies his knowledge and intellect (מבטל דעתו והשגתו), so much so that he attains a “stripping of physicality” (התפשטות הגשמיות), similar to what is found regarding prophecy – as Rambam states;
“They receive prophetic visions only in a visionary dream or during the day after slumber has overtaken them . . When any of them prophesy, their limbs tremble, their physical powers become weak, and they lose control of their senses”.
And therefore the obligation of Simcha on the days of Purim is also, not in a limited manner (ניט מוגבל׳דיקן אופן), but rather it is “until he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor” - when his stature (ציור) and physical powers become nullified.
10. And because of this reason, Rambam states:
“It is preferable for a person to increase his donations to the poor than to be lavish in his preparation of the Purim feast or in sending portions to his friends.
For even though all the three Mitzvot have within them the aspect of simcha, nevertheless: “there is no greater and more splendid happiness than to gladden the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows etc.”
When is the simcha true and complete, so much so that that he transcends his stature and being (ציור ומציאות) and attains a level of “does not know” (לא ידעי) – which manifests itself in the (fulfillment) acceptance of G-d‘s Torah? When he increases in Matanot L’evyomim.
Through this, he shows that the aspect of gladdening the “hearts of the poor etc.” causes him more simcha than his own feast and Simcha, or even more than a feast with “his friends” (people of his same caliber).
However, regarding Yom Tov, where the obligation of simcha on Yom Tov is the Mitzvah of – “you shall rejoice on your festivals” (ושמחת בחגיך) – there is no obligation to drink until one does not know – “until one becomes intoxicated” – so much so that he leaves his being. On the contrary, as is understood from Rambam there, as aforementioned, if there are no poor and embittered, his own individual simcha is sufficient and he is not lacking in the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of “you shall rejoice on your festivals” which has a limitation.
Only when one “locks the gates of his courtyard” - when he does an act that denies the simcha of Yom Tov to the poor - then it is not simcha associated with a Mitzvah (שמחת מצוה), but rather the rejoicing of his stomach.”
11. And this is the advantage of the simcha on the holiday of Purim – that the simcha must be ‘until one does not know’, higher than his knowledge and boundaries - and such a greater and more splendid happiness, manifests itself when he gladdens the heart of the poor etc.
And on this Rambam adds that –
Not only must have simcha that is on the level of “does not know” so much so that “he becomes intoxicated and falls asleep in a stupor” with which he fulfills the “They reaccepted it etc.”, as aforementioned -
“One who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence”. For such an aspect – namely that the simcha of another Yid, that is unfortunate, causes him a greater and more splendid happiness, is not applicable to a created being –
which is an independent entity (מציאות בפ״ע) and concerned for himself (קרוב אצל עצמו) - and therefore must have his being and (therefore) his simcha be more important (וויכטיקער) than the simcha of another. And especially of that of (a poor person) who is less than him –
but only to the Shechinah. And the reason that a Yid can stand (and be) in such a motion (תנועה) - is because he “resembles the Divine Presence”.
And through such a conduct, one fulfills the aspect of “Days of Mishteh vSimcha” with completeness, for then, in his actual deed, it will be fully revealed the revelation of “They reaccepted it in the days of Achashverosh” - the: “They fulfilled what they had accepted long before”.
mSichas Purim 5736
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