Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Rabbi Doniel Staum - Purim/Tzav 5776 "Joy Renewed"
by Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 2785 times since 3/23/16   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

3/23/16

STAM TORAH

PURIM/PARSHAS TZAV 5776

JOY RENEWED

After defeating the Red Coats and ousting the British in 1781, the colonists were faced with the daunting task of revising their system of government. The original system, the Articles of Confederation, was a failure. The states were too powerful while the federal government was too weak to accomplish anything.

In May 1787 each state[1] sent delegates to convene in the Philadelphia statehouse[2] to revise the Articles of Confederation. Throughout that summer the meetings, known as the Constitutional Convention, continued. In order to ensure that the meetings proceed unhindered, they were closed to the public. Doing so required guards to be stationed at the doors and the doors and windows to remain shut, making the room stifling hot.

The delegates were heavily influenced by the writings of[3] Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, and they strongly debated how to merge those ideas into a practical form of government.

On September 17, 1787 the delegates completed their task. They had not revised the Articles, but had drafted a new governing body known as the Constitution of the United States.

As Benjamin Franklin, the elderly Pennsylvania representative, made his way out of the statehouse a woman asked him, “So what kind of government will we have Mr. Franklin?” He purportedly replied, “A republic Madame; if you can keep it!”

Ramban[4] explains that the Book of Shemos is dedicated to relating how we were able to achieve closeness with G-d on a national level. The final verse of the Chumash states, “For the Cloud of G-d would be on the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of the entire house of Israel throughout their journeys.” Chumash Vaykira is essentially dedicated to the laws of the offerings brought in the Mishkan as well as the laws pertaining to the Kohanim. After the nation merited ‘Divine closeness’, they needed to have a way to maintain that lofty holiness. There had to be a system wherein they could achieve atonement and forgiveness for iniquity and sin. Chumash Vayikra immediately follows Chumash Shemos because it contains the key to maintain what the nation achieved at the conclusion of Chumash Shemos.

Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner zt’l[5] made the following observation: If someone were to ask what we are celebrating during the holiday of Shavuos, we would respond that on this day we received the Torah, which is analogous to light[6]. If someone were to ask what we are celebrating during the holiday of Purim, we would respond by quoting the words of the Megillah[7], “To the Jews there was light,” and the gemara explains[8] that that light refers to Torah. Thus Shavuos is a celebration of Torah which is light, while Purim is the celebration of light which refers to Torah. What is the depth behind that subtle difference?

The exodus from Egypt is considered the genesis of our nationhood. Until then we were an enslaved group lost in the morass of exile. But when we emerged triumphantly from the shackles of Egypt en route to receiving the Torah we underwent a drastic metamorphosis and became a nation. The exodus was the preparation for the new covenant which we agreed to at Sinai when we received the Torah. All subsequent redemptions served to preserve that original covenant, which was threatened in each exile.

The Zohar relates that the Torah and Klal Yisroel are inextricably bound, reflecting each other in many ways. There are two levels of growth in regards to proficiency in Torah study. One way is to learn new concepts and ideas. The other is to review and strengthen within one’s self ideas which he already learned but were somewhat forgotten over time.

The exodus from Egypt reflects the first level of growth, like one being exposed to new concepts and ideas in Torah which he never knew. The salvation in the time of Purim however, is analogous to the second level of growth. Although there may not be any new learning, an in depth review of what one already knew raises him to greater vistas of understanding and appreciation for the concepts he previously learned.

During the time of the Purim story Klal Yisroel reaccepted the Torah. It was the same Torah they accepted over a thousand years earlier at Sinai, but at that point they had a deeper and more significant understanding and attachment to the Torah. In this sense the celebration of Purim was not for something new but for something old that was renewed within them.

Based on this idea Rabbi Hutner explained that on Shavuos we received the Torah, which is analogous to light. On Purim however, we ‘discovered’ new light; a new light in the Torah we had accepted previously. Therefore, Shavuos is a holiday of Torah which is light, while Purim is a holiday of light which refers to Torah.

The Gemarah Ta’anis (29a) states the famous words, “Meeshenichnas Adar Marbin b’Simcha- When Adar arrives we increase our joy.”

There is a concept in halacha of “Ayn m’arvin simcha b’simcha - We do not ‘mix’/blend two different sources of joy. When there is cause for celebration our complete focus should be on that celebration. Therefore, we do not celebrate another event at the same time so as not to detract from the original celebration. For example, it is forbidden to get married during one of the major holidays. During the holidays our complete focus must be on the joy endemic joy to that holiday. The joy of a wedding would detract from the joy of the holiday.

It is therefore intriguing that the Rema rules that it is permitted to get married on Purim[9]. Why aren’t we afraid that the joy of the wedding will detract from the joy of Purim?

The Zev Yitrof[10] explains that the joy of Purim is not specific or exclusive. Rather, the focus of the day is to reach a state of sublime joy and devotion with G-d in any way one can. Purim celebrates the incredible story of the overturning of the decree calling for the annihilation of the Jewish people. Therefore, the holiday of Purim is the celebration of life itself! That joy is all inclusive. Any celebration that brings a person to feel that sublime level of rejoicing is part of the celebration of life itself. Therefore, a wedding would be permitted on Purim.

With this in mind we can understand the reason for our increased joy during the month of Adar. During the year our celebrations center around specific blessings in our life, such as our connection with Torah, specific blessing of G-d, a new house, or property, etc. All of those celebrations warrant the recital of the blessing “Shehechiyanu”[11]. During Adar however, we celebrate the fact that we can celebrate.

It is analogous to someone involved in a serious accident, who was rushed to the hospital and not given much chance for survival. Yet after months of surgeries, painful therapy, and slow recuperation, he miraculously has a complete recovery. When he walks out of the hospital for the first time everything is exciting. His ability to walk, to hear the birds chirping, to smell the fresh air, and to see people hurrying to their daily affairs, all feels like an incredible gift. It’s a joy of life itself, in every breath he takes. At least during that first day, he appreciates and cherishes everything he always took for granted.

The joy of Adar does not warrant the recitation of Shehechiyanu, because the joy of Adar is the blessing itself. It is a month-long celebration that He has, “kept us alive, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this time”. When Adar arrives we have an added awareness of the gift of life and that breeds a resurgent feeling of joy.

Our foremost nemesis, the nation of Amalek, attacked us soon after we had left Egypt. At that time we had achieved an almost invincible persona. After all the miracles Klal Yisroel had been privy to during the exodus and afterwards, no nation dared to attack or even threaten us. We were on a spiritually high level and felt extremely close to G-d as we prepared to accept the Torah. Just then Amalek attacked. Despite the fact that they were vanquished their mere attack had a profoundly negative impact. Our cloud of invincibility was gone and we ourselves felt weakened.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you left Egypt. Asher karcha baderech - He cut you off along the way…” The commentaries explain that the word ‘Karcha’ also means cooled. Our war with Amalek is eternal, and we are obligated to never forget what they did, for they cooled our enthusiasm, and quelled our passion. The nation which was so confident and proud suddenly doubted itself and its greatness. Amalek may have been defeated but they had achieved their objective. They had weakened our resolve and confidence.

It is the Amalek within ourselves that causes us to lack appreciation for the daily gifts of life. Conversely, it is the fires of inner passion and devotion which destroy the Amalek within ourselves.

Purim is not the celebration of something new, but a celebration of a new appreciation of what we always had, but heretofore failed to appreciate. On the highest level this refers to our reacceptance of Torah. But it is also a celebration of the gift of life which we don’t sufficiently ponder or appreciate.

It is well-known that it is far easier to diet and lose weight than it is to keep the weight off. It is one thing to receive a tremendous gift or achieve greatness. But the question is if it can be preserved.

Shavuos was our receipt and achievement of greatness. But at that point it was unclear whether we could keep it. Amalek sought to ensure that we would indeed be unable to preserve it. But Purim is the celebration of our vanquishing Amalek[12] by maintaining our greatness and appreciating it day in day out.

“When Adar arrives we increase our joy”

“To the Jews there was light”

To receive Stam Torah via email each week, send an email to:

stam-torah+subscribe@googlegroups.com



[1] With the exception of Rhode Island who refused to send delegates

[2] Later to be named ‘Independence Hall’

[3] Locke (Natural right to life, liberty, and property, and governments responsibility to protect those rights), Montesquieu (Separation of governmental power into three branches – legislative, executive, and judicial), and Rousseau (Social Contract; people are basically good but become corrupt by society).

[4] Introduction to Sefer Vayikra

[5] Pachad Yitzchok, Purim, Inyan 3

[6] Mishley 6:23

[7] Esther 8:16

[8] Megillah 16b

[9] Darchei Moshe 696

[10] Rabbi Zev Hoberman, Purim chelek 2

[11] Blessed are You Hashem… that You kept us alive, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this time.”

[12] Haman is a descendant of Amalek



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements