A THOUGHT FOR PURIM

By Rabbi Shwab Shlit”a

There are two mitzvos which are connected with the festival of Purim.

1) Remembering the cruelty of Amalek, and the obligation to annihilate him. This is done by reading Parshas Zachor on the Shabbos the Shabbos before Purim, and the K’rias Hatorah on Purim.

2) The rejoicing of Purim, an entire day of eating, drinking and partying etc..

Seemingly the only connection between these two mitzvos is the fact that Haman was a direct descendant of Amalek. The downfall of Haman is the cause of the simcha of Purim. There however doesn’t seem to be any direct connection between the actual observance of the two mitzvos (wiping out Amalek and being b’simcha on Purim).

There is a slight difficulty in understanding the mitzvah of being b’simcha. How could there be a command to be happy, either one is happy or he isn’t?

There is a mitzvah to read K’rias Sh’ma every morning and every evening, and to accept upon ourselves the yoke of Hashem’s reign. In K’rias Sh’ma we say “You should love Hashem”, and again a similar question pops up. How can there be a command to love Hashem either we love him or not? In this case the Torah tells us we have to love Hashem by putting the mitzvos of Hashem first. According to the amount of our acceptance of His mitzvos and His Torah, so will be our love to Hashem. Accepting can be in many different ways. It could be accepting some mitzvos which we are still weak with. It could also be accepting the situation in life that a person is in. By realizing that everything that happens to a person is decreed from Heaven, a person will be happy with his lot. Giving ourselves away for Hashem, changing our nature, habits etc. controlling our desires is that which will bring us to love Hashem.

The same can be said with regard to Purim. In the current era, not being sure which nation is Amalek, there is no physical war against Amalek. However, there is a major battle against the spiritual Amalek. This Amalek is the Yetzer horo within us. All the bad within us comes from the spiritual Amalek. It is this Amalek, which prevents us from getting closer to Hashem and his Torah. The real rejoicing on Purim is a simcha shel mitzvah, the happiness of getting close to Hashem. It is our duty on this holy day, to work on destroying the Amalek within us. The more we accomplish this mission of destroying the Amalek within us, the closer we get to Hashem and the more we can rejoice on Purim.

May Hashem enable us to get closer to Him and rejoice properly on Purim.

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