A THOUGHT FOR PURIM 5758 - 98

By Rabbi Shwab Shlit”a

The Gemora says (Shabbos 88a) on the Posuk "and they stood beneath the mountain" (Shmos 19), that HaShem forced the mountain over Klall Yisroel and told them if you will accept the Torah, then good, and if not then this will be your burial place. The Gemora continues stating that if Klall Yisroel will come to be judged and will be asked why they did not keep the Torah they will have an answer. Their original acceptance of the Torah was under coercion and thus not binding. The Gemora continues and says nevertheless the Torah was accepted again in the days of Achasverosh, out of the love of the miracle which G-d did for them.

Tosfos ask "Don't we know that the Jews said "Naaseh V'nishma" which means we will do and then listen? Doesn't this show that they accepted the Torah out of love even at Har Sinai? Why did we have to wait until the days of Achahvarosh? Tosfos answers that when they saw the great fire and their Neshamas left them they may have changed their mind. One has to understand what really was the difference between the acceptance at Har Sinai and at Purim. Why at the mountain was there a fear that it would not be everlasting even though they had just come out of seeing all the miracles in Egypt and at the sea? At Purim there was no such fear. Were they not both accepted?

The answer is that there is a great difference how the Jews accept the Torah. There is an acceptance out of fear and trembling as it was at the mountain. It is true they accepted the Torah but there is always a chance that if one accepts it like that as a burden, out of pressure, one may not be able to keep up the burden. He may one day change his mind and say this is too much for me and I cannot bear the stress. But when one accepts the Torah out of the love because of the miracle, it will have a much deeper and lasting effect. Such a feeling of acceptance will never be changed because the feeling of the love of the miracle will always be remembered and that will give him the courage to continue to keep going on.

This is a great lesson that we can learn from Purim. The entire day is doing Mitzvos out of love, the Seuda, the Shaloach Manos, the giving to the poor, all immediately after the reading of the Megilla which is the remembering of the love of the miracles. All this teaches us that when we do a Mitzva we should not do it out of obligation alone, not only out of fear of gratitude, out of Naaseh V’nishma alone, but out of enjoyment, pleasure, willingness, a smile, and effort to do extra and not just enough because I have to. Our Mitzvos then will be lasting, and our children will enjoy them and want to copy us because they will see Judaism is a pleasure, then we will be keeping the Torah the correct way.

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