I hope that you will enjoy the following Parsha summary followed by a Dvar Torah on Purim;
” Parsha in a Nutshell “
G-d tells Moshe to command the Jewish People to supply pure olive oil for the menorah in the Mishkan(Tent of Meeting). He also tells Moshe to organize the making of the bigdei kehuna(priestly garments): A breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban, a sash, a forehead-plate, and linen trousers. Upon their completion, Moshe is to perform a ceremony for seven days to consecrate Aharon and his sons. This includes offering sacrifices, dressing Aharon and his sons in their respective garments, and anointing Aharon with oil. G-d commands that every morning and afternoon a sheep be offered on the altar in the Mishkan. G-d commands that an altar for incense be built from acacia wood and covered with gold. Aharon and his descendants should burn incense on this altar every day.
“ Purim, the Festival of Unity “
Every Jewish Festival or Holiday, has a theme to it and comes with a “message”. For example, Pesach is all about eating Matzot and remembering the Exodus. Its’ message: Be grateful to Hashem who took you out of Egypt from slavery with strong arms and chose you to be his Chosen People.
Sukkot, is all about leaving the comfort of our homes and going to live in a temporary “Hut”, so that we realize that our comfortable homes and all of our belongings, are all because of Hashem’s generosity and not because of our own intelligence and hard work!
Shavuot, is all about receiving the Torah and realizing that we are Hashem’s chosen people and we are obligated to follow his commandments.
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is all about repentance. Once a year, we have to ask for forgiveness from Hashem, for all the sins that we have committed in previous year, and try our best not to repeat them again.
Chanukkah is the festival of lights. Its message is to show us that even at the darkest point in our lives, Hashem does not abandon us, and there is always a light at the end of a tunnel.
So, what is the theme for Purim and what message does it carry with it? Some people may think that it’s only a Festival for the children. They put costumes on them and they send out bags of candies to their friends. Others might think it’s a Holiday just to have fun. It’s time to party, dance and get drunk for some unknown reason?!
But surely, there has to be something more informative about the Festival of Purim?! After a short research, I came across a drasha given by Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetsky which explains the theme of Purim. He says that the true message of Purim can be found in the Megillah itself!
The story of the Megillah occurred in 4th century BCE. King Achashverosh ruled over the Persian Empire which extended over 127 provinces (countries). King Achashverosh had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders. He then orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to reveal her identity. Meanwhile, Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews and Esther’s cousin, defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Because of Mordechai’s disrespect, Haman got very angry and decided to exterminate all of the Jews, who all lived under King Achashverosh’s ruling at the time.
In order to convince the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews, Haman came to the King with the following argument: ” There is ONE nation scattered among your people in all of your provinces. They have their own laws, and they don’t even obey the King’s law.”
Rabbi Kamenetsky says that the same argument Haman used for asking to kill the Jews, is also the reason for their salvation. The key word here is “ONE”! The Jews were scattered across the 127 provinces of King Achashverosh jurisdiction which was almost the whole world of the time, but they were all united as ONE nation. They all prayed together, they all fasted together and they really cared about each other. Queen Esther was even ready to give up her life, in order to save the lives of the other Jews!! And because of the unity and the love that they had for one another, Hashem saved them from the wicked hands of Haman and his followers, and they became victorious over their enemy!
Yes my friends, the message of Purim is quite clear! Purim is a Festival of unity and friendship!! When we are united, there are no kings or leaders in the world that could defeat us. Hashem is always with us when we are united. The Festival of Purim is the time to bring us closer to each other. It is the time to show our love for one another and to show that we care about ALL the Jews across the world and not just the ones in our own community! In the whole Megillah, there is no mention of Hashem’s name, not even once! Maybe it’s because during this Festival, Hashem wants us to get closer to each other, rather than to get closer to Him! It’s a Holiday for us Jews to bond together!! That’s why the main Mitzvot of this Holiday is to give gifts, preferably to a distance friend, and give charity to the people in need. It’s the time to get rid of all the grudges and find the way to become close to those people who we have distance ourselves from!! It’s a time to find a way to people’s heart and love everyone we know! And that’s what Purim is all about!
So my friends, let us celebrate Purim this year with a different attitude. Let’s find it in our hearts to love every other Jew. Let’s drink, dance and party together. But keep in mind that the reason for our celebration is not because we just want to have fun, but rather, the main reason is that we really do care about each other!
Shabbat Shalom, Purim Sameach & Regards;