This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
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There is a very strong connection between this week's Torah portion and the 'Megilla' (Book of Esther) that we read on the joyous holiday of Purim (which this year falls out immediately after this Shabbat).
First of all, this week's Torah portion is the only book of the Pentateuch after Moses' birth that does not mention Moses' name.
And the 'Megilla' is the only book of the Bible (after Genesis) that does not mention G-d's name.
Secondly, this week's portion opens with an eternal commandment; lighting the Menorah forever (27:20).
Similarly reading the Megilla is an eternal commandment (See Rambam, hil. Magila 2:18).
Finally, this week's section deals with the Temple which is never-ending (Moshiach will build the Third Temple).
And the Megilla deals with Purim which is also never- ending (see Rambam ibid).
What is so special about the Megilla and Purim that makes them eternal and what has it got to do with G-d's and Moses' names not appearing?
To understand this here is a story.
The first one I heard from Rabbi Meir Abesara. Some three hundred years ago a G-d fearing Jewish couple came before the Baal Shem Tov with a tragic story.
Their son had changed his religion. He always was a different sort of child that never could get enough attention and when he wasn't the center of attraction he was miserable.
His parents and teachers tried their best but to no avail. When they called on other students or paid attention to his siblings he was enraged.
So when the missionaries came around he was easy prey. They gave him unlimited attention and did everything possible to snare his Jewish soul even.
His parents saw what was happening but were helpless to stop him until one day he was gone - no one even knew where he went.
Now they were standing before the Baal Shem Tov and asking for his help.
"But it's not easy for us to cry." The father said. "To tell you the truth we are really angry. How could he do such a terrible thing? Such a sin?
"And after all we've done for him" His mother chimed in.
"To tell you the truth he gave us so much aggravation that we have stopped mentioning his name in the house and we almost hope he won't return." The father continued. "But we haven't completely given up. And that's why we're here. Maybe you can take this insanity from his mind."
The Baal Shem Tov waited a few seconds and answered.
"If you want him to return only your love will bring him back. You have to love him even more than before."
The parents left the room in a daze. How would it be possible to love someone that disappointed them so deeply and totally? Who has become a stranger… an enemy!!?" But they decided to give it a try.
Every morning they both woke early and said the entire book of Psalms for their son and the rest of the day mentioned his name with love and admiration in the home. But with no results.
Then, late one stormy winter night months later the wind began howling and whistling outside with such fierceness that they couldn't sleep. It seemed as though the world outside was falling apart and that at any moment their old wood hut would fall apart. Suddenly they heard a loud thud at the door… as though a large animal was trying to enter.
But then they heard a faint knocking sound. It was hard to make it out over the screaming wind but… there it was again… unmistakable knocking, someone was out there. Someone wanted to come in.
The man went to the door, lifted the bolt, braced himself and as soon as he turned the key clouds of snow and ice thundered like a hurricane in and with them a person!!!
But then, unexplainably, the storm suddenly seemed to die down and it was no problem to close and bolt the door shut again.
The person was shivering like a leaf and crying like a baby. They lifted his hood and revealed… their son!
It took a while before he thawed out and calmed down. He explained that he had become disgusted with the Church and their ideas but the priests wouldn't let him go. In fact they locked him in a room high in some monastery and said they would never release him till he 'repented'.
Then, just as he thought that all was lost suddenly a powerful wind began to blow through the high window of his cell so powerfully that it burst the door open, swept him through it and carried him for miles till it slammed him against the front door of ….. home!
As the Besh't advised; their love brought him back!
The second story is about the pupil and successor of the Baal Shem Tov.. Rebbe Dov Ber 'the Maggid' of Mezeritz.
The Maggid was an intensely holy person who slept only moments each night and was constantly involved in Torah, Prayer or deep contemplation.
He had some sixty holy pupils each a genius with Ruach HaKodesh (divine intuition) and versed in all the books of Judaism that took turns serving him.
Once, when it was the turn of the famous Tzadik Rabbi Elimelech of Lezinsk the Maggid suddenly broke out of an unusually deep reverie of contemplation in which he was completely detached from this physical world, turned to him and said.
"Elimelech, do you hear what they are saying in the heavenly court? They are saying that the commandment of 'Loving another Jew' (Lev. 19:18) means that to love a complete sinner just like you love a complete Tzadik."
Afterward when Reb Elimelech told the other Chassidim what the Maggid said they decided that from then on they would change their priorities, widen their horizons and devote more time and energy to wayward Jews.
Both of these stories have the same point. We must rise above not only our normal egos… but even above our spiritual 'religious' egos. Only then can we really 'accept' the Torah.
The Torah can be used to unite the Jewish people or the opposite. Therefore it is called the elixir of life or the opposite of life (Yoma 72:b). Namely; when the Torah is treated as part of the world (even the spiritual part) then, like the world, it is limited and divides between one Jew and another.
But if the Torah is taken as what it really is… the will of the CREATOR; above ALL creation. Then it transcends all divisions and unites.
The problem is that in order to do this we too must rise above our natures …. as the Besh't and the Maggid instructed in the above stories….even our 'religious' natures.
And, in fact, until the holiday of Purim some 900 years after the giving of the Torah the Jews did not get this point. (see Shabbos 88a)
Until then Judaism was a sort of spiritual business proposition to get the biggest profits out of this world as well as the next (as it is to some Jews even today).
But on that first Purim the Jews rose above this. They were given one full year to escape the decree of, "Exterminate all the Jews in one day etc" (Esther 3:13) by just declaring themselves not Jews. (Haman's decree hung over their heads one year before the miracle of Purim)
But for that entire year not even one Jew even considered the idea of leaving Judaism, although they had nothing to gain … except the truth!!
And that truth that they attained for the first time in history is the essence of the Torah, the essence of the Jewish soul and the essence of G-d. Namely that G-d, the Torah and the Jewish people are 'above' the creation and exist only to bring blessing, unity and joy into the creation.
This is the point of the Torah that unifies and enlivens all Jews and it is above any 'names' or aspects of G-d. Rather it touches at the very essence of G-d. Therefore there are no names of G-d found in the Magilla.
And similarly in this week's section lacks the name of Moshe for the same reason. It begins with G-d calling Moshe 'You'; implying the very essence of Moses, above any names.
And therefore Moshe got the eternal commandments of lighting the Menora and building the Temple to illuminate and unify the entire world with G-dliness.
Incidentally, this is why one must get drunk on Purim until he doesn't know the difference between Haman and Mordechi. (Aruch Chiam 695:2). Because we must learn to serve G-d for no logical reason neither for fear of punishment nor desire for reward… only because it is true.
And this will be the accomplishment of Moshiach; to lead, unify, educate and enliven our entire generation, young and old, Jew and gentile (seven Noahide commandments) in the light of the Torah and the Creator with JOY above all limits. Just as the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught, did and is still doing.
Wishing you all a Happy, Holy, Purim with Moshiach NOW!!!
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