A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen
Parshat Tetzaveh & Purim 13 Adar 5764 March 6, 2004 Vol.13 No.24
In This Issue:
Josh Rossman and Shlomo Yaros
Halacha of the Week
Rabbi Chaim Jachter
Purim: Day of Joy
by Mr. Bryan Kinzbrunner
Every year, Jews around the world celebrate the holiday of
Purim. We go to synagogue, listen to the miraculous story of Jewish survival in
exile twice, go home, give gifts to people, both our neighbors and to the poor
and eventually sit down to a festive meal. The day itself is a day of joy. Of
course, as many know, the whole month of Adar is supposed to be one of joy,
culminating in this day of celebration. However, why should we joyful during
Adar? I can understand being joyful on Purim. G-d, through a hidden miracle,
saves the Jews from the plot of Haman to wipe out all Jews from Hodu to Cush.
But how is it that this joy carries out through the entire month, especially
before the 14th day of the month?
The Shlah (Shnei Luchot HaBrit), Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz, in his discussion on Masechet Megillah, discusses the happiness of Purim. One should approach the commandments of Purim with joy in one's heart because this joy will awaken in one's heart a connection with G-d. Purim is the day when the Jews finish accepting the Torah, which Rava says (Shabbat 85a) finished in the days of Ahashverosh, for it says in Megillat Esther: "Qimu V'Qiblu HaYihudim." In other words, we accept that which we already received.
It is the day of Purim when we become a nation accepting, without outside influence, the Torah as presented by G-d to Moses on Har Sinai. We rejoice over not simply our survival, but also for completing the acceptance of Torah. Our happiness is like the happiness we experience every year on Simchat Torah, the day we complete the reading of the yearly cycle of the Hamisha Humshei Torah. Therefore, the joy of Adar is the joy of anticipating this day of completion and then the affects afterwards, when we spend the remainder of the month, post Purim, in preparation for Passover, the celebration of our redemption. And it is fitting that the preparation for Pesach consists not only of cleaning and baking, but also of learning, starting 30 days before the festival, the laws of Passover. Therefore, may our Purim be joyous and may that joy continue to guide us until Passover, where we are obligated to see ourselves as if we were redeemed from slavery.
A Cohen's Clothing
The Importance of Ner Tamid
by Uri Carl
In the beginning of Parshat Tetzaveh, Hashem commands Moshe to light a continuous candle, "Lehaalot Ner Tamid." However, the question is what does "Tamid" mean?
Rashi explains "Tamid" as being lit every night from evening until morning. However, the Ramban disagrees and says this candle, the western candle, is lit 24 hours a day, not only at night. The Kli Yakar, quoting the Yalkut, adds that and says this western candle was always lit by way of a miracle. This candle is the closest to the Kodesh Hakodashim, Hashem's Shechinah, and it is a demonstration of Hashem's presence among us. However, there is still one question that can be asked; in what way does the Ner Tamid represent Hashem's Shechinah?
Perhaps one may answer that often when Hashem's Shchinah is among us, it is expressed with light or fire. For example, when Hashem appears to Moshe, He appears as a burning bush. When Hashem appears at Har Sinai, He shows himself as lightning and fire. So too in our Parsha, when Hashem wishes to demonstrate his presence in the Mishkan, it is by way of an everlasting candle.
The windows of the Beit Hamikdash were formed to be narrow toward the sanctuary and wide towards the outside. This was done to show that the light of the sun did not light the Mikdash, but rather the ever-present holiness of Hashem miraculously lit the Ner Tamid.
Haman, Arur Mordechai
by Josh Rossman and Shlomo Yaros
In addition to the four Mitzvot of Purim, there is an additional Halacha that one should drink on Purim, until he cannot differentiate between the phrases, "Arur Haman" and "Baruch Mordechai" (Megilla 7b). The Gemara states in accordance with Rava that there is, in fact, a Mitzvah to drink on Purim. This opinion, in the Gemara, is followed by an ambiguous story. This story can either be understood as a support to this opinion, or as a refutation. In this story Rabba and Rabbi Zaira were eating together for the Purim Seudah, and Rabba killed Rabbi Zaira in a drunken rage. The following morning Rabbi Zaira was reincarnated after Rabba prayed on his behalf. The next year, Rabbi Zaira was invited to eat his Seudat Purim with Rabba, but Rabbi Zaira suggested that they dine separately because he feared Rabba might kill him again, and a miracle is not likely to be repeated. In interpretation of this Gemara, many Rishonim having differing opinions as to the classification of the Mitzvah of drinking on Purim.
The Rif, a Sephardic Rishon, in interpreting the Gemara on 6b omits the story of Rabba and Rabbi Zayra. The apparent reason why the Rif leaves out this story is that he believes that there is a Mitzvah to drink on Purim. The Rav interprets the Rif's opinion in two ways. One way is that the story of Rabba and Rabbi Zaira happened prior to the ruling of Rava, and therefore if Rava nonetheless ruled that there is a Mitzvah, then there is obviously a Mitzvah to drink.
The Meiri, another Rishon, has a differing opinion as to the Mitzvah of drinking. He believes that we should be Mesameach through other means, and should not get drunk on Purim. The reason he holds like this is that drinking is a frivolous form of Simcha, and that is not how one should celebrate Purim. The story of Rabba and Rabbi Zaira appears to support this view.
A third Rishon, the Avudraham, presents a seemingly ambiguous classification of the Mitzvah. He states that in places where drinking is not common, it is permitted to get drunk on Purim as they have very low tolerance, and do not need to consume much wine in order to get drunk. In places were drinking is very common, such as the country in which the Avudraham lived, it is not permissible for one to get drunk, as one would have to consume a disgusting amount of wine to get drunk.
Although there is a Halacha of drinking on Purim, it is often misunderstood and abused. The first aspect of this Halacha which must be understood is that there is no Mitzvah to drink liquor, as this Halacha only applies to wine as implied by Rashi and the Rambam. Another misconception often incorporated with this Halacha is that drinking does not apply to the nighttime, but rather only during the Purim Seudah. The Mitzvah of drinking is trivial in comparison to other Mitzvot of the day such as Davening, Tefillin, Megillah, etc. and should not compromise the fulfillment of these Mitzvot. It is suggested by the Rama that if one does drink, they should drink only a little more than that which they drink for kiddush on Shabbat, and should than go to sleep, thereby fulfilling the Mitzvah and not compromise one's safety.
-Adapted from Shiur given by Rabbi Ezra Wiener in TABC.
Halacha of the Week
One should recite Al haNissim in Birkat HaMazon even if one's Seudat Purim lasts well into the night (Shulchan Aruch 695:3 and see Teshuvot Yechave Da'at 3:55). However, since some opinions argue that if one has recited Maariv after Purim he is no longer eligible to recite Al Hanissim at the Purim S'udah, the Mishna Brura (695:16) urges us to recite Birkat Hamazon (including Al Hanissim) before reciting Maariv.
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