You Can’t Handle the Truth! by Yonah Rossman


Next week Klal Yisrael will have the opportunity to hear Megillat Esther. The word “Megillah” is very similar in spelling to the word “Galui,” meaning open, or very evident to the open eye. Conversely, the word “Esther” is similar to “Seter,” hidden. The name of the Megillah might actually have more significance than it would at first seem, as we can derive from the contrasting words “Galui” and “Seter.” The title is capable of representing the uncovering of the covered, or perhaps a great truth that has been hitherto hidden.

In this week’s Parashah we learn about the gold-coated Aron HaKodesh. However, with this beauty comes limitations. Only one individual, namely the Kohen Gadol, is able to behold its splendor. Even more so, he is allowed to enter only on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. In accordance with the extreme measure of sanctity, if one were to see Hashem’s face (Kivyachol) he would die, as it is beyond mere human ability. It appears from the two aforementioned facts are that the grandest things are nearly impossible to contain.

The Gemara (Chagigah 14b) similarly tells of four great Chachamim who all went to heaven in a dream, and only one returned alive and sane: Rabbi Akiva. This helps us see that most human beings can grasp only so much, and only immensely holy people such as Rabbi Akiva can even begin to comprehend these exulted places and sights. Perhaps Hashem will not show his full glory in the Olam HaSheker for the sake of us all, because it would be too grand to handle.

This idea also has relevance to Megillat Esther. Megillat Esther encourages belief in HaKadosh Baruch Hu in both good and seemingly bad times. The Jews during the generation of Purim are very similar to modern-day Jews. Both face existential threats from Persia, which is modern-day Iran. The Jews of Persia united, fasted, and prayed until Hashem saved them, as He always does. We can connect this to one of the short phrases found in a passage which we say early in the morning every day: “LeOlam Yehei Adam Yerei Shamayim BeSeter UVaGalui.” This literally means, “forever one should be God fearing in private or in public.” Yet I believe that this phrase can be understood in another way, similar to the lesson that we learn from Megillat Esther: Even when times are that of “Seter,” uncertainty, and our sight of the future is cloudy, we should be as God-fearing as we are during times of “Galui,” when Hashem’s presence is obvious.

Multiple Metallic Mishkans by Josh Lehman

Details, Details by Yakir Forman