Purim is a time of great simcha. It's a lot of fun. We make jokes, dress up..... good times. Thats how we express the simcha that we feel on Purim. But that simcha has a deeper source.

The Torah tells us that when we received the Torah at Mt Sinai that "they encamped in the base of the mountain" (Shmot 19:17). At first glance, we would just understand this to mean that they encamped next to the bottom of the mountain. But that's not what the verse says. It says in the bottom of the mountain, not next to the base of the mountain. As a general lesson, whenever you see a strange word being used in the Torah, or a word that is seemingly in the wrong place - it should jump out at you like a billboard saying "Hey!!!! Something is strange here and there is a reason for it!!!" Perhaps they did encamp next to the mountain, like we originally assumed, but clearly the Torah is trying to teach us a deep insight here by its cryptic word choice.

Our Sages explain that in a way, we were forced to receive the Torah at Mt Sinai. It was as if Hashem lifted up Mt Sinai, held it over our heads, and said 'If you accept My Torah - good, if not - this will be your funeral.' That's what the Torah is trying to convey to us by saying that we incamped in the base of the mountain, instead of next to it.

In what way were we forced to accept the Torah at Mt Sinai? Because when Hashem appears to you, with miracles and a booming voice that is so powerful you simply can't handle it, you're not going to say "ummm.....excuse me God, I have a dentist appointment in half an hours time and I really have to get going. Can you come back next Tuesday maybe?" You just won't. When something like that occurs, you don't really have a choice to accept what He says. To do anything else would just be crazy. Similarly, you don't have a choice to believe whether I exist or not. You've met me before! I'm sending you this email! You could deny I exist (I can't imagine why you would want to...), but you would be being crazy if you did so. The same is true of our receiving the Torah at Mt Sinai. Our ancestors didn't really have a choice whether to accept it or not. They would have been mad not to.

On Purim the story was different. The Jewish people faced annihilation. They couldn't see Hashem clearly, surrounded in pillars of smoke with a booming voice announcing the different mitzvot of the Torah for all to hear. All they could see was Haman trying to destroy them. At that point they could have walked away from Hashem and tried to deal with the situation somehow without asking Hashem for help, but they didn't. They realised He is the source of their survival, and they spent three days praying and fasting for Hashem's help before they went to war against Haman and his followers, Amalek, to defend themselves. The Talmud says on Purim the Jewish People re-accepted the Torah, because this was the first time since Mt Sinai that there were no miracles and prophecy to remind us clearly all the time that Hashem was with us, and yet we still turned towards Him in our hour of need, instead of away.

The Talmud says (Tractate Brachot 7a) that you can tell someone off for doing something wrong 100 times, and it's still not as good or effective as him telling himself off once. Sometimes we need to come to realisations ourselves, without being told them all the time by someone else. When it comes from within it is so much more meaningful. Our acceptance of the Torah on Purim was greater than that one that occurred on Mt Sinai, because we chose, ourselves, without any pressure, that we wanted that Torah and that connection to Hashem.

Hopefully this Purim, or even afterwards, whenever is the right time, we can all form a closer relationship with Hashem by deciding from within, ourselves, each individual, to build that relationship. And until then, we can definitely feel the simcha, joy, and celebration, of remembering when our ancestors did just that in Shushan - when the going got tough, the tough turned to Hashem.

Purim Sameach!

Add comment

Have something to say?
Please make your comment below!
All comments are reviewed prior to publication. Absolutely NO loshon hara or anything derogatory or hurtful to anyone will be permitted on the website.

Security code