On Motza’ei Shabbos, February 23, Rabbi Daniel Glatstein, rav of Kehillas Ahavas Yisrael, shared a fascinating Purim shiur hosted by Chazaq at Congregation Nachlas Yitzchok.
Rabbi Glatstein began by pointing out the references to Purim that are built into the Havdalah service. We say the line from the Megillah, “For the Jews there was light and joy, and happiness and honor.” This is the only line that everyone repeats.
“Every Motza’ei Shabbos we are repeating the miracle of Purim,” he taught. He shared a halachah that you are supposed to add hadasim to your spices for Havdalah. This is a remez to Esther, who was also Hadasah.
The order of Havdalah blessings move up our body, so to speak. It starts with the wine (the mouth), and then it moves up with the spices to the nose, and finally it ends with the head, when we declare that Hashem separates the holy from the profane.
Also, the Chasam Sofer taught that the two wicks remind him of the two luminaries from the time of Purim: Mordechai and Esther. So, every Motza’ei Shabbos we are reminded of the Purim miracle.
Rabbi Glatstein asked how one acquires happiness. The first Rama in the Shulchan Aruch says that you should dwell next to Hashem always. The Shulchan Aruch concludes that someone who has a good heart is always happy.
“If you want to be always happy, always place Hashem in front of you.” Rabbi Glatstein emphasized, “If you place Hashem in front of you always, you will always be happy.”
He then shared that talking during davening is a way of saying Hashem is not here.
The last chapter of the Megillah says that Achashveirosh placed taxes on all the lands. Why is this mentioned in the Megillah? Rav Yechezkel Abramsky taught that no detail was written for historical background. Every detail was written to magnify the miracle of Purim. The Brisker Rav taught that this line about the taxes is the biggest miracle of the Megillah.
Rabbi Glatstein then explained this. Hashem says to our enemies: “You make a plan against us and I’ll use it against you.” There are many examples of this in the Purim story and in other areas of Tanach. For example, Haman went to the King to ask him to hang Mordechai. Haman explained that he had prepared the gallows for him. Why does it say for him? Haman prepared it for Haman. Hashem took Haman’s plan and hijacked it. He used it against Haman.
Another example of this is the Navi Ovadyah who was a convert descended from Edom. He was the one who prophesied the fall of Edom. Rabbi Glatstein taught, “Hashem shows His power to the rasha. I’ll use you to destroy you.” He offered the analogy that the handle of an ax is wood and it’s used to cut down the wood of trees.
Still another example is Pharoah, who made a decree to throw all the Jewish baby boys into the Nile in order to prevent a savior from being born. Ironically, he groomed and raised the Jewish savior in his own palace. Basya brought Moshe there. Hashem planned this, as growing up in the palace endowed Moshe with good self-esteem. “You think you are going to stop the Jewish savior. You are going to groom him.”
In the Purim story, the King asks advice of his astrologers and advisors about what to do with the Queen Vashti situation as she wasn’t obeying his order. The law in Persia was that he had to ask advice when there was a matter concerning himself. He couldn’t make a unilateral decision. Haman advised him that this is a stupid law and he should change the law. From now on, when the law is relevant to the King, he can make his own decision. Rabbi Glatstein pointed out, “So, Haman just killed himself.”
When the King saw Haman made a misstep with Esther during the party, he didn’t have to ask his advisors. He just said, “Send him to the gallows.”
Next, Rabbi Glatstein shared that posters hung all over Persia said to beware of this date, but they didn’t say it was a day to kill Jews. Haman didn’t want it written so that the Jews would discover his plan. This played perfectly for the Jews. When Esther revealed to the King that Haman wanted to kill her people, since it wasn’t written on the posters, this made it possible for the King to decree that the Jews could defend themselves. So, every time Haman gave the King advice to forward his own interests and to go against the Jews, it backfired on him.
Later, in Sefer Ezra, Dar’yavesh, the son of Esther and Achashveirosh, financed the building of the Beis HaMikdash. He said that he would give all the tax money to fund it. How did Dar’yavesh have so much money? Rabbi Glatstein pointed out that he was the son of Achashveirosh and got that money from the tax money mentioned at the end of the Megillah. Achashveirosh taxed all the countries and Dar’yavesh inherited it. Achashveirosh took out all the keilim of the Beis HaMikdash to celebrate that the Beis HaMikdash will not be rebuilt. Hashem used this party to eventually produce a child who would finance its rebuilding.
Rabbi Glatstein shared a teaching of Rav Chaim Volozhin. We are not living in a time of open miracles, so Hashem says that the clearest way to show Himself is using the plans of the r’sha’im to bring salvation to the Jewish people. “When we see how Hashem is so involved, so entwined in saving us, we see that Hashem is always with us. Everything you look at, you see yad Hashem.”
He explained that the highest level is when you realize that Hashem is part of you.
This beautiful shiur can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber