Divrei Yoel - Purim 2

1. "...and his name was Mordechai, son of Yair, son of Shimmi, son of Kish..." (Megillas Ester, 2:5)

When first introduced in the Megillah, Mordechai Hatzaddik's genealogy is recorded for three generations. Why? Perhaps, we can find an answer in the words of the Divrei Yoel (Hakdamah to Divrei Yoel, Sheilos U'teshuvos, p.31). The Gemara in Moed Katan (17a) teaches that one should seek Torah from a rebbe only if he is like an angel of Hashem. What does this mean? The Rebbe, ZY"A, gives a very powerful answer. He explains that if a rabbi of today aspires to be similar to the tzaddikim of the past, who were on such a high spiritual level that they appeared like angels of Hashem, then seek Torah from his mouth. However, if a rabbi today thinks that he is smarter and more learned than his predecessors, and seeks to change what they established, do not seek Torah from his mouth.

Thus, perhaps we can understand that Mordechai was a tzaddik who sought to connect with the previous generations, as evidenced by the Megillah's listing of his genealogy, and it was this connection that gave him the strength to stand up against the floods of heresy that were pervasive in his time. It gave him the fortitude to stand as the lone voice, speaking out against the heretical, idolatrous feast of Achasveirosh. Chazal tell us that Achashveirosh tailored his feast to be "Jew-friendly" in order to entice the Jews into participating, and not only participating, but also to feel comfortable in doing so. Mordechai, however, saw through the facade of friendship. He saw through the mask to what this feast actually was: a dangerous pitfall of heresy.

2. One of the reasons we fast on Taanis Ester is to commemorate the fast undertaken by the Jewish people in the days of Mordechai and Ester before going out to battle their enemies. (See Mishnah Berurah to Shulchan Aruch, Siman 686, se'if 2.) The Mishnah Berurah tells us that this fast is supposed to remind us that Hashem hears our cry and helps us when we return to Him sincerely in fasting and prayer. This is how the Jewish people always conducted themselves before going out to battle. This is a special characteristic of the Jewish nation. We do not pride ourselves on guns and bombs, but rather on the strength of our connection to Hashem. It is upon Him, and only Him, that we rely.

The Divrei Yoel, when discussing Chanukah, makes another interesting point regarding the way a Jewish army is conducted. (This is, of course, only applicable during a time when the Jewish nation is not in exile since now it is forbidden to have a Jewish army at all.) In the "Al Hanissim" prayer recited during Shemonah Esrei and Birchas Hamazon on Chanukah, we praise Hashem for "delivering the...impure into the hands of the pure, the evil into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those occupied with your Torah." The Divrei Yoel explains that the fact that the evil were given into the hands of the righteous was a core element of the miracle. The Jewish army consisted solely of righteous, Torah-true Jews. The Rebbe continues, explaining from several Gemara, that for the righteous to fight in the same army as the wicked, even for a war that is a mitzvah, is forbidden. (Heard from R' Yitzchok Kolakovsky)

It would seem apparent that the Jewish army in the time of the Purim story was indeed a righteous army, as evidenced by the fact that before going out to battle, they fasted and did teshuvah. Since they were righteous, Hashem helped them, and they triumphed over their enemies. This stands in stark contrast to the Zionist rhetoric that today we have a "Jewish army", i.e., the Israeli army. This is a lie! We do NOT have a Jewish army. Rather, in the Zionist state there exists a heretical army that stands against Hashem and His Holy Torah. While in exile, it is forbidden to have an army, and certainly an army like the IDF, which is nothing but a satanical arm of the evil Zionist kingdom.

3. Chazal famously tell us that one who studies the laws of the korbanos is considered as though he actually brought them. This is, understandably, a tremendous positive for us, helping us to achieve atonement and gain merit, just as the actual, physical korbanos did. Additionally, there may be another, all-encompassing benefit that studying about the korbanos brings. The Divrei Yoel (Chiddushei Torah Mesibos, Baha'alos'cha p. 148) famously says that it is better to bow down to an idol 100 times in a day than to learn the Zionist language of Ivrit for even one moment. The Rebbe is telling us something very powerful here. The Rebbe is telling us the extent of the heresy of Zionism. It is obvious from the above that Zionism is far, far worse than regular idolatry, which is, of course, in and of itself, one of the worst aveiros in the Torah. In fact, the Rebbe, ZY"A, was known to state this explicitly, decrying Zionism and the Zionist state as the Satan incarnate and many times worse than idolatry. (In his introduction to Vayoel Mose, the Rebbe states that if all the sins of the entire generation and of the whole world were placed on one side, and the Zionist state was placed on the other side, the Zionist state would outweigh all the other sins since it is the source of the worst defilement in the world.)

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the Beis Hamikdash, the ultimate in opposition to idolatry. The Beis Hamikdash was the pinnacle of Torah-true service of Hashem and the Jewish people's greatest spiritual inspiration. The constant mention of the Beis Hamikdash and the korbanos in our tefillos is eloquent testimony to the overriding importance that the Beis Hamikdash and korbanos have in our lives, even today in exile.

Perhaps, we can now understand more deeply the statement of Chazal that one who studies the laws of korbanos is considered to have offered them. Possibly, Chazal were telling us the tremendous, tremendous spiritual levels that are attainable for one who studies and internalizes the concept of the Beis Hamikdash: total commitment to Hashem, and by extension, a complete rejection of idolatry, and certainly Zionism, which is many times worse than idolatry. We must also understand, through our study of korbanos, that it was Hashem, and only Hashem, who sent us into galus, and it will be He, and only He, who will redeem us; we must not attempt to redeem ourselves. If we learn Torah and carry the message of the korbanos with us we will surely merit the final, true redemption, speedily in our days. Amein!

4. "...you shall wipe out the memory of Amaleik from beneath the heaven; do not forget!" (Devarim 25:19)
The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, brings in his sefer Al Hageulah v'al Hatemurah (Siman 61) an interesting point that helps us to understand the practical application of this mitzvah today. The Rebbe quotes R' Elchonon Wasserman, ZT"L, who, in turn, quotes the Chofetz Chaim, who states that the Zionists are the true Amaleik. Now this seems strange. How can Jews be Amaleik? The Rebbe explains that even though the Zionists are Jews, the source of their neshamos is Amaleik. Hence, in our times, it is our responsibility to fight this heresy with all our might.

***

Taking this a step further, perhaps we can suggest the following: We all know that one of the biggest inyanim of Purim is the blotting out of the memory of Amaleik. One aspect of the day of Purim seem to bring out this point especially strongly, guiding us on the way to fight and destroy Amaleik. There is a very famous minhag, that when the Megillah is being read, whenever the name of the evil Haman (a direct descendant of Amaleik) is mentioned, we make noise to drown out his name. We can learn from this a very simple lesson: in response to the attacks of Amaleik, we must not be silent; rather, we must make a commotion, cry out, and even shake the world to fight this terrible tumah.

One of the mitzvos of the day of Purim is Matanos L'evyonim, giving special gifts to the poor. Now, in truth, the mitzvah of tzedakah applies all year long, however on Purim, there is a special mitzvah of tzedakah, outside of the regular obligation. The Satmar Rebbe, ZT"L, was a tremendous proponent of tzedakah and chesed. The Rebbe even said that the reason he did not live in Eretz Yisroel was that he would then have to give so much tzedakah that he would exhaust all his funds and would have to turn some people away, something he could not bear to do. He was also known to say that he could not survive if he did not give tzedakah daily. (Quoted in the book The Rebbe. The Extraordinary life and worldview of Rabbeinu Yoel Teitelbam, The Satmar Rebbe ZY"A.)

There seems to be a special aspect of giving tzedakah that is not commonly thought of in connection with this mitzvah. The Gemara in Bava Basra (8 - 11) presents a lengthy discussion about tzedakah. In the course of this discussion, the Gemara continually alludes to the power of tzedakah to connect a person with his Father in Heaven and to pull him away from avodah zarah. For example, the Gemara quotes R' Yehoshua ben Karcha who states that one who averts his eyes from giving charity is considered as though he worshiped idols. Conversely, it would seem obvious that one who involves himself in charity pulls himself away from idolatry. Perhaps this is the power of our Ma'atanos L'evyonim on Purim (and even our tzedakah all year round). We build a wall around our neshamos against Amaleik and against all heresy. May we merit this!

5. The salvations Hashem wrought for us in the days of Mordechai and Ester should be an inspiration to us, so that we look toward Hashem to redeem us from our current exile (Seder Hayom). Despite the fact that the Jews fought against their enemies in order to defend themselves, all who were righteous recognized the fact that it was, in truth, Hashem Who had wrought all these miracles, and not the army. It was, indeed, an army of Hashem.

The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in his sefer, Al Hageulah V'al Hatemurah (Siman 62), quotes the Zohar Hakadosh, which teaches that in the times of Gog and Magog, there will be Jews who will join with the evil Gog and fight against the Melech Hamoshiach. How can this be? The Rebbe explains as follows: The Rashba states that someone who contorts the words of the Torah to express heresy has exchanged his soul for the soul of a demonic force. This causes horrible effects for this person and proves to us the terrible levels of impurity to which such a person can sunk. It will be such people, says the Rebbe, who will fight against Moshiach. From where will these people come? The Rebbe tells us: from the heretical Zionist government and its defiled army.

As Torah-true Jews, we are faced with this test. We must look to our Merciful Father in Heaven and purify our hearts from heresy. If we do this, we will merit the strength to withstand the trials of the frightful period of Gog and Magog.