Tuesday, March 11, 2014

what Mordechai knew

וּמָרְדֳּכַי, יָדַע אֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשָׂה, וַיִּקְרַע מָרְדֳּכַי אֶת-בְּגָדָיו, וַיִּלְבַּשׁ שַׂק וָאֵפֶר; וַיֵּצֵא בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר, וַיִּזְעַק זְעָקָה גְדוֹלָה וּמָרָה.
The megillah (4:1) tells us that Mordechai knew what had happened and he therefore put on sackcloth and ashes and went crying through the streets.

What did Mordechai know that no one else knew?  The end of the previous chapter in the megillah says that messengers went out to the entire kingdom with the decree to carry out Haman’s plot, and the city of Shushan was in a state of confusion.  Everyone knew what was going on!
Amazing Sefas Emes: Mordechai knew that in shamayim the refuah for this decree was already in place.  There was no chance of it becoming a reality!  Nonetheless, he went out to the streets mourning and crying to arouse people to teshuvah and be mishtatef in their pain.

It’s davka because tzadikim will cry out to Hashem anyway that they are privileged to be privy to Hashem’s plan and can see the yeshu'ah even before it happens.  If you are I knew that things would work out for the best, we wouldn’t be motivated to do daven and teshuvah.  Therefore, Hashem conceals from us what the future holds.  We see only the bleak reality of the here and now, and must daven and trust that it will get better.


  1. I request a clarification. Mordechai was mishtatef in the pain, but did nothing to relieve it?
    That's almost like the story of the Brisker who are mispallel every Rosh Hashana that at least
    two yidden in Yerushalayim should not be matzliach so that the Brisker could be mekayem matanos

    If the refua'h was contingent on teshuva, I could understand; But that's not what "no chance of it
    becoming a reality!" implies.

    1. Determinism, plain and simple. We just need to go through the motions, but there is no cause-effect relationship between our actions and events.
      Even if you don't go as far as the S"E, isn't there is an inherent contradiction between bitachon and davening? The stronger your bitachon, the safer you should feel that things will work out, and hence less pressure to daven for that outcome, no? I think I wrote about this once before and came to no resolution other than to say that it's a paradox.

    2. That's the pshat in kavei El hashem etc.. Why 2 kaveis? Cause the first time you davened to hashem and had bitachon so the next davening is a nisayon, that's where the second kavei comes in.

  2. You know what really upsets me? The Satmerer in Tzav brings from his grandfather that the gzeira had to come true and the yeshua was that instead of everyone dying at once the killings would be distributed over many generations. That's why we have taanis esther and tzomos and tzeaka. Can't be more contrary to the Sfas Emes if you tried. Answer? Either eilu v eilu or drush is hefker.

    1. You could say that Mordechai felt secure that his generation would be spared genocide and what will be in the future has no effect on the present. Rashi at the end of P' Braishis. Were he to have been worried about the future, why enact a celebration after being saved? It should just be ta'anis and tze'aka for all future generations?

    2. Did I say I liked it? It's in Volume 5 page 154, last paragraph, http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=21046&st=&pgnum=155 He does ask "If so, why do we celebrate?" He answers that this way, the eternal nation survived. I don't know why that's a reason to celebrate, unless you hold, as I've seen some do, that our sense of individuality is a mirage, a simulacrum, which stems from our inability to perceive the exclusive reality of being part of a national organism, just as a white blood cell might think it has independent meaning. Of course, that means that whatever we do doesn't have personal eternal consequences to our selves, which, to me, is insane, but that might be because of my failure of comprehension. Or, that Kareis is the excision from the gestalt. Nice circular reasoning. But such speculation has equal likelihoods of truth, nonsense, or apikorsus, (and since truth is the smallest target, chances are not good that random shooting is going to hit the bulls eye) unless you are just quoting the sefarim of the big baalei machshava, who, of course, were all honorable men who wouldn't say something unless it was oisgehalten in kol hatorah kulah and based on a mesora of shimush talmidei chachamim until Moshe Rabbeinu.

  3. Now that I think about it, maybe the SE and the YM are not so violently opposed. If Mordechai knew that his generation would be spared, but that the gzeira needed to be fulfilled in a different manner, that's a reason to go out and encourage tefilla- maybe it would not just delay the gzeira, maybe it would reverse it entirely. Whether that worked is debatable, but it would explain why he was still crying.