Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Asher haglah m'Yerushalyim

1) When reading megillah the ba'al korei usually switches to the tune Eichah for the pasuk "...Asher haglah m'Yerushalyim im ha'golah asher haglisa..."  My wife every year goes above and beyond the call of duty and prepares all our taxes, saving me a headache.  I was thinking that if my wife was a ba'alas kri'ah and was reading the megillah she would switch to the tune of Eichah for the pasuk "Va'yasem Achashveirosh mas al ha'aretz..."

Speaking of my wife, see her post on the idea of "ayeif" with respect to Amalek (atah ayeif v'yagei'ah) and the megillah and her post on Lot's connection to Purim.  She has more to say on Purim than I do.

2) Speaking of "Ish yehudi...Asher haglah m'Yerushalyim im ha'golah asher haglisa..." 

All the Jews living in Achashveirosh's kingdom had been exiled because of the churban.  Why does the megillah make a big deal over Mordechai being in galus?
Tiferes Shlomo answers: For some people, being in galus is about where you are.  For others, like Mordechai, being in galus is about who you are.

Look around at some of the homes in our from neighborhoods, at some of the lavish vacations (Pesach in Hong Kong!) advertised for the "heimish" world -- the only thing galus-dik about it is the location.  Psychologically, it's olam ha'ba!  Mordechai, even though he had full access to the palace, even though he was among the elite in Persian society, he was psychologically always "asher haglah m'Yerushalayim..." and yearning to return.  Even though politically he was an insider, his identity remained that of an outsider.

3) Esther min haTorah - "V'Anochi hester astir..."  Sometimes you can't see because it's too dark.  Sometimes you can't see because the light is so bright that you are forced to close your eyes. 

R' Yaakov Moshe Charlop explained that the light of Purim is so great that it has to be hidden -- it's not something we can see with the eyes of this world (I believe this idea stems from Maharal).  You have to close your eyes and just look with your neshoma.

The Ishbitzer explains "ad d'lo yada" means we have to abandon the idea of knowing as an empirical process.  If the only source of knowledge you have is what you see, hear, taste, and smell, then you are missing the boat.  "Arur Haman -- Baruch Mordechai" comes from a much deeper place than that.

That's the whole idea of dressing up on Purim.  Even though someone is dressed up as a whatever, we still can figure out who it is -- I know that it's not really Obama, a princess, a fireman, etc. in front of me because no matter what my eyes tell me, I know the truth is deeper, the truth is what's under the mask.  Purim is all about the true reality that is under the mask the world shows us. 


  1. we've heard kabbalists say that Mordechai was a gilgul of Yaakov, Haman a gilgul of Eisav-- let's look for some of "2) what's under" this: when Haman sees that Mordechai refuses to bow, rather than fall on his neck* and kiss him (33:4), he readies a noose!
    on the other hand, rather than refuse Eisav's offer of escort (33:13-14), Mordechai accepts one on much more favorable terms (Esther 6:11)!

    *speaking of necks, was Moshe's nape stiff? at Shemos 2:12 we see him 'turn', not 'look', one way and another; which is to say that "3) [e]ven though politically he was an insider, his identity remained that of an outsider"!!! :-)

    1. a little known side story, as told over by ha'pawleet: Eisav's Hittite wives, whenever they would visit family in Hevron, would at their husband's bidding mark Avraham's portion in Machpelah with defamatory graffiti, because 'he dared to raise a knife to my father Yitzchak'. after years of having the vandalism erased again and again*, Yitzchok finally paid instead a "1)"** annual tax to the children of Het for regular upkeep of the kever. thus did the wives of Eisav prepare the taxes of their husband's father, quite "above and beyond the call of duty"!***

      *when visiting for yahrtzeits, for example

      **[1) which is 1), but not 2) which is 3), nor 3) which is 2)]

      ***Eisav was posthumously forgiven on High for the tax, when his head rolled wisely into the cave of Machpelah...