Shalom and Bracha!
Wednesday night and Thursday are Purim. Purim is the celebration
of the salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation through
the efforts of Mordechai and Esther. Purim has four major
Mitzvot. Inclusiveness is integral to all of them. Haman
slandered the Jewish people as being a divided people. By
including as many fellow Jews as possible in the observance of
Purim, we negate his slander.
The first Mitzvah of Purim is listening to the Megillah. The
Megillah is read Wednesday night and again Thursday during the
day. Although we must hear each word of the Megillah, it is
customary to make noise whenever Haman the wicked or Haman the
son of Hamdata is said. This is to fulfill the Mitzvah of
erasing Amalekís name. A significant part of the Megillah
reading is Pirsumei Nissa, publicizing the miracle. Before
approaching the king to save the Jewish people, Esther asked
Mordechai to gather the Jewish people. It is therefore desirable
to have as many people as possible attend the reading.
The second is Mishloach Manot, sending gifts of food. A minimum
of two kinds of kosher food or drink must be sent to a friend on
Purim. The custom is to give more than two kinds to many people
and that men send to men and women send to women. By including
among the recipients Jewish people who are unaccustomed to the
Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot, we not only share joy but also the
beauty of our heritage.
The third is Matanot Laevyonim, giving charity to at least two
poor people on the day of Purim. Giving money to many poor
people is a greater Mitzvah than send food to many friends.
Gifts to the poor can be sent through emissaries. In the spirit
of inclusion, it is a great Mitzvah to encourage others to
participate in Matanot Laevyonim.
The fourth is to eat a festive meal on the day of Purim. It is
customary to say Líchayim at this meal. There is a special
addition to the Grace after meals on Purim. The true joy of the
festive meal is when we invite guests and share the joy with
One of the greatest lessons of the Megillah can be learned from
Mordechai. Haman was enraged that Mordechai would not kneel and
bow down to him. This led to Hamanís downfall and the rise of
Mordechai. We must always be proud of our Judaism, unabashed by
our denigrators. Purim teaches us that the survival of the
Jewish people is fully in the hands of Hashem. When we place our
faith fully in Him, even our darkest hour can be transformed
into our greatest joy.
In this month when mourning was replaced by festivity, may the
pain of the last moments of exile be replaced by the joy of
Líchayim and Purim Sameach!!
There is a great Purim Website at
that includes Purim celebrations and resources world wide.
Tisa-Making an Eternal Difference
City Candle lighting 5:38
Shabbat ends 6:38
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Ki Tisa. Amongst the
things which are discussed in this weekís portion is the
commandment to make the Kiyor, the washing basin. Hashem
commanded that a washing basin of copper be made and placed in
between the altar and the tent of the Ark. The Kohen had to wash
his hands and feet from the basin before serving in the Temple.
This was so critical that if a Kohen served before washing,
whatever service he performed was invalid and he deserved to die
by the Hand of G-d.
The copper that was used for this washing basin came from
mirrors that were donated by the Jewish women. At first, Moshe
refused to accept them, because mirrors are objects of vanity.
Hashem told Moshe to accept them, and further told him that
these were the most precious of all of the donations to the
Temple. During the worst period of the servitude, when the
Jewish men were exhausted and despondent and had no interest in
procreation, these mirrors were used by their wives in order to
beautify themselves and arouse their husbands, assuring the
continuation of the Jewish nation.
This gives us a beautiful lesson that relates to our time. We
know that our service of Hashem in the time of Galut (exile) is
imperfect, marred by distraction and insincerity. Often we fall
short of our own goals, and far short of Hashemís expectations.
When we reflect upon the greatness that will permeate the world
when Moshiach comes, we sometimes feel that all that we do in
exile will be totally insignificant. The Kiyor teaches us that
the opposite is true. Even the mundane objects that we use to
survive Galut and hasten the redemption become an integral part
of Hashemís sanctuary in the time of Moshiach.
The numerical value of the letters of the word Kiyor represent
revealing Hashem in the Galut. Every Hebrew letter has a
numerical value. Kiyor has 4 letters: Kaf (20) Yud (10) Vav (6)
and Reish (200). The Kaf and Vav add up to 26, which is the
numerical value of the name of Hashem. The Reish and Yud add up
to 210, which is the number of years we were enslaved in Egypt.
The letters are intertwined, symbolizing infusion Hashem into
From the Kiyor we also learn a Halachah relevant to our times.
Our prayers parallel the service in the Temple. Just like the
Kohanim had a special way to wash, every morning when we rise we
must wash our hands, using a vessel. The vessel should be filled
with water, lifted with the right hand and transferred to the
left hand, and then water should be poured over the entire right
hand until the wrist. Then the vessel should be transferred to
the right hand and water should be poured of the entire left
hand. This should be repeated three times, so that each hand
should be washed three times alternately (right, left, right,
left, right, left). Kaballah and Chassidut explain that the
right side represents kindness and the left severity. By
repeatedly washing the right hand first, will elicit that
Hashemís kindness should preceed and outweigh His stern
judgement. Left handed people do the reverse. Thereafter the
Baruch Atta A-donai E-lohainu Melech Haolam Asher Kidíshanu
Bímitzvotav Vítzivanu Al Netilat Yadayim should be said. By
washing this way, we cleanse ourselves from impurity, we
celebrate that Hashem has renewed our life, and we commemorate
the service in the Temple, thereby awakening and demonstrating
our yearning for Moshiach. May we speedily see Moshiach and the
Kohanim performing their service in the Holy Temple.
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