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The weekly share – 10 ADAR

The weekly share – 10 ADAR

Food For the Soul

Get Ready for Purim!

The jolly holiday of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of Adar (late winter/early spring). Purim 2023 begins on Monday night, March 6 and continues through Tuesday, March 7, extending through Wednesday in Jerusalem. It commemorates the Divinely orchestrated salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian empire from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” Literally “lots” in ancient Persian, Purim was thus named since Haman had thrown lots to determine when he would carry out his diabolical scheme, as recorded in the Megillah (book of Esther). 

The Fast of Esther (Taanit Esther) is a dawn-to-nightfall fast held on the day before Purim. It commemorates the fasting of our ancestors in response to the dramatic chain of events that occurred during their exile in the Persian empire. These events are recorded in the Megillah. In Montreal, the Fast of Esther begins 5:08 a.m. and ends 6:18 p.m. on March 6, 2023 (13 Adar, 5783) 

Visit to learn the story, observance and meaning of the Purim holiday

Shabbat Shalom

Tetzaveh and Zachor

This Shabbat, we read from the Parshah Tetzaveh (meaning Command), found in Exodus 27:20.  G‑d tells Moses to receive from the children of Israel pure olive oil to feed the “everlasting flame” of the menorah, which Aaron is to kindle each day, “from evening till morning.” The priestly garments are described, along with G‑d’s detailed instructions for the seven-day initiation of Aaron and his four sons into the priesthood and for the making of the golden altar on which the ketoret (incense) was burned.

This being the Shabbat before Purim, on which we celebrate the foiling of Haman the Amalekite’s plot to destroy the Jewish people, the weekly Parshah is supplemented with the Zachor reading (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) in which we are commanded to remember the evil of Amalek and to eradicate it from the face of the earth. Parshat Zachor is the second of four special readings added during or immediately before the month of Adar.

Mind Over Matter

Joy Breaks Barriers

There are many kinds of barriers: Barriers between people.
Barriers that prevent you from doing good things.
Barriers of your own mind and your own hesitations.
Barriers from within and barriers from without.
There are barriers that exist simply because you are a limited being.

Joy breaks down all barriers.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

Moshiach Thoughts

Purim and Yom Kippur 

Mystical texts note the analogy between the terms Purim and “Yom Kippurim.” Moreover, they state that the holiest day of the year is called “Yom Ki-purim,” which could be translated as “A Day like Purim.” This suggests that Purim has an advantage over Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is a fast day on which we must afflict ourselves by refraining from basic human needs. Purim, on the other hand, is celebrated with festive eating, drinking and merriment. Purim thus celebrates man’s involvement with the physical reality of G‑d’s creation. 

The use of material substances in context of man’s service of-and relationship with-G‑d, imbues these substances with spirituality. It sublimates them to their Divinely intended purpose. This, indeed, is the ultimate purpose of creation: to manifest its Divine origin by converting this world into a fitting abode for G‑dliness. This is man’s mission for which he was created, and especially in the time of the galut, the time of our dispersion throughout the world. The achievement of this goal is the ultimate bliss of the Messianic era.  

From an article by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet

Have I Got A Story

Amalek and the Amalekites

Eliphaz, son of Esau (the patriarch Jacob’s brother and sworn enemy), and his concubine Timna had a child named Amalek. Amalek grew up in Esau’s household, imbibing Esau’s pathological hatred of Jacob’s descendants along the way. His offspring became the nation of Amalek, and they lived to the south of the Land of Israel, in what is now known as the Negev Desert.

After the Jewish people crossed the Red Sea, they encamped in Rephidim, a barren location in the Sinai Desert. The people thirsted for water, and G‑d provided a miraculous well of water to accompany them on their journeys. While the Jews were still at Rephidim the nation of Amalek launched a vicious surprise attack on them—though the Jews had no designs on Amalekite territory and were not even headed in that direction. Moses commanded his disciple Joshua to take an elite troop of soldiers into battle the next day. Moses himself ascended a nearby mountain to pray for G-d’s salvation. The Jews defeated Amalek in battle, killing their strongest warriors while allowing the others to return home. 

Following the battle, G‑d commanded Moses to record the story of Amalek’s treacherous attack for posterity and to enjoin Moses’ future successor, Joshua, to remember the attack as well. G‑d promised to completely wipe out the memory of Amalek from the earth, and to wage an eternal war with Amalek in every generation. G‑d swore that His name and throne would not be complete until Amalek was destroyed. Forty years later, as the Jews stood poised to enter the Land of Israel, Moses reminded the Jews of the command to combat Amalek.

The command to destroy Amalek cannot be fulfilled today since the identity of Amalek has been lost over the millennia. However, the command to “remember Amalek” still holds true in the spiritual realms. Chassidic philosophy explains that Amalek represents the pinnacle of evil, the ability to “know G‑d and intentionally rebel.” Most evil can be combated by arguments of reason; not so Amalek. He cynically scoffs at every reason to do good, sowing doubt and confusion.

Irrational doubt neutralizes the most convincing arguments or inspiring experiences. Amalek is the constant doubter, brazenly rushing to any sign of passion for holiness and cooling things down.

The only response to Amalek is to be supra-rationally good, calling forth the essential connection to G‑d that is hidden in the essence of our souls, and rooted in the essence of G‑d. This connection is above logic or feelings, and Amalek cannot oppose it—and so loses his brazen power, allowing the individual to grow and develop. When we do good despite our self-doubts or feelings of hypocrisy, we shatter the very citadel of evil, completing G‑d’s name and revealing His rulership to all.

On Purim the Jews were saved from the evil designs of the wicked Haman, a descendant of the Amalekite king Agag—a perfect time to celebrate the destruction of Amalek.

From an article by Rabbi Boruch Altein

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