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Friday, March 18, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Shushan Purim
Jewish History

The battles fought between the Jews and their enemies, which took place on Adar 13 throughout the Persian empire (see "Today in Jewish History" for that date), continued for two days -- Adar 13 and 14 -- in the capital city of Shushan, where there were a greater number of Jew haters. Thus the victory celebrations in Shushan were held on the 15th of Adar, and the observance of the festival of Purim was instituted for that day in Shushan and all walled cities. (See Laws and Customs below).

On this date, in the year following the Holy Temple’s destruction, G‑d tells Ezekiel to take up a lamentation for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and for the Jewish nation’s other enemies, foretelling their ultimate downfall.

Read the prophecy here: Ezekiel ch. 32

Laws and Customs

In cities that are surrounded by a wall dating from the days of Joshua (13th century BCE) -- a prominent example is the city of Jerusalem -- the festival of Purim is observed on the 15th of Adar (instead of the 14th), in commemoration of the fact that in the ancient walled city of Shushan, the first Purim was celebrated on this day (see "Today in Jewish History").

(For an overview of the Purim observances and links to more information, see "Laws and Customs" for Adar 14.)

Daily Thought

And these words with which I connect with you today… (Deut. 6:6)

Every day these words should be just as new for you as if they were given today. (Sifri)

How could the same mitzvah you did yesterday be new to you today? The same words of Torah as though you never knew them before? The same prayer as though you never said it before?

Through a simple meditation on what is happening when you do that mitzvah, when you study those words, when you pour out your heart in your prayer.

Contemplate that the entire universe is but a glimmer of G‑d’s infinite light. Yet, in this mitzvah, you hold the Creator Himself in your hands. As you learn His Torah, your soul joins with His very essence. In your prayer, you and He are alone as one.

It makes no difference that you feel nothing, that you are not awake to the glory of this moment, that the physical body does not allow you to perceive reality as it is. One day you will see this moment now from a place far beyond this coarse world.

But then it will be only a memory, a souvenir.

Now you have the real thing.

Because, says G‑d, today, in the moment of this mitzvah now, I, just I, beyond any name or definition, I connect with you.

And such a moment is a moment beyond time.

Maamar Tzion Bamishpat 5736.