A Purim maamar is almost a contradiction in terms. A maamar is a chassidic discourse, a systematic elaboration of mystic concepts as they are enclothed in a logical framework. Purim, by contrast, stands above all logic and reason, as the teaching that begins this maamar states:1 “On Purim, a man is obligated to become so intoxicated that he does not know the difference between ‘Cursed be Haman’ and ‘Blessed be Mordechai.’” On a day associated with “not-knowing,” where is there room for developed thought?

The resolution to this question depends on the awareness that the not-knowing called for on Purim is not a drunken stupor, but a bond with G‑d as He transcends knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge are defined entities and G‑d transcends all definition: “No thought can grasp Him.”2

How then can man connect to Him? By dedicating himself to G‑d beyond the limits of knowledge. We each possess a soul that is “an actual part of G‑d,”3 unlimited and unbounded as is He. Purim is a time when this essential dimension of the soul surfaces and bonds with G‑d — essence cleaving to Essence — above the garments of logic and thought.

“In Those Days, In This Season”

This concept lies at the very core of the Purim miracle. The Megillah refers to Mordechai, the hero of the Purim narrative, as ish Yehudi,4 literally, “a man of the tribe of Yehudah.” Now Mordechai was from the tribe of Benyamin. Why then is he called a Yehudi?

The Alter Rebbe explains that the name Yehudi alludes to the quality of hodaah, acknowledgment, i.e., one steps beyond his own opinion and accepts that of another person. Such conduct reflects the quality of bittul, “selflessness,” in which one is not limited by his logic or reason. Mordechai was an ish Yehudi, a man characterized by this type of bittul.

Moreover, as explained in the maamar, ish can also be interpreted as “officer,” i.e., Mordechai served as a leader, inspiring the entire people to bittul. Through his example and teachings, he motivated the Jews to rise above their individual identities and devote themselves to G‑d to the point of self-sacrifice. They put their thought and logic on the side and followed Mordechai in everything that he asked of them.

Part Of A Greater Picture

Since bittulis essential to our connection to G‑d, it lies at the core of our people’s acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, as epitomized by our ancestors’ pledge:5 “We will do and we will listen.” “We will do” preceded “We will listen”6 ; i.e., they promised to obey before knowing what they would be commanded to do. This represents a state of utter bittul:giving themselves over to G‑d without considering the consequences.

At Sinai, however, their bittul was motivated from Above. G‑d showered them with such great love that they had no alternative but to accept the Torah without reservations. After the awesome revelations they had just witnessed, what else could they do?

This, however, raised an objection in the Heavenly realms,7 for perhaps their commitment was not genuine; maybe it was only a response to G‑d’s love and not an expression of their true feelings.

On Purim, the Jews “carried out what they had already accepted,” showing a whole-hearted commitment to the Torah even when G‑d’s love for them was not openly manifest. Their unreserved devotion removed any objections that existed in the spiritual realmsregarding the Jews’ connection to the Torah.

Not A One-Day Experience

There’s a popular Jewish statement: “Not every day is Purim.” In a spiritual sense, this means that the bond to G‑d that transcends knowledge and logic realized on Purim cannot be expressed with its full power in a continuous, ongoing manner. One who lives in a constant state of “not knowing” is unable to carry on his ordinary day-to-day lifestyle.

On the other hand, the bonding of essence to Essence realized on Purim should lie at the heart of our experience at all times, even after we return to a state of knowledge and logic. This is accomplished through the Torah. As the Alter Rebbe explains in this maamar, the Torah is referred to as mashal hakadmoni, “the primeval analogy,”8 interpreted to mean “an analogy for ‘the Primary Being of the world,’” i.e., G‑d as He exists above the entire Spiritual Cosmos. Just as an analogy enables a person to grasp the analogue, so too, the intellectual dimension of the Torah serves as an analogy that enables limited human beings to connect to the Essence of G‑d.

In that way, Purim and the Torah complement each other. The essential bond with G‑d realized on Purim energizes Torah study, enabling its G‑dly core to be sensed. And Torah study internalizes the connection to G‑d experienced on Purim, enabling it to permeate the fabric of our consciousness and be applied in our lives.

Our Sages teach:9 “All [the books of] the Prophets will be nullified in the Ultimate Future and the Megillah of Esther will not be nullified.” Even in that era of revealed G‑dliness, the Megillah will stand out as a beacon of light.

The teachings of Chassidus give us a foretaste of that future era, enabling us to both anticipate and precipitate the outpouring of G‑dly knowledge that will characterize that age. May the study of this maamar hasten the coming of that era, leading to the time when “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover the ocean bed.”10