The interpretation of the verse “And you shall command...” in the maamar comes in continuation to the concepts explained at the beginning of the maamar, which interprets the verse,1 “The Jews accepted what they had already begun,” [to mean that at the time of the Purim miracle,] the Jews accepted what they began at the time of the giving of the Torah.2 The giving of the Torah represented merely a beginning and, the time of Achashverosh (and [more particularly,] at the time of Haman’s decree), repre­sented the acceptance.

{We find a parallel concept in our Sages’ explanation3 of the verse,4 “The Jews established and accepted.” [Our Sages understand this to mean,] “they now established what they previously accepted.” [The Jews’ statement “We will do and we will listen,”5 and, in particular,] the fact that they recited “We will do” before “We will listen,”6 represented merely the acceptance [of the Torah]. And in the days of Achashverosh,7 they established what they had accepted.8}

As the maamar explains, on the surface, this is an inconceiv­able statement.9 At the giving of the Torah, the Jews were on the loftiest [spiritual] peaks and received revelations of G‑dliness of the most sublime levels. {In addition to the extremely great revelations the Jews were granted before the giving of the Torah, the revelations associated with the Exodus and particularly, those of the splitting of the Red Sea, the revelations that accom­panied the giving of the Torah reflected a very sublime level.}

In the times of Achashverosh, by contrast, the Jews experienced the ultimate of descents. Every exile is associated with a veiling and concealment of G‑dliness. {For all exiles follow the paradigm of the Egyptian exile,10 of which it is written,11 “They did not listen to Moshe because of their dwindled spirits and hard toil.” Similarly, [all subsequent] exiles present several challenges with regard to [the observance of] the Torah and its mitzvos.} In particular, then (in the time of Haman), there was an even greater veiling and concealment [and the very lives of the Jewish people were endangered].

Nevertheless, the time of the giving of the Torah when the Jews were on the sublime peaks was merely a beginning (“they had begun”). And it was in the time of Haman’s decree, when, [apparently, the Jews] were at their lowest depths, that they “accepted” what they had begun at the giving of the Torah.

[The maamar continues,] explaining that at the time of [Haman’s] decree, the Jew’s [observance of] the Torah and its mitzvos was inspired by mesirus nefesh, “self-sacrifice.” {They exhibited self-sacrifice in not denying [G‑d and the Torah]. (For as explained in Torah Or,12 had they forsaken their faith, nothing would have been done to them. For the decree was issued merely against the Jews, [i.e., those who held firm to their faith]. Never­theless, the thought of anything outside [the context of our faith], heaven forbid, did not occur to them.)

Moreover, they exhibited self-sacrifice in the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos13 to the extent that they congregated to study Torah communally with self-sacrifice.14}

It was Mordechai, the Moshe of the generation, who inspired this self-sacrifice. [On this basis, we can understand the verse] “The Jews accepted what they had already begun,” that the giving of the Torah was merely a beginning and their acceptance came at the time of Haman’s decree. For their actual expression of self-sacrifice in the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos elevated them (in this regard) to a level above that experienced at the giving of the Torah. Therefore, this was when the acceptance of the Torah took place, “the Jews accepted.”

[The above] appears [to provide us with an explanation of the phrase] “crushed for the light,” i.e., that through being “crushed,” one approaches the light. This explains why in the time of [Haman’s] decree, the Jews were able to attain these peaks of self-sacrifice.15 These [high levels of] self-sacrifice stem from the essence of the soul, [a level which] transcends revelation, “the [source of] light” (from which light emanates). Thus because the Jews were crushed, the essence of their souls, “the light,” was revealed.

[This explanation is frequently found in Chassidic texts.] Nevertheless, from the context and structure of the [Previous Rebbe’s] maamar which explains the phrase “crushed for the light” following the explanation of [Moshe’s contribution as] a “shepherd of faith,” it would appear that [the two concepts are interrelated]: The concept of “crushed for the light” shares a connection with the concept that Moshe sustains and nurtures the faith [of the Jewish people, enabling] it to be internalized.