1. Shabbos elevates all matters of the preceding week. Hence this Shabbos, which follows Purim, elevates and perfects all the matters of Purim. This year, when Purim and Shushan Purim are Tuesday and Wednesday — the middle days of the week — their connection with Shabbos is emphasized. Moreover, Wednesday marks the beginning of preparations for Shabbos; as the previous Rebbe noted that the “Song of the Day” for Wednesday contains the first three verses of “Lechu Nerranano,” which serve as a preparation to the recital of the entire “Lechu Nerranano” in the prayers for welcoming the Shabbos. Likewise, the Talmud states that Wednesday is the “eve” of Shabbos.

Although Wednesday is only Shushan Purim (and Shushan Purim is only celebrated in places which are “walled” from the days of Yehoshua — on the 15th, whereas Purim is celebrated in all other places on the 14th), nevertheless, Shushan Purim does contain special significance compared to the rest of the year. Moreover, the 14th and 15th of the month (Purim and Shushan Purim, this year Tuesday and Wednesday) are closely linked. The moon is completely full not only on the 15th, but also on the 14th; or to be more exact, it becomes full at the time between the 14th and 15th. That is, it is not yet full at the beginning of the 14th, and at the end of the 15th it has already begun to decline. And since the 14th and 15th are closely linked, it follows that Purim and Shushan Purim (14th and 15th) are in reality the same concept. And since this year Shushan Purim is on Wednesday, which begins the preparations to Shabbos, it follows that Purim also has a connection to Shabbos.

In addition, this year all the days of the week are associated with Purim. When Purim is on Tuesday, the preceding Shabbos (from which all the following weekdays are blessed) is on the 11th of Adar; and the Mishneh states that the Megillah can be read on the 11th. Likewise, the Megillah can also be read on the 12th and 13th (Sunday and Monday) and certainly on Tuesday and Wednesday (Purim and Shushan Purim). Thursday and Friday are the 16th and 17th, and the Talmud posits at first that the Megillah can also be read on these days. Even according to the conclusion of the Talmud that it cannot be read on these days, nevertheless, the very fact that the Talmud has to bring proof that it cannot be read on these days shows they have a connection to Purim. Hence we see that every day of the week this year has connection to the idea of Purim. And the Shabbos which follows (today) effects elevation in all matters of Purim, to the extent of influencing the entire year.

The idea of Purim is that although the people of Israel are “dispersed and spread out among the nations,” they are still “one people.” This is expressed by their conduct, such that “their religion is different from all peoples,” and with the resolute firmness of “he did not bow down or. prostrate himself.” Such service transcends all limitations, as our Sages, on the words of the Megillah “the Jews confirmed and accepted upon themselves,” said “they confirmed what they had previously accepted.” That is, on Purim the Jews strongly confirmed their previous acceptance of the Torah at Mattan Torah, making their connection with Torah above all limits. And on the Shabbos following Purim, the general concept of Purim is elevated: the strong confirmation of acceptance of Torah is elevated to perfection — the concept of “ta’anug” (delight — the service of Shabbos).

Purim is associated with Shabbos, for Yom HaKippurim (Yom Kippur) is termed the Shabbos of Shabbosim, and “Kippurim” means “Ki-Purim” — “Like Purim.” Moreover, as explained above, Purim is associated with Mattan Torah (“they confirmed what they had previously accepted (at Mattan Torah)”), and Shabbos is also associated with Mattan Torah. Our Sages say “The Torah was given to Israel on Shabbos,” and the Alter Rebbe explains that Shabbos and Mattan Torah share the same concept. Thus we see that Purim and Shabbos are connected.

In greater clarification: As explained above, on Purim the concept of Mattan Torah was confirmed in a manner transcending all limitations. Shabbos too transcends all limitations: besides being the seventh day of the week, it is also above time, and therefore after Shabbos comes the first day of the week, and not the eighth.

In the light of the above, we see that on the Shabbos following Purim a Jew must perfect the service of Purim (in the manner of ta’anug) — the strong confirmation in all matters of Torah and mitzvos, including an increase in the concept of transcending limitations that already exists on Purim.

Although one can seemingly not increase in something that transcends limits, nevertheless, just as one’s service on Purim in the following year must be loftier than the previous year, so too one’s service on the Shabbos following Purim must be loftier than on Purim. For since Torah and mitzvos are infinite, one can always rise higher.

The general service of Purim (“they confirmed what they had previously accepted”) in a manner transcending limitations, extends to the days following Purim, and for all years and generations — ”these days of Purim shall not pass from the Jews and their memorial shall never cease from their seed.” Likewise, the elevation in Purim caused by the service of the following Shabbos is also in an eternal manner, for all generations.

“Their memorial shall never cease from their seed” applies not just to the original Purim — that originally Purim was established for all generations — but that every year the concept of Purim in the manner of “Their memorial shall never cease from their seed” is effected anew. For when the Megillah states “these days shall be remembered and kept,” it means that when they are “remembered” properly, they are “kept” anew in the same fashion as originally. Our Sages (Megillah 7a) note that the commandment to remember Amalek (and to wipe him out) is written in Torah, repeated a second time in Mishneh Torah (Devorim), a third time in Prophets (Shmuel), and a fourth time in Writings (Megillas Esther). We can deduce from this that each time it is written it is in the same manner as originally, for otherwise the same things cannot be considered as truly being repeated.

However, all is not clear: How can we say that one must increase in all matters of Purim on the following Shabbos, when Shabbos is the concept of “ta’anug” (delight), and “Shabbos is sanctified of itself” — it comes automatically, without man’s efforts? The most one can expect is that telling a Jew about the greatness of the Shabbos following Purim will increase in his delight — but how is that relevant to man’s service?

However, although Shabbos is sanctified of itself, man, through his service, can increase and elevate the delight on Shabbos. That is, service to G‑d applies on Shabbos also.., ... it is in the manner of delight, not effort or toil. A simple example of how service can be with delight: The service of the Levi’im in the Mishkan included carrying heavy burdens (the boards etc.). Yet, since it was “service of the Sanctuary — to stand before the L‑rd to serve Him,” such service was done with delight. This applies not only to the Levi’im and Kohanim, but to Yisroelim too. Mishlei states (10:8): “The wise in heart will receive mitzvos” — for they are so lofty. Hence, although the fulfillment of mitzvos is associated with service, it is not considered effort but delight, considering the greatness of Torah and mitzvos.

I once spoke to a Jew about this, and since he wasn’t convinced, I brought a simple example. He was a diamond merchant, and I asked him how one reckons the worth of a diamond. He said it depends on the quality — absence of flaws, color, brilliance etc.; and on the weight — how many carats it was: a diamond of 100 carats, for example, is worth 100 times a 1-carat diamond.

I asked him: Since it takes 100 times the effort to carry a 100-carat diamond than a 1-carat diamond, why should it be worth so much more? When he heard this, the merchant said he never expected to hear such naive words from me. I only wish, he said, that I would be given diamonds not only of 100-carats, but 1,000 and 100,000 carats worth! I would be willing to take on all the bother and effort involved in carrying such a “burden”!

I continued to ask him: But isn’t there a lot of effort and sweat involved to carry such a burden? He answered: How naive can you get?! When it comes to diamonds, it is certainly worth all the bother to carry as many as possible. It’s not a burden. It’s the greatest of pleasures!

The parable is clear: Torah and mitzvos are the true diamonds, and service in them is the greatest pleasure. Hence every Jew tries to find yet another thing to increase in the service of fulfilling Torah and mitzvos.

In practical terms: On the Shabbos following Purim each and every Jew must perfect and increase in his service of Purim, the principal point of which is the fulfillment and confirmation of everything connected with Torah and mitzvos, transcending all limitations. This should be in the manner of “their memorial will never cease from their seed” — it extends to all the following days and generations; and it is done with delight.

This effects that “for the Jews there was light and joy, gladness and honor,” extending to all years — “their memorial will never depart from their seed.” Through this we merit the fulfillment of the promise “many of the peoples of the land became Jews for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.” When a Jew conducts himself as one of the “people of Mordechai” — he does not “bow down or prostrate himself” in all matters of Judaism — then “the fear of Mordechai” falls on all the peoples. And we merit the fulfillment of the promise “one redemption is brought close to another” — from the redemption of Purim we go to the full and true redemption when “I will convert the peoples to a pure language ... to serve with a common consent.”

In practical terms, a Jew must complete and increase in all matters of Purim, making good resolutions in this area; and since we are now in the “thirty days before the festival (of Pesach),” to involve oneself in making sure all Jews have matzah for Pesach. Likewise in regard to the mitzvah campaigns. Ahavas Yisroel: associated with Purim, the mitzvah of “sending presents each to his friend” expressing the unity and love between Jews; Tzedakah: also associated with Purim, the mitzvah of “gifts to the poor;” Uniting all Jews through each one purchasing a letter in one of the general Sefer Torahs: This effects that all Jews should be in the situation of “all who are found written in the book,” also associated with Purim, for the Megillah is called the “book.” Torah: “they confirmed what they had previously accepted;” Tefillin: “Yikor” in the Megillah, our Sages say, is tefillin; Mezuzah: The Megillah states “I have given the house of Haman to Esther,” and the difference between the houses of Haman and Mordechai and Esther expresses itself first and foremost in a mezuzah; House full of Jewish books; Shabbos lights; Kashrus; and Family Purity. Through involvement in all these campaigns we merit the redemption campaign of G‑d — “You will be gathered one by one children of Israel.”

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2. In addition to the above which applies every Purim, there are special lessons to be derived from the day on which Purim falls this year — the third day of the week, Tuesday; and from the fact that the Shabbos following Purim is both Shabbos parshas Sissa and Shabbos parshas Parah. In addition, the preceding Shabbos is on the 11th of Adar, which has a special connection to Purim, since the Megillah can also be read then (on the 11th).

The general concept of Purim is that then “they confirmed what they had previously accepted” — the confirmation of the Torah in a manner transcending all limitations. This is the connection to the Shabbos following Purim, Shabbos parshas Parah, for parshas Parah emphasizes that the Torah in general is such that “this is the statute of the Torah” — and a statute transcends all limitations. Since “great is Torah study for it brings one to deed,” it follows that this distinction expresses itself in the performance of mitzvos — the mitzvah of “Parah Adumah” (red heifer) which symbolizes all mitzvos. Chassidus explains that the idea of the mitzvah of Parah Adumah is “rotzuh v’shuv,” — ascension above followed by the bringing down of the above into below. The burning of the red heifer is the “rotzuh,” the ascension above, and the placing of the living water (on its ashes in a vessel) is the bringing down of the above to below. All mitzvos contain this aspect of “rotzuh v’shuv” — the synthesis of ascension and bringing down — for a mitzvah is the taking of a physical thing and elevating it, while simultaneously bringing the Divine Will down into the physical thing. For example, in tefillin, parchment made from an animal is taken and sections of the Torah are written from it, thereby connecting man with G‑d. Nevertheless, the mitzvah of Parah Adumah symbolizes this concept most strongly. Hence, the concept of the “statute of the Torah” — transcending limitations — expresses itself in the “rotzuh v’shuv” of mitzvos.

The above is expressed in parshas Ki Sissa. The opening words of the parshah, “Sissa es Rosh” — ”You shall raise the head,” means the elevation of the head to a very lofty level, to a level transcending limitations. This is the idea of “rotzuh v’shuv,” the synthesis of elevation and bringing down below: The descent of the soul into a body is the bringing down of above to below; and the purpose of this is that “You shall raise the head” to a level transcending limitations.

The beginning of the matters associated with Purim is on the preceding Shabbos, from which all the days of the week are blessed. This year, it is on the 11th of Adar, the day from which the Megillah can begin to be read. This indicates that already on the Shabbos preceding Purim it is known that the service of Jews on Purim will be proper (transcending limitations etc.), and therefore on this Shabbos all the matters of Purim exist in potentia. Nevertheless, it was G‑d’s will the service of Purim be actually carried out, in all its particulars. This is the service of the six days of the week in which Purim falls (as explained previously, all the days of the week are associated with Purim). After the service of Purim in all its particulars, it must be elevated in a general manner — on the Shabbos following Purim.

May it be G‑d’s will that very soon we merit the revelations of the future, in its actual physical sense, similar to the idea of Purim extending into physical things (feasting and joy). The Rambam writes that in the future “all delicacies will be as plentiful as dust,” and Chassidus explains that the true reward in the future will be after the resurrection of the dead, in this physical world. Indeed, in the future, the soul will have its sustenance from the body.

All of the above is effected through our deeds and service now — the dissemination of Chassidus, through which we merit the full revelation of the esoteric in Torah in the future, the Torah of Moshiach, in our Holy Land, “the land which the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are always upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.”


3. There is a lesson to be derived from the portion of Tehillim said on the Shabbos following Purim, which this year is on the 18th of Adar — chapters 88 and 89. In the title of Ch. 89 it is written that this psalm was said “on the kingship of the House of Dovid” — peculiarly associated with the future redemption. The beginning of the chapter states: “A maskil of Eitan the Ezrachite: I will sing of the steadfast love of the L‑rd ... and world is built by love.” The chapter ends with “Remember L‑rd the insults ... wherewith Your enemies have insulted, 0’ L‑rd; they have insulted the footsteps of Your anointed (Moshiach). Blessed be the L‑rd for ever, Amen and Amen.”

The end of the chapter “They have insulted the footsteps of Your anointed” has a clear connection to our days, for according to all the signs brought in the Talmud concerning the coming of Moshiach, we see openly that we are now in the times of the “footsteps of Your anointed (Moshiach)” — in the “end of the days” before Moshiach’s coming.

The lesson from this is as follows: Even in the times of the “footsteps of Your Moshiach,” and even in the worst position of “they have insulted the footsteps of Your Moshiach,” one should remain unaffected, and, indeed, this very situation indicates that we are very close to the redemption. Our Sages said “If you see generation after generation of people who insult, wait for ... Moshiach. Why? [For it states] ‘They have insulted the footsteps of Your Moshiach,’ and immediately after, it states ‘Blessed be the L‑rd for ever, Amen and Amen.’” “Amen” indicates victory in battle, and hence this psalm emphasizes victory against those who “insult the footsteps of Your Moshiach.” Victory in battle is achieved through having the proper strength, which is also alluded to in the beginning of this chapter — “A maskil to Eitan the Ezrachite,” and “Eitan” means strength.

The Talmud explains that when “Amen” is mentioned twice (as in this chapter), it refers to two different things. For example, in the case of a “sotah,” a woman suspected of adultery, the two “amens” mentioned are “amen (that I did not sin) from this man, and amen (that I did not sin) from another man.” In man’s spiritual service, “this man” and “another man” refer to the body and soul. And since “amen” indicates victory, it refers to the victory in war of the soul and the body.

Since a soul is enclothed in a body, especially in exile when there are many obstacles, victory in war must be in regard to both the soul and the body. In regard to the soul, there is the adage that “the soul never went into exile” — and hence the soul is not affected by the obstacles of the exile. As for the body, which is in exile, one’s service is to convert those things antithetical to Judaism to holiness.

This is similar to the service of the soul with the body. One should not attempt to break the body, but to convert its matters to holiness. That is, on the one hand one must be extremely careful that the eating is not just for the body’s sake, but “for the sake of heaven, to serve G‑d with one’s body.” Hence eating is called war, since great effort is needed to make sure that it (and all bodily matters) are “for the sake of heaven.”

This is the general service of “You shall love the L‑rd your G‑d with all your heart” — “with your two yetzers (Good and Bad Inclinations).” One must convert the Yetzer Horah (Bad Inclination) to be in a state of loving G‑d just as the Yetzer Tov is. The ultimate purpose of man’s service is not to eradicate the Yetzer Horah, but to convert it for use in service to G‑d.

This is the idea of “Amen from another man.” Chassidus explains, on the verse “G‑d shall add (“Yosef”) for me another son,” that service to G‑d is to convert the “other” to the level of “son.”

The strength for this service comes from the concept mentioned at the beginning of this chapter of Tehillim — “A maskil of Eitan the Eztachite.” “Maskil” comes from the word “sechel,” intellect, and “Maskil” refers to the power of the soul which causes the intellect — i.e. it is above the revealed soul-powers, a hidden power. “Eitan” refers to the strength of the soul, and also refers to our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchok and Ya’akov (“Eitan” in this case coming from “Yerach HaEitanim,” referring to the forefathers). That is, since every Jew is a son of Avraham, Yitzchok and Ya’akov, he has the strength to fully complete this service. “Ezrachite” is, in Hebrew, future tense, referring to the level of the future. The knowledge that in the future this level will be revealed adds to one’s service now, causing a level similar to the future to be revealed now.

The lesson then from this chapter of Tehillim is that even in the times of the end of the exile, when “they insult the footsteps of Your Moshiach,” one should not be affected, for every Jew has the strength of “A maskil of Eitan the Ezrachite,” and therefore he is successful in battle — he converts all evil matters to holiness, in the manner of “Blessed be the L‑rd for ever, Amen and Amen.”


4. In parshas Sissa, the Torah instructs Moshe concerning the making of a washstand with which the kohanim should wash their hands and feet. Chapter 30, verse 20 states: “When they come into the Ohel Moed (the tent of meeting) they shall wash with water so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, to burn a fire-offering to G‑d.” Rashi, on the words “When they come into the Ohel Moed” comments “to burn incense in the morning and at dusk, or to sprinkle of the blood of the bullock of the anointed priest, or of the goats (to atone for) idolatry.”

There are several perplexing points in this Rashi:

1) Why does Rashi cite three examples of the kohanim entering the Ohel Moed. There are other types of service which necessitate entering the Ohel Moed to perform them. Rashi should either bring just one example; or, if bringing more than one, he should cite all instances of the kohanim entering the Ohel Moed. Why bring three examples?

2) Two of the examples brought by Rashi have not yet been learned by a student of Scripture — “to sprinkle of the blood of the bullock of the anointed priest, or of the goats (to atone for) idolatry.” Why doesn’t he cite examples of service performed in the Ohel Moed already learned by a student, such as the lighting of the Menorah, and placing bread on the Shulchan?

3) Why does Rashi have to make any comment? This verse seems to be self-understood. It is simply telling us how the kohanim must enter the Ohel Moed (with washing), and not when they enter. There seems to be no reason to explain when and why they should enter.

Some commentaries explain that Rashi makes this comment, for otherwise we could think the obligation to wash one’s hands and feet applies even when one enters the Ohel Moed for no reason at all — and not when it is only to perform service. For since it does not state “When they come into the Ohel Moed to minister,” but just “when they come into the Ohel Moed,” one may think it also refers to entering for no purpose. Hence Rashi, by saying “to burn incense” etc., is emphasizing that the obligation to wash applies only when entering for the specific put, se of ministering.

But if so, the question is reversed: How indeed does Rashi know that entering for no purpose does not require washing. The verse just says “When they come into the Ohel Moed” and does not add “to minister.”

The explanation:

In the plain interpretation of Scripture, it is improbable to say that there is such a thing as entering the Ohel Moed for no purpose. A student has learned that the Ohel Moed is a holy place, and that the Levi’im had to guard against strangers entering. It follows therefore that the kohanim would not enter except when commanded — to perform their service.

But a question arises: True, only entrance for the purpose of ministering requires washing of the hands and feet. But does this mean washing is required before every service, including that which was not preceded by entrance in the Ohel Moed. That is, if one entered the Ohel Moed to perform a specific service and afterwards, while still in the Ohel Moed, needs to perform another service — is one obligated to wash before this second service (which was not preceded by entering the Ohel Moed)?

Rashi, by saying that “when they come into the Ohel Moed” means “to burn incense in the morning and at dusk, or to sprinkle of the blood of the bullock of the anointed priest, or of the goats (to atone for) idolatry” gives us the answer. The obligation to wash when one enters the Ohel Moed is because of the honor and respect due to the Ohel Moed. Logically then, once the kohen has washed his hands and feet when entering to perform a specific service, he does not need to wash again to perform another service, for he is already in the Ohel Moed.

Nevertheless, there are differences in this, commensurate with the type of extra service performed. When the kohen enters the Ohel Moed to burn incense, and then afterwards he must light the Menorah (and on Shabbos to also place the bread on the Shulchan), then, since he has already washed when entering to burn the incense, he need not wash again (before lighting the Menorah). For the services performed after burning the incense follow the service of burning the incense, since this is the regular order of service in the Mishkan every day.

When however it is a service such as “to sprinkle the blood the bullock of the anointed priest, or of the goats (to atone) for idolatry” — a service which is not part of the regular routine (they occur at very infrequent intervals) — the performance of such services is (considered) as a new entrance and requires washing (although one has already washed when entering to perform the day’s routine service). Whereas another service which is part of the day’s routine is not considered “entering” and is covered by the washing at the beginning of the day’s service.

Rashi emphasizes “to burn incense in the morning and at dusk” (although he could have just written “to burn incense” and not add the words “in the morning and at dusk”) to teach us the following. Although the service of burning incense in the morning and at dusk is seemingly the same service (and is part of the day’s routine), a kohen, upon entering the Ohel Moed to burn the incense at dusk, must nevertheless wash his hands and feet. The reason for this is that burning the incense in the morning and at dusk are two separate individual services. It is a separate commandment to burn incense in the morning, and a separate commandment to burn incense at dusk. Hence, although it is part of the day’s routine, since it is a separate service at a separate time, there is an obligation to wash when one enters the Ohel Moed to perform the service.

But all is not clear: We learn (Vayikra 16:4, Rashi) that on Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol, each time he changed his garment when he changed from the inner service to the outer service, was “required to immerse himself and to sanctify his hands and feet twice from the wash-basin.” Since these changes were part of the routine of Yom Kippur, why did he have to wash each time he performed another service?

However, the general service of Yom Kippur is itself unique and different from service of the rest of the year. Therefore also the sanctification of the Kohen Gadol’s hands and feet is in a unique category, and cannot be compared to the washing of a regular day which is necessary because of the command “When they come into the Ohel Moed they shall wash with water.”