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    The last pasuk

    [verse] in the

    Megilla reads

    “For Mordechai,

    the Yehudi, was

    viceroy to King

    Ahashuerus; he

    was a great man among the Jews,

    and found favor with the multitude

    of his brothers (ratzui l’rov echav);

    he sought the good of his people and

    spoke with peace to all his posterity.

    (v’dover shalom l’chol zar’oh)” [Esther


    The Ibn Ezra makes two very interesting

    comments on this pasuk. He

    says regarding the phrase “he found

    favor with the multitude (literally the

    majority) of his brothers,” that because

    of jealousy, a person cannot

    find favor with everyone. It is impos sible

    to be perfectly popular.

    Then the Ibn Ezra comments on the

    buildup of praises that we have in the

    pasuk. The concluding, and seemingly

    greatest praise is that “he spoke

    with peace to all his posterity.” The

    Ibn Ezra comments that this means

    he was on good terms with all his

    children and grandchildren.

    This seems anti-climactic. Is this

    the greatest thing we can find to say

    about Mordechai HaYehudi? The

    Ibn Ezra says this is indeed a great


    Think of all the children and grandchildren

    that Mordechai had. Did

    each one turn out exactly like Mordechai

    would have wanted? If Mordechai

    would have wanted all his

    children and grandchildren to become

    Torah scholars, do we expect

    that is the way it would have worked

    out? Or, if he wanted them all to be

    expert businesspersons, do we expect

    that is the way it would turn

    out? Maybe there would be a black

    sheep in the family that became a


    And yet, he spoke in peace to all

    descendants. He was able to maintain

    a peaceful relationship with all

    his children and all his grandchildren.

    This, the Ibn Ezra tells us, is a

    great thing. Because of the natural

    fear that children have towards parents,

    it is not always true that there is

    a loving relationship between parents

    and children. Therefore if Mordechai

    could maintain such a relationship,

    this is indeed the highest

    accolade that the Torah can offer


    I think this is a great ethical lesson

    for us. We try to raise children, and

    we have certain ideals and standards

    of how we would like our children to

    be. It does not always turn out like

    that. But we should always strive to

    maintain a relationship where we

    can, at least, speak peacefully with

    all our offspring.


    One Who Gladdens Hearts on

    Purim is Compared to G-d

    The Ramba”m in the Laws of Yom

    Tov [6:18] speaks about the nature of

    the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov.

    The Ramba”m says, “when he eats

    and drinks, he has to feed the stranger,

    the orphan, and widow together

    with the other poor and unfortunate

    people. However he who locks the

    gates of his courtyard and sits down

    to feast with his wife and children

    but does not provide food for the

    poor and embittered of spirit — such

    is not the rejoicing of Mitzvah; it is

    the rejoicing of one’s own stomach!”

    In the Laws of Megilla [2:17] as

    well, the Ramba”m speaks of the

    mitzvah of rejoicing on Purim. There

    the Ramba”m writes, “It is preferable

    for a person to be excessive when

    it comes to the Mitzvah of giving

    gifts to the poor rather than to be excessive

    when it comes to feasting

    and sending food portions to friends,

    because there is no greater or more

    glorious rejoicing than to gladden

    the hearts of the poor, the orphans,

    the widows, and the strangers, for

    one who gladdens the hearts of these

    unfortunate individuals can be compared

    to the Shechina (G-d’s Divine

    Presence) as it is written [Yeshaya

    57:15] ‘to revive the spirit of the

    humble and to revive the heart of the


    It would seem to us that if we would

    speculate when there is a greater

    mitzvah to gladden the hearts of the

    widows and orphans — on Yom Tov

    or on Purim — we would logically

    think that on Yom Tov there would

    be a bigger mitzvah. Yom Tov, after

    all, is a Biblical command. Purim is

    Rabbinic in origin. Yet the Ramba”m

    goes out of his way and says something

    that he says very rarely in the

    entire Mishneh Torah — “that one

    who gladdens the hearts of these can

    be compared to the Shechina!” He

    does not say that concerning the

    laws of Yom Tov.

    What is the Ramba”m telling us

    here by saying that a person who

    makes the less fortunate happy on

    Purim is comparable to G-d?

    The Medrash in Esther says on the

    pasuk “to know what is this (mah

    ZEH) and about what is this (v’al

    mah ZEH)” [Esther 4:5] that when

    Esther queried Mordechai she was

    alluding to something. She said

    “What’s happening? What have we

    done? Never in Jewish history has

    there been such a decree as Haman

    has issued. Have they perhaps denied

    the pasuk ‘This is my G-d’

    (ZEH Keyli) or perhaps they denied

    the Ten Commandments about

    which it is written ‘from this way

    and that way (m’ZEH u-mi’ZEH)

    were they written?”

    The Medrash continues that Mordechai

    responded and said that the

    reason the Jews were suffering was a

    result of the grandson of ‘Karahu.’

    Who is ‘Karahu?’ ‘Karahu’ refers to

    Amalek about which it is stated,

    “Who happened to you (asher Korecha)

    on the road” [Devorim 25:18].

    Our Sages tell us that Amalek represents

    the antithesis of Belief in this

    world. Amalek denies the existence

    of a Creator of the world.

    When Mordechai told Esther that

    the Jews are suffering because of

    ‘Karahu,’ he was saying that the

    Jews were suffering because of a terrible,

    terrible, lack of Emunah (belief).

    This is a lack of belief that even

    in our own times we don’t see. What

    do I mean? We have Jews today who

    do not believe — do they ‘believe’

    more than the Jews in the time of

    Mordechai and Esther?

    What I mean is as follows: The Talmud

    says that the reason the Jews

    were deserving of destruction, was

    that “they enjoyed the banquet of

    that evil one” [Megilla 12a]. What

    was so bad about partaking in the

    banquet of Ahashuerus?

    Was it Treife? Heaven Forbid! “The

    drinking was according to the law,

    nothing was forced” [Esther 1:8]. It

    was Kosher as could be, according to

    every stringent opinion. So what was

    the sin? The sin was that the Jews attended

    a Feast given by the gentile,

    at which the gentiles took out the

    Vessels of Service (Klei Shares) of

    the Beis HaMikdash — and the Jews

    sat there and kept on feasting!

    Even Jews who today are totally assimilated,

    who would not think twice

    about eating at a non-kosher feast…

    if their non-Jewish hosts would serve

    them on the utensils stolen from the

    holy Temple, their reaction would

    be: Stop! “These are the utensils of

    the Holy Temple.” Which Jew would

    not get up and yell, “These are my

    utensils! These are the vessels of our

    Beis HaMikdash!”?

    The fact that the Jews in Shushan

    could sit there through a meal and

    use those vessels was a terrible sin!

    What was wrong with them? What

    was wrong with those Jews was that

    they were ‘hopeless Jews.’ They

    were Jews who had lost all hope.

    They had counted the 70 years of the

    Exile, and knew that the Exile was

    supposed to be over and yet the Redemption

    had not yet come. Those

    were Jews who had seen the building

    of the Second Beis HaMikdash

    stopped in its tracks. Those were

    Jews who had come to the conclusion

    that there would be no Redemption.

    Those were Jews who said

    “Moshiach is not going to come.”

    Those were hopeless Jews.

    The difference between those Jews

    and the Jews of our day is that today,

    as non-observant as a Jew may be,

    he can still can believe in Judaism,

    he can believe in G-d and redemption,

    and he knows that there is hope.

    That is what the story of Purim restored.

    There was a decree. The Jews

    were motivated to do Teshuva and

    the Ribbono shel Olam came back

    and breathed life into this dead body

    of the Jewish people and gave them

    hope. That is what happened on Purim.

    G-d took His breath of Life and

    restored hope to a forlorn nation.

    Rav Hutner said there is a mitzvah

    to emulate G-d. If G-d on Purim

    brought the dead back to life, if He

    took hopeless and down-trodden

    Jews and gave them hope, it becomes

    our Mitzvah on Purim to do

    the same thing. Therefore the

    Ramba”m says that on Purim there is

    no greater mitzvah than to gladden

    the hearts of the unfortunate and

    downtrodden. The essence of the day

    is to give hope, meaning, and comfort

    to broken-spirited people… because

    that is what

    G-d did. A person therefore who

    does this will be comparable to G-d.