Thursday, March 01, 2007

Purim 5631 First Ma'amar

“על כן קראו לימים האלה פורים על שם הפור .../Therefore these days were called Purim/Lots because of the lot…” The name of a holiday usually indicates something very significant about and central to the essence of the day. It seems strange, therefore, that this holiday is called Purim/Lots commemorating the lots that Haman cast to determine the day on which to execute his dastardly plan. Why are Haman’s lots central to the essence of Purim?

Thinking about the name of the holiday, another question presents itself. Why is the name of the holiday plural? If it commemorates Haman’s lots, it should be the singular, “Pur/Lot” as the pasuk states, “... הפיל פור .../… He cast a lot …” Why is it, “Purim/Lots”? The Sfas Emes explains that Haman’s lots relate both to Haman and to us. The lot of the Persians was to destroy the Jews. However, since the Jews are eternal and cannot be destroyed, our lot was that the Persian decree should be overturned. Of course, to merit God’s salvation, we needed to pray and supplicate. Their lot, in effect, caused our lot. The paytan/liturgical poet hints at this in the piyut/liturgical poem Asher Heini that we say after we read the Megillah. “פור המן נהפך לפורינו/Haman’s lot became our lot.”

Drawing lots gives completely random results. There is nothing more natural than this. The fact that we were saved, that the result of Haman’s lot did not come to fruition, indicates that the events that transpired were in fact miracles God rendered to save us. Haman’s lot could only become our lot through Divine intervention. Therefore the name of the holiday Purim is directly related to the essence of the day.


DixieYid said...

Very nice posting. Have you ever read Reuven Boshnack's "The Sfas Emes Project?" Some of them can be found here:

I'm posting a link to your blog on mine. I think what you're doing here is a lot like what I'm trying to do with some of the pieces from the Meor Einayim and Kedushas Levi I've posted on mine.


-Dixie Yid

Moshe David Tokayer said...

Thank you very much. I am aware of Rabbi Boshnack's Sfas Emes stuff. In fact, I am a member of his Google group and receive his postings by email.

Hazlacha to you, too, and a freilichen Purim!