The Torah teaches us that the nation of
Elsewhere Chazal teach us that the book of Esther was written with divine inspiration. This is understood from this same pasuk. Here the pasuk is read, “In heaven they fulfilled (confirmed) what the Jews accepted.” There is a well known principle that the same words can be used for only one drasha (homiletical interpretation.) Tosfos therefore ask, how can Chazal learn two drashos from the same pasuk?
The Sfas Emes explains that although Chazal learned two drashos from this pasuk, they both stem from the same difficulty in the pasuk and are both based on the same fundamental understanding. What is the difficulty in the pasuk? Reviewing the pasuk carefully, we realize that the first two words of the pasuk, “קִיְּמוּ וְקִבְּלוּ/They fulfilled and accepted” are apparently in the wrong order. Do we fulfill before accepting? Shouldn’t we accept first and then fulfill?
Significantly, we find this out-of-order sequence at the giving of the Torah on
Why are these pesukim structured this way? The Sfas Emes explains that every action has two components. One component is the physical action itself. The other component is the will to act. The physical action is limited by nature. A physical action is bound by time and place. Will, on the other hand, is not so constrained. We can desire to fulfill God’s will even if it is beyond nature. We, of course, cannot fulfill it because we ourselves are bound by nature. Therefore, when a person acts to fulfill God’s will, his action associates with God’s command. The act of prayer, for example, fulfills a direct commandment to pray. However, the desire to fulfill God’s will is not limited to the physical act of the commandment. Our desire to fulfill God’s will associates with God’s desire to command us.
Based on this, the Zohar explains that the, “גִבֹּרֵי כֹחַ/strong warriors” in the pasuk refer to the righteous of the nation of
With this understanding we can explain how the two drashos on the pasuk, “קִיְּמוּ וְקִבְּלוּ הַיְּהוּדִים .../The Jews fulfilled (confirmed) and accepted …” compliment each other. According to the first drasha, at the time of Achashveirosh we desired out of love to accept the Torah. “קִיְּמוּ/They fulfilled” refers to our desire to fulfill God’s will, as we said, every action starts with a desire to do it. Our desire to fulfill God’s will stimulated, as it were, God’s will to command us. Thus, according to the second drasha, “קִיְּמוּ/They fulfilled” refers to God’s desire to command us. In the words of Chazal, “In heaven they fulfilled (confirmed)” our desire for His command thus turning His desire into actual commands to us which we then performed with physical actions.
Our acceptance of the Torah of our own free will is actually an aspect of Torah sheBe’al Peh/The Oral Law. A key aspect of Torah sheBe’al Peh, the Sfas Emes explains elsewhere, is the ability God gave us to create novelty (חִידוּשׁ) in the physical world. Thus, anything we do of ourselves is an aspect of Torah sheBe’al Peh. The Maharal therefore cites a Midrash which teaches that the Torah we accepted a second time on Purim was Torah sheBe’al Peh.
May HaShem help us strive to do His will. By desiring to achieve God’s will, He will make His will clear to us. May we merit emulating the Jews of Shushan by fulfilling and confirming our acceptance of the Torah this Purim just as they did so many years ago.