Emunah Peshutah

Today is the 16th day of Adar. In the end of the Megilah, the Pasuk says קימו וקבלו היהודים עליהם ועל זרעם ועל כל הנלוים עליהם ולא יעבור להיות עשים את שני הימים האלה ככתבם וכזמנם בכל שנה ושנה. The Gemara in Megilah learns from the words לא יעבור that the latest day one can read the Megilah is on the 15th but not later.

The next Pasuk says והימים האלה נזכרים ונעשים בכל דור ודור משפחה ומשפחה מדינה ומדינה ועיר ועיר וימי הפורים האלה לא יעברו מתוך היהודים וזכרם לא יסוף מזרעם. On the words לא יעברו, Chazal say (Yalkut Shemoni Mishlei 9) כל המועדים עתידין ליבטלbut ימי הפורים אינן בטלים לעולם, as the Pasuk says לא יעברו. But how could such a thing be if התורה הזאת לא תהא מוחלפת?

The רשב"א תשובות ח"א ס' צג explains that כל המועדים עתידין ליבטל means that even if at some point during the long Galus, the Yomim Tovim will בטל because of persecutions and שמדות, nevertheless there is a הבטחה that Purim will never cease to exist under these circumstances, during Galus.

However the Maharal in Tifferes Yisrael Perek 53 disagrees with this Rashba at length and says that it’s clear, this Chazal is referring to לעתיד לבא. If so, the question remains how could it be that the Yomim Tovim will cease to exist לעתיד לבא?

The Sifrei Chassidus explain it to mean that of course the other Yomim Tovim will be kept, however it will be like candle light during day time. The reason is because the Moadim are about the divine presence in this world and concentrated Kedusha. They are about דעת as it says by Pesach וידעתם את ה', by Sukkos it says למען ידעו דורותיכם, and by Shavuos it says אתה הראת לדעת. But since לעתיד לבא, the world will be filled with דעת as it says מלאה הארץ דעה את ה' כמים לים מכסים (ישעיהו יא:ט)-the world will be filled with divine wisdom and knowledge, so the Moadim will no longer play the role that they do now. As opposed to Purim, which is about serving the Ribbono Shel Oilam in הסתר פנים-when Hashem is concealed, as the Pasuk says ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני ביום ההוא (דברים לא:יח), so it’s a time to serve Hashem in a state of לא ידע. That is something we will celebrate לעתיד לבא because לעתיד לבא we will no longer be able to serve the Ribbono Shel Oilam in a state of לא ידע. Therefore the Moed of Purim will take on great significance לעתיד לבא and will never be בטל because we will be celebrating the zchus that we had to serve Hashem in the darkness of Galus in a state of לא ידע which we will no longer have לעתיד לבא.

From the first ולא יעבור we learn that the Megilah cannot be read past the 15th of Adar and on the words לא יעברו in the second Pasuk, Chazal say that even if other Yomim Tovim will no longer exist, Purim will always. It’s interesting that these two ideas, which are being learned from words לא יעבור, are seemingly opposites. One the one hand, לא יעבור is a limitation as to when a person can read the Megilah and not beyond that, but on the other hand לא יעבור teaches that it will be read forever and in all circumstances, the opposite of limiting it. How could this be understood?

Because we learn from ולא יעבור that the Megilah can’t be read after the 15th, therefore the בני הכפרים, who can’t do it on their own, are מקדים ליום הכניסה as opposed to being pushed off until after Purim, until ט"ז. The Gemara Megilah 4b says its מפני שמספקים מים ומזון לאחיהם שבכרכים that they need to deliver food and water to the people in the כרכים. But nevertheless it’s interesting that the simple Jew who lives in the villages is the one who ushers in Purim before the תלמידי חכמים. One would’ve thought that the simple Jew from the village would follow the תלמידי חכמים in the כרכים and celebrate Purim at the same time, or at least afterward. But to say that the בני הכפרים actually celebrate Purim before the תלמידי חכמים in the כרכים is quite surprising.

However this could be understood because the inyan of Purim is really about לא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי which is rooted in the Mesiras Nefesh that Jews had at that time. Even though it was a time of הסתר פנים, a time where they were לא ידע, it was a time of lack of knowledge, wisdom, and divine presence but nevertheless, they were מוסר נפרש. The Chassid Yaavetz in his Sefer Ohr HaChaim says about the Spanish Inquisition that it was the simple Jewish women who were ready to give up their lives rather than convert to Christianity as opposed to Jewish men who were much more learned. When it comes to Mesiras Nefesh, sometimes it’s the simple Jew who comes before the Talmid Chacham. It’s in the context of not giving up one’s identity even in a situation where one’s life is being threatened that sometimes the simpletons can come before the Talmidei Chachamim. Therefore, from the Pasuk ולא יעבור that teaches us not to read the Megilah after the 15th is where we learn that the כפרים are מקדים ליום הכניסה and are not מאחרים to after when the עיירות גדולות read the Megilah. The reason being because Purim is a celebration of simplicity in Emunah and therefore the בני הכפרים come before.

According to this, we can understand the connection to the next Pasuk of לא יעברו that Purim will never cease to exist and will be celebrated, whether it’s during the darkest times of persecution in the long Galus according to the Rashba, or לעתיד לבא when Mashiach comes according to the Sifrei Chassidus. The reason is because when something is attached to a deep understanding, sometimes a person has it and sometimes a person doesn’t have it. But when something is based on אמונה פשוטה, then it doesn’t depend on one’s level of understanding.

Meaning of Isru Chag

The Rama in the end סימן תכט, the סימן which begins with שואלין בהלכות פסח קודם לפסח שלשים יום, writes ונוהגין להרבות קצת באכילה ושתיה ביום אחר החג והוא אסרו חג. Before the Shulchan Aruch begins even the Halachos or Erev Pesach, the Rama is already teaching the Halachos of what do after Pesach. It would seem that the correct place for the Halacha of אסרו חג would be after all of Hilchos Pesach and not before. Why does the Rama specifically mention it here?

A simple explanation could be because סימן תכט is discussing Halachos relevant to the month of Nissan such as אין נופלין על פניהם, ואין מספידין בו וכו'. Therefore the Minhag to be מרבה קצת באכילה ושתיה on אסרו חג is included in the Halachos that pertain to the month of Nissan.

But perhaps another explanation could be as follows. The source for the concept of אסרו חג comes from the Pasuk in Tehilim 118 that we say in Hallel אסרו חג בעבותים עד קרנות המזבח. Rashi saysהזבחי' והחגיגות שהיו נקיים ובדוקין ממום קושרין בכרעי מטותיהם עד שיביאום לעזרה בקרנות המזבח. According to this explanation, חג is referring to the Korbanos of the Yuntiff. But the Gemara in Sukkah 45b has a different explanation and says as follows:

אמר רבי ירמיה משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי, ורבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון המחוזי משום רבי יוחנן המכותי: כל העושה איסור לחג באכילה ושתיה - מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו בנה מזבח והקריב עליו קרבן, שנאמר אסרו חג בעבתים עד קרנות המזבח

On the words אכילה ושתיה, Rashi writes שקורא לחג עונג במאכל ומשתה and therefore the Pasuk is referring to increasing eating on the Yuntiff. But Rashi writes in a second explanation ויש אומרים: יום שלאחר החג, meaning that we tie the Yuntiff to the day after. The way we symbolically tie Yuntiff to the day after is by making a Seuda on the day after Yuntiff. Soאסרו חג בעבתים עד קרנות המזבח is that by having a Seuda the day after Yuntiff, its עד קרנות המזבח meaning its כאילו בנה מזבח והקריב עליו קרבן.

According to this, the Yuntiff is not just for the here and now but it’s meant to have a long lasting impression on us. By symbolically acting that out at the Seuda of אסרו חג, we remind ourselves of the message and lessons of the Yuntiff and that they needed to be taken with us throughout the year.

According to the Rama, not only was it necessary to have the Halacha of אסרו חג according to the first explanation that it refers to the Korbanos of the Yuntiff, brought in the beginning of Hilchos Pesach but even according to this second explanation that it refers to the day after Yuntiff. The reason is because a person needs to be aware even before the Yuntiff that the purpose of the Yuntiff is not only for the here and now but rather its purpose is to make a long lasting impression on us. Only if a person understands that before Yuntiff will he be able to experience the Yuntiff in such a way.

In a similar vein, the Rambam in Hilchos Avel 14:2 discusses the Mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim and he writes the following:

שכר הלויה מרובה מן הכל, והוא החק שחקקו אברהם אבינו ודרך החסד שנהג בה, מאכיל עוברי דרכים ומשקה אותן ומלוה אותן, וגדולה הכנסת אורחים מהקבלת פני שכינה, שנאמר וירא והנה שלשה אנשים, ולוויים יותר מהכנסתן, אמרו חכמים כל שאינו מלוה כאילו שופך דמים

The Rambam states that the greatest part of Hachnosas Orchim is the לוייה, escorting the guest home. Why should the לוייה be a greater part than giving food and drink? The reason could be because לוייה shows that a connection and relationship was built during the Hachnosas Orchim and it’s only expressed with לוייה. This is the same idea behind אסרו חג that by celebrating with a Seuda after the Yuntiff, it symbolizes the impact and messages that we internalized during the Yuntiff and that we will take with us throughout the year.

A Mitzvah with Zrizus

The Parshah begins צו את אהרן ואת בניו לאמר and Rashi writes אין צו אלא לשון זרוז מיד ולדורות. That which זריזות is מיד is understandable because to be a זריז means to take action immediately. But why do the זריז need to be ולדורות as well?

The answer could be that sometimes we need extra encouragement. If something was a onetime deal, then it could be we would have the extra incentive to put forth our best. But once we know that this commandment is not only for now but also לדורות, then maybe we would lose our desire to perform it. For that reason we need that זריזות as well.

But זריזות is not merely how the person performs the Mitzvah, rather it changes the entire Mitzvah. On the Pasuk ושמרתם את המצות, Rashi brings the Mechilta that says the following:

רבי יאשיה אומר אל תהי קורא את המצות אלא את המצוות,כ כדרך שאין מחמיצין את המצה כך אין מחמיצין את המצווה אלא אם באה לידך עשה אותה מיד.

The source for מצוה באה לידך על תחמיצנה, the concept of זריזות by all Mitzvos comes from the Mitzvah of Matzah and the איסור of חמץ. This comparison is interesting because Matzah that is מחמיץ is not only not Matzah but it becomes the exact opposite of Matzah, it becomes Chametz! It would seem the same concept would apply to a Mitzvah not done with זריזות. It’s not considered the same Mitzvah just done at a later point, but it’s a different Mitzvah. The difference between a Mitzvah done בזריזות and a Mitzvah not done בזריזות is the difference between Matzah and Chametz. Therefore, it’s not just that the performer of the Mitzvah loses out on the element of זריזות but that the חפצא of the Mitzvah is a totally different Mitzvah.

The Gemara in Megilah 3a learns from the Pasuk משפחה ומשפחה that Kohanim are מבטלין from the Avodah in order to hear the Megilah. Tosfos there asks why are the Kohanim מבטל the Avodah if after Megilah there is the rest of the day for the Avodah in the Beis HaMikdash to which he answers the following: כיון משהאיר היום הוי זמן עבודה והם מניחין אותה בשביל הקריאה משו"ה קרי ליה ביטול. We see from here that delaying a Mitzvah and not doing it בזריזות is considered ביטול and therefore a Mitzvah done בזריזות is a different Mitzvah.

Similarly, the Gemara in Shabbos 130a says that according to Reb Eliezer, if the Milah knife was not brought before Shabbos, then it can be brought on Shabbos because מכשירי מילה are דוחה שבת. Tosfos there asks that perhaps a better solution would be to bring the baby to the knife because being that a baby is חי נושא את עצמו, there is no איסור שבת to which Tosfos answers ועוד י"ל כיון דיותר בקל יביא הכלי משיביא התינוק שרי ר"א כדי למהר המצוה. This is another example how doing a Mitzvah בזריזות is not merely a מעלה for the person doing the Mitzvah but it completely upgrades and changes the nature of the Mitzvah to the point that it’s taken into consideration to be דוחה שבת.

Therefore people should strive to do Mitzvos בזריזות not only for the here and now but even for לדורות.