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Parshas Titzave and Zachor 5759

Outline Vol. 3, # 15

by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein

1. In Kinyan Torah B'shmaitisa, the question from the Tur was raised: Why is it that the brocha "sh'asa nisim la'avoseinu" -- "Who performed miracles for our fathers" is recited at Purim, but not at the Pesach Seder?

Someone tried to answer. At Pesach we are to feel ourselves going free. Purim, however, refers to the past. Thus, the brocha "sh'asa nisim la'avoseinu" -- "Who performed miracles for our fathers" is recited for the commemoration of past miracles.

Rav Horowitz, author of Kinyan Torah, showed this thinking to be incorrect. Each of the Yomim Tovim are not merely commemorative, but represent actual stages of our daily living experience. According to the Chasom Sofer, whom we quoted last week, this is especially true of Purim. Purim represents the daily miracles which we face continually.

The Kinyan Torah indicates that anything mentioned in the prayers relates to our daily lives. The Taz (Orach Chayim 621) implies that the subjects mentioned in the prayers arouse us to make our own personal requests. (Kinyan Torah, Va'eira, 1)

Similarly, the Talmud in Tractate Ta'anis (4b), states: "remembering is for the purpose of request." After we praise Hashem, it is the appropriate time to request. The source of the concept that each person in each generation needs to see himself leaving Egypt, is a Mishnah (Pesachim chap. 10, mentioned in the Pesach Hagada). Yet, the Tanya adds the words "each and every day." This seems similar to the Kinyan Torah. Since the Exodus is mentioned in the prayers daily, we need to relate it daily to our personal lives, and continually request a personal redemption.

2. We often hear the following questions:

--Why doesn't Hashem perform wondrous miracles on our behalf? The disbelievers would surely be convinced.

--On the other hand, how is it that we find that the Jews complained immediately after witnessing great miracles?

The quote from the Chasom Sofer, which we examined last week, contrasted Purim and Pesach, and concluded: Great miracles only convince temporarily.

They serve to get our attention, but do not have a lasting effect. The Torah obliges man to realize that life itself is the miracle -- every event and occurrence is miraculous.

The Talmud considered the events of Purim, as told in the Megilas Esther, equivalent to a second Reception of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The first time had been under coercion -- the second, through love and free-will. Indeed, Maharal explained that the "coercion" of Mount Sinai was simply witnessing the astounding miracles of that time. At Purim, however, the Jews realized that Hashem permeated every aspect of life. In the darkness of exile, the Jews lovingly recognized Hashem's constant miraculous presence, and embraced the Torah willingly.

Elsewhere, Maharal relates that the ultimate miracle is the Torah's effect upon the heart of man. For the rock to gush with water -- no miracle is required; for your heart to swell with love, however, you must overcome your own limitations. The miracle is, therefore, in our hands!

Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
11 Kiryas Radin
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: (914) 362-5156

Good Shabbos!

Text Copyright © '98 Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.



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