Purim - Mishpatim/Shekalim
The Enduring Days of Purim
The Mishnah states that the Parsha of Shekalim would be recited in
the Temple on the first of the month of Adar, in which Purim occurs. Today,
it is recited on the Shabbos preceding the first of the month of Adar.
"These days will be remembered and observed in every generation, family,
state and city. These days of Purim shall not cease from the Jews; their
memory shall never leave their children."
The Midrashim declare: "The Holiday of Purim will always be
recognized; it alone will never be nullified." In Ta'amai Haminhagim, the
prophecy that the days of Purim will never be nullified is associated with
the beginning of tractate Megilah:
Mishnah: The Megilah can be read on the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth,
fourteenth or fifteenth of Adar. (Purim is today held in walled cities on
the fifteenth, in unwalled cities on the fourteenth. These two days
correspond to the two days in which the Jews defended themselves against
their enemies during the Persian Empire of antiquity. In ancient days, the
citizens of small villages had other days on which they could hear the
Megilah reading. This rule no longer applies.)
Other holidays are limited to a particular day or days,
corresponding to the time of year in which miracles occurred. Purim,
however, is not limited to a certain day, because it is beyond time. In a
similar way, its celebration will never cease, for it is beyond time.
G-d Himself is beyond time. Although there are times to be happy
and times to be sad, as King Solomon said,
"There is a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to eulogize and a time
nonetheless, faith provides a certain love of life, a certain constant joy.
Pain is fleeting -- all of our life is but a brief flash -- but a
recognition of the vast, intricate grandeur of the ongoing universe should
give us a feeling of awe and inspiration. To be alive! To be a part of the
story, to watch the unfolding of G-d's preordained plan -- life is the
greatest, most sacred gift...
This is the story of Purim, as recorded for posterity in the
biblical book of Esther: The mystical unfolding of a great salvation --
occurring at a time and in a manner that salvation would be the last thing
The Zohar states that our parsha, which discusses complex civil law,
is the secret of the transmigration of souls. The court case dealing with
damages and wrongful death is actually the unfolding of G-d's plan. Faith
dictates that there is a judge and (ultimate) justice. Although our human
eyes see the harsh reality of real-life suffering, our spirit must soar to a
higher realm. G-d appears to be the hand of strict severity, but His might
is tempered with incomprehensible generosity. All is in the balance.
It is up to us to look for the underlying miracle that permeates all
existence. Our complaints spoil the beauty. Our cynicism mars the
symmetry. Hope shows the awareness that full control is beyond our grasp;
perhaps the Judge will heed our plight, perhaps the Designer will take
cognizance of us.
Hope to G-d; take strength of heart, and hope to G-d.
The Talmud explains: Pray. If you are not answered -- pray again!