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Thursday, March 09, 2017

A Guest Purim Drasha In TheTorah.Com by Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein

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A Guest Purim Drasha In TheTorah.Com by Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein


I am very honored and privileged to have been asked to prepare a guest Drasha for TheTorah.Com in honor of the Chag of Purim. TheTorah.Com is a wonderful publication, I am sure; as it is an online only outlet, I have never read it, as I have Paskened on numerous occasions that a Ben Toirah should never access the Internet. However, Rachmuna Litzlan, there are still a few Yidden who do not study Toirah full time and must rely on the Internet for their professions. So for them, I am sure that TheTorah.Com is a wonderful source of Divrei Toirah and Lumdoos. After all, with the word “Toirah” in the URL (is that what they call it?), what could possibly be unacceptable?

Read More: 

(Please Note: The Mamzerim at TheTorah took down my Drasha after Purim, causing many people to be Mevatel Toirah and forcing them to read Apikursus Gamoooor)

Since I do not have access to the Internet, or even to a computer, Chass V’Sholom, I am actually drafting this Drasha on a Klaf of parchment, using a quill passed down to me by my Alter Zeidy, the REEBOK.[1] And I am being Mispallel that someone will accurately transfer the written word to electronic format; the last thing I need is for people to have to debate the meaning of my words. Like the Toirah, which has remained the same since Moishe Rabbeinu descended from Har Sinai, my words are intended to be clear and concise, without being changed or altered in any way.

Of course, Moishe Rabbeinu did go up Har Sinai a second time, and came back with different Luchos,[2] but that is just because Reboinoisheloilum knows that the first time he came down from Har Sinai, he must have forgotten everything he heard from Hakadoshboruchhu after his Schmendrick-of-a-brother Aharoin HaKoihain fashioned the Eigel Ha’Zahav from the earrings, nose rings, and gangsta-bling of Klal Yisroel. 

Why do we Celebrate Purim?

So, Purim. The Megillah, Graggers, Matanois Le’Evyoinim, Shalach Manois, the Purim Seudah, excessive consumption of alcohol. Al Shum Mah? Why do we celebrate this Chag?[3]

Everything in Toirah is a Choik, and the reason we celebrate this Yuntif is because the Megillah tells us to. In fact, it is a unique example of a new Chag declared after the Toirah was written, which demonstrates the Koyach of Chazal

But the Yuntif, and the Megillah itself, are not without their mysteries. 

For one thing – Why create a new Yuntif in which you are commanded to amass baked goods and other foods of all sorts just as you are beginning to clean for Pesach? What, Mordechai Ha’Yehudi, when he was composing the Sefer, did not think that we had enough Chometz to worry about this time of year, that he had to command that we should receive homemade Hamantashen from every Bas Yisroel in the neighborhood? Didn’t he realize that this would have made their household chores more difficult, as well as distract them from the full-time jobs they hold down to support their twelve children while their husbands are fulfilling the will of the Aibishter by learning in Koilel Yoimum V’Laylah?

The answer is, Mordechai LeShitasoi, he was never really so Machmir about Pesach, as the Gemorrah says (b. Megillah 15a):

ויעבור מרדכי 
אמר רב שהעביר יום ראשון של פסח בתענית
“So Mordecai passed [vaya’avor]” (Esther 4:17). Rav said: This means that he passed (he-eveer, did an aveira) the first day of Passover as a fast day, (and wasn’t Mekayim “Vesamachta Be’Chagecha” [rejoicing on the chag]).[4]

Anyway, Nisht Gerferlach; as long as the additional Chometz doesn’t cause a woman’s husband to engage in Bittul Toirah, what is another hour or two of vacuuming wherever the Kinderlach might have dragged their favorite cakes, cookies, candy bars, and Ramen noodles (for those members of Klal Yisroel living in Asia).

The Aibishter’s Absence from the Megillah

The Megillah itself of course also has some mysteries. Perhaps the most discussed Shailah over the millennia is Azoy: Why does Hakadoshboruchhu’s name not appear even once in the Megillah? What’s Pshat? 

Please do not try to answer this on your own – you might hurt yourself.

There is of course a famous Mishnah in Perek Yud Aleph of Maseches Megillah in which this topic is discussed. Asks the Braisah, “Where is the Name (of the Reboinoisheloilum) mentioned?” According to Rabbi Akiva, the Aibishter ‘s name was not explicitly written in the Megillah since copies of the Megillah were being dispatched by messengers throughout the Persian Empire, Me’Hoidoo V’Ad Kush, and there was a Chashash, Chass V’Sholom, that a copy of the Megillah might be mishandled and fall on the ground and not be picked up and kissed fast enough. 

Rabbi Yishmael holds Farkert – That in fact the concern about a Klaf falling is not a reason to leave out the Aibishter’s name, since if this were the case, Klal Yisroel would be machmir and never use a Sefer, and it would impact the production of all Sifre Koidesh.[5]

Instead, Rabbi Yishmael holds that the reason the Reboinoisheloilum’s name is not mentioned is because the central theme of the Megillah is Nais Nistar, hidden miracles. Even during the darkest of times, we must have faith – and even act – with the fundamental confidence that “Revach V’Hatazalah Ya’Amoid La’Yehudim,” that salvation will come to Klal Yisroel.[6] He cites as proof the number of Hatzalah ambulances throughout the Jewish communities, and the number of Bochrim in Yeshiva and Koilel walking around with walkie-talkies and beepers all day.

The Aibishter Excised
However, the Gemarrah brings a Braisah quoting the Maymar of Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuyah that holds differently. He holds that Mordechai Ha’Yehudi in fact included reference to the Reboinoisheloilum throughout the Megillah, but that a later editor—possibly the sons of Haman in Bnei Brak (b. Gittin 57b)—excised the direct references to Hakadoshboruchhu as part of a broader editorial process.

Asks the Gemarrah about this Braisah, “How could a Tanna say such a thing?” Rav Huna suggests that this Braisah must be a Braisah MeShabeshta (distorted), and that any Minuval who would suggest that a Sefer Koidesh could be edited would be struck down by lighteningToich KeDei Dibbur, faster than the time it would take one to say the words, “Baruch HaShem Sheloi Asani Ishah.”

Rav Pappa however disagrees, insinuating that Rav Huna’s turban was probably a little too tight that day. Instead. Rav Pappa reminds us that Reb Elisha Ben Abuyah was also known as Acher, the great Tanna who ultimately lost his faith and was Mekatzez Be’Netiyos “cutting the shoots,” referring either to when he cut off his Payis or when he became a hair stylist in the south side of Tel Aviv. It was actually Reb Elisha’s learning that Esther was really Mordechai’s wife[7] but married Achasheverosh anyway that pushed him over the edge, leading to his eventual descent into smoking of Besamim and Chavrusa swapping.

A Terrible Secret
Toisfois, discussing this Gemarrah, asks a brilliant Kasha, “How can Rav Pappa suggest that Acher was a hair stylist in Tel Aviv when Tel Aviv would not even be founded for another 1400 years?” Answers Rabbeinu Tam, Rav Pappa made up the Tel Aviv story to distract us from a terrible secret. In truth, Rav Elisha was sincere and lucid when making his suggestion—there were no Besamim involved, but he had fallen into a terrible Kefira, the one that earned him the title of “Acher.” He believed that all the holy books of the TANACH—not just Esther—had been edited, Hashem Yishmor.

A Cherem on Bible Criticizers

Rabboisai, it is a great tragedy that in our day that same notion that the Rabbeinu Tam ascribes to Acher is alive and well.

I doubt that any readers of this Heiligeh online publication TheTorah.Com would be familiar with such notions, but I am told that there is an entire school of thought related to this notion of what is sometimes referred to as “Biblical criticism.” I mean, what kind of Pintele Yid would dare to criticize something as perfect as the Toirah? Do people go to the Louvre in Paris and criticize the Mona Lisa? Do people travel to Mitzrayim to criticize the pyramids? Do people drink Coika Coila and criticize the taste? Of course not! And these are all human endeavors. Kal V’Choimer with the Toirah!!!

Anyone criticizing the Toirah, suggesting that there was an oral or textual tradition that went through phases of redaction, or suggesting that there were multiple sources that were compiled into the Mesoirah of our Toirah as we have it today, or suggesting – Chass V’Sholom – that errors may have been introduced over centuries and millennia of transmission, is a Mechitziff who deserves to lose his Chelek in Oilum Habbah, and, more significantly, his government subsidies. And anyone who publishes with them should immediately be put in Cherem!

Shoyn. In any case, I would like to once again thank the Hanhallah of TheToirah.Com for inviting me to share a Drasha with the publication’s Talmidim, in the ongoing effort to celebrate the wondrous glory that is the Toirah, to which a letter has not been added or taken away since Matan Toiraseinu on Har Sinai and its later publication by ArtScroll.

Ah Frelichen Yuntif!


[1] His name was actually R. Mordechai, but he took the name Reebok as reminder of when Mordechai kicked Haman, yimach shmo, in the tuchus (b. Megillah 16a).

למאניה אמר ליה סק ורכב אמר ליה לא יכילנא דכחישא חילאי מימי תעניתא גחין וסליק כי סליק בעט ביה אמר ליה לא כתיב לכו (משלי כד, יז) בנפל אויבך אל תשמח אמר ליה הני מילי בישראל אבל בדידכו כתיב (דברים לג, כט) ואתה על במותימו תדרוך
After Haman trimmed his hair, Haman dressed Mordecai in the royal garments. Haman then said to him: Mount the horse and ride. Mordecai said to him: I am unable, as my strength has waned from the days of fasting that I observed. Haman then stooped down before him and Mordecai ascended on him. As he was ascending the horse, Mordecai gave Haman a kick. Haman said to him: Is it not written for you: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls” (Proverbs 24:17)? Mordecai said to him: This statement applies only to Jews, but with regard to you it is written: “And you shall tread upon their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

[2] See Reb Marc Zvi Brettler SHLITA, “Ten Insights about the Ten Commandments,” (5775).

[3] This is a trick question, of course, and you probably failed it, you Mechutziff.

[4] יו”ט ראשון של פסח – שהרי בי”ג בניסן נכתבו האגרות וניתן הדת בשושן וי”ד וחמשה עשר וששה עשר התענו ובששה עשר נתלה המן בערב

[5] It should be noted that at that time Rabbi Yishmael owned controlling interest in Dyoi Koidesh LLC, a major ink manufacturer used by scribes throughout the Jewish centers at that time in Eretz Yisroel, Bavel, Alexandria, Rome, and Brooklyn.

[6] This Emunah was of little help to Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael who were arrested by the Romans for teaching Toirah without a license, but the principle is still a good one.

[7] See Reb B. Barry Levy SHLITA, “What Was Esther’s Relationship to Mordechai?” (5776)


Ah Freilechin Yuntif, You Menuval


Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

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