Friday, April 29, 2011

268 - Tzav (Zachor)

In this week's Haftorah we read about Shaul's war against the Amaleikim, and his failure to properly heed Hashem's commandment to wipe out that evil nation. Shaul did not kill the king of Amalek, and he left the best animals alive to sacrifice to Hashem. When Shmuel was apprised of the situation, he castigated Shaul. "To obey [the word of Hashem] is better than a choice offering, to be attentive, than the fat of rams. For rebelliousness is like the sin of sorcery" (Shmuel II 15, 22).

Rav Wolbe (Da'as Shlomo Geulah pg. 219), basing himself on the Ralbag explains Shmuel's metaphor of sorcery. The Rambam writes that there is a basic difference between a prophet of Hashem and one who divines through sorcery. A sorcerer can tell the future, but he will never be able to predict what will happen to the very last detail. He might declare that there will be a terrible drought during the year and no rain will fall, while in reality a small amount of rain will indeed fall. In contrast, a true prophet will correctly predict every last detail. Therefore, if even one minute detail of his prophecy fails to come to fruition, we can be certain that he is not a true prophet.

From Shmuel's rebuke of Shaul, we can glean that this concept applies not only to prophecy, but also to mitzvos. The fulfillment of a commandment with a lack of meticulousness to every detail due to a feeling that one can get away with less, is to a certain extent comparable to sorcery! An unjustifiable excuse in order to enable one to be lax in one's performance of a mitzvah, demonstrates that the mitzvah does not stem from an entirely holy source. It resembles sorcery, the prime example of lack of attention to detail.

Purim is a day packed with unique mitzvos, and care should be taken to perform them all with attention to the details. This includes listening to each word of the Megillah, gladdening others with mishloach manos and matanos l'evyonim, and a joyous seudah that does not result in detracting from the proper performance of other mitzvos. The proper performance of these mitzvos has the ability to raise one to great levels of ahavas Hashem and ahavas Yisroel!

A Freilichin Purim!

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