Tuesday, March 13, 2012

317 Ki Sisa - Purim

Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 64) cites a fascinating Ibn Ezra in this week's Parsha. The Ibn Ezra (Shemos 31, 18) quotes the "empty headed" who wonder what Moshe did on Har Sinai for forty days and forty nights. In other words, Hashem could have revealed the 613 mitzvos to Moshe in a number of hours, and if so, what took forty days? He answers as follows:

"They fail to understand that even if he would have remained there with Hashem for that amount of time and doubled it twice he would not know even one thousandth of Hashem's ways and the secret behind the Mitzvos that He commanded. For they think that only actions are essential, while in reality it is the heart together with the actions ... and our Sages stated 'Hashem desires the heart.' And the root of all mitzvos is to cause one to love Hashem with his entire heart and cleave to Him, and it is not possible to achieve this if one does not recognize Hashem's actions in the Heavens and Earth and [does not] know His ways."

The purpose of the Torah is to bring us to a knowledge of the ways of Hashem. However, it is not the superficial knowledge that is vital, rather, the heart's comprehension of this knowledge. When one knows something to the point that his heart accepts it as complete truth, he has succeeded in integrating it into his fiber and the way he conducts his life. Yet, the ma'aseh hamitzvos are also necessary, for without them it is not possible to achieve this devikus, as the Chinuch writes, "the hearts are drawn after one's actions." It is the combination of our heart together with the actions that is imperative. Therefore, since Hashem wished to fill Moshe's heart with an understanding of His greatness, even years would not suffice for such an endeavor.

Purim is a day full of unique mitzvos. The Ba'alei Mussar write that the bottom line behind all of them is love. The reading of the Megillah is in reality a recitation of hallel which should bring us to love Hashem. Mishloach manos and matanas l'evyonim are ways to beget love between man and his fellow man. Even the seudah on Purim is an expression of love toward oneself. To produce the desired effect, in addition to the actual performance of these mitzvos, we must combine them with a dose of "heart." The outcome of this winning combination will be an improvement in our relationship, both with Hashem and our fellow man.

A Freilichin Purim!

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