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Yoma 29

YOMA 27, 28, 29 (16 Shevat), 30 - have been dedicated by Gitle Bekelnitzky for the 38th Yahrzeit of Leah bas Mordechai Dovid and Chasya (Bikelnitzky), mother of her late husband, Simcha Bekelnitzky.


AGADAH: The verse in Tehilim (22:1) says, "La'Menatze'ach Al Ayeles ha'Shachar." The Gemara explains that David ha'Melech said this psalm as a prayer for Esther. Rav Zeira explains why David ha'Melech compares Esther to an Ayeles, a doe: just as an Ayeles is beloved to its mate at every moment just like the very first moment, so, too, Esther was beloved to Achashverosh at every moment just like the first moment that he met her.

Why is it important for David ha'Melech to mention this quality of Esther in his prayer and to relate Achashverosh's love for her?


[I] Our Sages tell us that "Malchusa d'Ar'a k'Ein Malchusa d'Rakia" -- the affairs of a corporal, earthly king is reflective of what is happening in Shamayim, in the Kingship of Hashem. This theme is also expressed in the Midrashim which say that when the word "ha'Melech" ("the King") is used in Megilas Esther (referring, on a simple level, to King Achashverosh), it is an allusion to the King of Kings, Hashem (Esther Raba 3:15).

Therefore, when David ha'Melech discusses the love that the king Achashverosh had for Esther, he is alluding to the relationship between Hashem and Keneses Yisrael, the Jewish people. Because of the deeds of Esther during the time of Purim, the relationship of Hashem to the Jewish people changed, and Hashem expressed His love for them in a way that showed that He loved them with the same love as when they first became His people at Matan Torah.

This love is the reciprocal love for Klal Yisrael, who are the "Ayeles Ahavim" of Hashem. The Gemara in Eruvin (54b) derives from the verse, "Ayeles Ahavim v'Ya'alas Chen" -- "a doe of love and a roe of grace" (Mishlei 5:19) -- that Divrei Torah are compared to a doe, and just as a doe is beloved to its mate as when they were first together, so, too, Divrei Torah are precious and beloved to the person who learns them as if he were learning them for the first time.

This theme sums up the miracle of Purim. The Jewish people renewed their love for the Mitzvos as if they had received them for the first time. Hashem reacted measure for measure and showed them that He loved them as much as when they first became His people.

We may expand on this further as follows. Haman, when presenting to Achashverosh his argument for destroying the Jews, claimed "Yeshno Am Echad" -- "there exists a certain nation" (Esther 3:8). Chazal explain that Haman was saying, "This certain nation is sleeping (Yeshno) from the Mitzvos" (Megilah 13b). That is, the Jews' fulfillment of the Mitzvos had become so heartless that Haman reasoned that his attempts to destroy them would be successful, since their apathy towards the Mitzvos would forfeit any Divine protection to which they might otherwise have been entitled. Hashem reacted to their "sleepy" performance of the Mitzvos measure for measure by acting as if He was sleeping and He did not show His presence to them. In fact, according to Esther Raba (7:12) Haman claimed outright that Hashem was "sleeping from protecting his people," and cites the verse (Tehilim 44:24), "Arouse, why should You sleep, Hashem!" (Esther Raba 10:1)

Later in the Megilah, the verse says, "ba'Laylah ha'Hu Nadedah Sh'nas ha'Melech" -- "on that night, the king's sleep was disturbed" (Esther 6:1). The Midrash (ibid. 10:1) comments that this refers to Hashem's sleep. Realizing the danger that faced them, the Jews did Teshuvah and they turned to Hashem in fervent prayer and fasting. They aroused themselves from their slumber, and in return Hashem aroused Himself from His slumber, so to speak. "Va'Yikatz k'Yashen Hashem" -- "and Hashem woke up as one who sleeps" (Tehilim 78:65, cited by Esther Raba 7:12). When the Jews repented with a complete Teshuvah and they took upon themselves to fulfill the Torah as if they were accepting it for the first time, as it says "Kiyemu v'Kiblu"

(Esther 9:27; Shabbos 88a), Hashem responded accordingly and treated the Jews with a display of renewed love.

This explains why David ha'Melech refers to Esther as an Ayeles, symbolizing that it was she who caused the relationship between Hashem and Klal Yisrael to change so that they were beloved to each other as they were at first meeting.

[II] This theme is reflected in other elements of Purim. The Gemara (Megilah 7b) states that a person should become inebriated on Purim "Ad d'Lo Yada Bein Baruch Mordechai l'Arur Haman." The REMA (OC 695:2) rules that it does not mean that one should get drunk, but rather it means that one should drink a little and then go to sleep. Perhaps the reason that a person should fulfill the Halachah in this way is to commemorate what happened on Purim; the Jews were "sleeping" and Hashem was acting as if He was asleep, and through the miraculous events of Purim, the Jews were inspired to do Teshuvah and they awoke from their slumber, becoming worthy of Hashem awaking from His slumber, so to speak.

In addition, the Gemara (Megilah 10b) says that Mordechai's name comes from the words "Mor Dror" (or "Mor Dachi" in Aramaic) which was the first of the Besamim used in the Shemen ha'Mishchah and the Ketores (Shemos 30:23). This alludes to the fact that one of Mordechai's talents was arousing people to renew their love of Hashem. Just like the aroma of the Besamim which went into the Ketores was always stimulating and no one could ever become bored of the smell, so, too, Mordechai aroused the people to a level of love of Hashem that never becomes dull.

This quality of Ketores is hinted to in the Mishnah (Yoma 26a) which says "Chadashim la'Ketores" (which literally means that only new Kohanim who had never brought the Ketores could participate in the Payis for the Ketores). A characteristic of the aromatic Ketores is that its sweet smell arouses people to renew their love of Hashem. Perhaps partly in order to take advantage of this point, it was instituted that only new Kohanim could bring the Ketores, in order that the Mitzvah be done with even greater zeal and love.

Like Esther, the Ayeles, Mordechai shared the quality of being able to bring his people to renew their love for Hashem and His Torah. (M. Kornfeld)

AGADAH: The verse in Tehilim (22:1) says, "La'Menatze'ach Al Ayeles ha'Shachar." David ha'Melech said this psalm as a prayer for Esther. Rav Asi asks why David ha'Melech compares Esther to the Shachar, the break of dawn. He answers that just like daybreak is the end of the night, so, too, Esther was the end of the occurrence of miracles.

Why does the Gemara compare the end of miracles to the beginning of *day*? It is through the occurrence of miracles that we have a glimpse of Hashem's hand running the world. It would seem to be much more accurate to compare the end of miracles to the beginning of the *night*, when darkness descends upon the world and we no longer have a clear view of Hashem's direct involvement!


(a) The MAHARSHA says that the Gemara means that Purim is the end of the "miracles that occur in Galus." Such miracles are like flashes of light in the dark of night which encourage us that Hashem has not forsaken us. The Gemara is not saying that the miracles themselves are like the nighttime; rather, it is referring to "miracles *of* the nighttime," that is, miracles that occur during Galus. Purim was the time when the darkness of the night of Galus began to wane and give way to daybreak, making flashes of light -- or open miracles -- unnecessary. The Maharsha bases this on the Midrash which says that all of the miracles in this world occur at night, but when the final Ge'ulah comes, the miracles will occur during the day. Purim is the last of the miracles to occur during the night of Galus.

The idea that Esther was the "end of miracles" means that after the miracle of Purim, no more miracles were necessary to remind us that Hashem is still with us. No such flashes of light were necessary after the miracle of Purim, because it became clear at that time that Hashem was with the Jewish people and protected them under *any* situation. The previous miracles showed only that Hashem was with the Jewish people when they were still living in Eretz Yisrael and merited unquestionable, clear miracles. When they were sent into Galus, though, they feared that Hashem might no longer be with them, since they could not merit open miracles when outside of Eretz Yisrael. The miracle of Purim showed that Hashem is with His people even when they are in Galus. When Hashem does not send an open miracle like the type that occurred when the Beis ha'Mikdash was standing, He sends miracles clothed in natural occurrences, giving the Jewish people the confidence that He will protect them through whatever they might endure until the final Ge'ulah.

This makes the Gemara's conclusion clear. Purim was the last of the miracles that was "given over to being recorded in writing." There were other miracles after Purim (such as Chanukah), but those miracles did not have to be written down. Only miracles that pertain to all future generations are written down (Megilah 14a). It was not necessary to record the others because once we had the encouragement from the miracle of Purim that Hashem would be with us until the Ge'ulah, no more miracles were necessary for that purpose.

(b) The MESHECH CHOCHMAH (beginning of Parshas Bechukosai) explains that the entire process of nature itself is a miracle. However, a person gets used to it and fails to give adequate praise to Hashem. The open miracles that Hashem performs serve to *remind a person* about the miracles inherent in the natural order of the world.

However, the ideal state is to see the hand of Hashem in the day-to-day world, without open miracles. At the time of the final Ge'ulah, the world will reach a state in which the knowledge and awareness of Hashem will be clearly evident to everyone in the natural course of the world, without open miracles. Purim initiated this state of awareness of the hand of Hashem in the natural course of the world. It is appropriate, then, for today's scarcity of open miracles to be compared to day, as opposed to night. (Heard from RAV KALMAN WEINREB, shlit'a.)


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