Friday, March 02, 2007

Parshas Tetzaveh / Purim

“וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית--לַמָּאוֹר: לְהַעֲלת נֵר, תָּמִיד.”

“You shall command the B'nei Yisrael and have them bring you clear olive oil, [made from olives that were] crushed for lighting, to keep the lamp burning constantly.” (Sefer Shemos, 27:20)

The commentaries question the first words of the Parsha, “V’atah Titzaveh/and YOU shall command…” It almost seems as if G-d wants the message to be sent through Moshe in a way that the Jews will believe that the command came from Moshe himself, and not Hashem. We can contrast this with so many other instances where Hashem wants a message relayed to the Jewish people, where it will simply say “Speak to the Jewish people, saying…”; clearly our verse is different.

Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, from the Satmar dynasty, answers our question in light of that which the verse (Bamidbar 12:3) calls Moshe, “Anav m’od mikol adam/the most humblest of all people.” One may think that 100% avnivus/humility is the way to approach life, but R’ Teitelbaum says that we can see from this that it isn’t the case. How so? The verse immediately preceding that which we read on Purim morning says:

“וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם, מַסָּה וּמְרִיבָה: עַל-רִיב בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְעַל נַסּתָם אֶת-יְהוָה לֵאמר, הֲיֵשׁ יְהוָה בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ, אִם-אָיִן.”
“And the name of the place was called Massah, and Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tried the LORD, saying: 'Is the LORD among us, or not?”

R’ Teitelbaum says that it certainly wasn’t the case that the Jews were really questioning whether or not Hashem was in their midst. Rather, they wanted to know if they needed to serve Hashem with the attribute of “Yeish” (a feeling of importance/slight Gaivah); or rather, with the attribute of “ein” (nothingness, anivus). It seems from the verses that they choose to serve Hashem while viewing themselves as “nothingness”, which, as the Pesukim continue, lead to Amalek’s attack upon us. It says by the attack of Amalek happened in “Refidim”, which can be explained that they were “Rifu Yidaheim m’haTorah/their hands forgot the Torah. Because they had viewed themselves as total “nothingness”, they subsequently were unable to see the importance in anything that they did – including Torah.

It follows from this that total humility, it seems, is what lead to Amalek’s attack on us. And this is why the Pasuk at the beginning of our Parsha emphasizes that the order is to seem as if it came from Moshe, saying that even though he is the most humble of people, he shouldn’t just view himself as a puppet; rather as an individual that has something to offer; a person that should serve Hashem with the attribute of “Yeish” and not with the attribute of “Ein”.

Finally, the Ozhrover Rebbe says that the word “Tishkach” should be split into two words, “Tash Koach”/I have no power.” The idea of Purim and Amalek is “Lo Tishkach”; don’t think that you have no power or that you are a nothing. If, however, we are Tash Koach, we are living our lives in a way that Amalek wants us to; not in a way that Hashem wants us to.


Anonymous G said...

Just thinking out loud; is there a better way for this to be phrased while still not using Moshe's name?

Since this is the parsha deemed not to contain his name we cannot bring a proof that any other phrasing (that does mention Moshe by name) would have been better.

This may just be the way that every such pasuk would start if not using "Moshe".

1:23 PM, March 02, 2007


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