There are four special Torah readings from before Rosh Chodesh Adar until Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The 2nd Shabbat in Adar is the second of these readings. In addition to the regular Torah portion which is read every Shabbat, we also read from a second Torah, known as, Parshat Zachor.Parshat Zachor is always read on the Shabbat before Purim.”Zachor” means “Remember.” The Torah tells us to “Remember what Amalek did to you while you were on the way, when you left Egypt.” The Torah commands, “Erase the remembrance of Amalek.” Click here –> http://midnightrabbi.com/investment
Amalek was the first nation to wage war against the Jewish people after the Exodus. The Torah tells us that we must always remember what Amalek did to us and never forget.Jews fought many wars while on the way to Israel and later in Israel. Why is the war with Amalek special that it is a mitzvah to forever remember what Amalek did to us?After the Exodus, when G-d showed such revealed miracles for the Jewish people, especially after the splitting of the Sea, which caused all the nations to fear them, came Amalek and waged war against them. He was the first to try and inflict pain on the Jewish people and thus we have to remember what he did.Our sages say that the numerical value of the word “Amalek” (240) is the same as the word, “Safek,” which means to “doubt.” Until Amalek waged war, other nations wouldn’t dare fight against the Jewish people, for they were sure they would lose. Amalek’s action put doubt into their minds about that theory and they too eventually waged war against the people.
What is the connection between remembering Amalek and the holiday of Purim?
Haman was a direct descendant of Amalek. Haman’s hatred for the Jews and paying King Achashveoiresh 10,000 silver Shekel for permission to annihilate them was because he was a descendant of Amalek. He inherited Amalek’s hatred for the Jewish people.
Why do we make noise when Haman’s name is mentioned in the Megilah?
As mentioned, Haman descended from Amalek and the Torah tells us, “Erase the remembrance of Amalek”. Thus, when the reader mentions Haman, we “erase” his name by making noise.
There was an ancient custom where Haman’s name was written upon two sticks. Every time Haman was mentioned, people would bang the sticks together until his name was erased! Moshiach NOW!!!
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Chaim Yitzchok Cohen Purim is this year. As with all Jewish holidays, they begin with the night before, thus, Purim begins Saturday night through Sunday.
The reason Shabbat and holidays begin on the night before is that according to Torah night comes before day.We find this at the time of creation when the Torah tells us that, “It was evening and it was morning one day.” The Torah mentions evening before morning and together they make up one day.There are five mitzvot we must do on Purim:1) Listening to the Megilah reading. This mitzvah applies to Purim night (Saturday night) and again in the morning (Sunday morning). The Megilah is the story of Purim hand written by a scribe on parchment. It is important to hear every word. When the congregation makes noise at the mention of Haman’s name, the reader has to wait until all the noise stops, before continuing.2) Reciting the Al HaNisim. “Al HaNisim” is a prayer in which we thank G-d for the great miracle of Purim. Al haNisim is recited during the Amidah prayers on Purim and in the Grace-after-meals.
3) Mishloach Manot – sending gifts. This mitzvah applies only to Purim day (Sunday). We send gifts of kosher ready-to-eat foods to friends. We send at least two kinds of food, ready to eat (cooked already or don’t need cooking), to at least one person.
4) Matanot LaEvyonim – gifts to the poor. On Purim (Sunday), we give charity to at least two poor people. It is a mitzvah to increase in giving charity on Purim to show that we care for each other.
Although one fulfills the mitzvah when giving to two poor people, our sages say that on Purim it is preferable to give to “whoever stretches out their hand.” Thus, it is customary that on Purim we distribute more charity than usual.
5) Seudat Purim – Purim meal. Purim (Sunday) afternoon, we eat a festive meal as befitting the celebration of this great miracle. It is customary to invite family, friends and needy to partake in the Purim meal. Purim is a time when we demonstrate unity and caring.
There is also a mitzvah to have a L’echayim or two or more… at the Purim meal.
Why do we reader read from a Megilah which is folded in layers, rather than rolled like a scroll?”
Esther and Mordechai refer to the Megilah as “Igeret” – “letter”. Thus, we fold it like a letter. Moshiach NOW!!!
Chaim Yitzchok Cohen Who can repress a smile when seeing the joy of a small child shrieking in delight as he glides down a slide in a park? Whose gait isn’t emboldened as he passes a newsstand and the headlines report good news? Or what about when you’re at a wedding and the stomp of the foot on the breaking glass elicits resounding cries of “mazel tov”; the surge of simcha, or joy, is electric.
“Serve G-d with joy,” King David demands. And since we are in the employ of our Boss 24-7 we must be in a continual state of joyousness.”That’s easier said than done,” you might be thinking. Perhaps in the above-mentioned scenarios joy is intrinsic, but what of other times, those regular, run-of-the-mill days when there’s no particular reason to rejoice? Or worse yet, those gray periods when we see everything around us through cheerless lenses? How can we sustain an upbeat feeling, an optimistic outlook?By not thinking too much about ourselves. When a person focuses on himself, it’s natural that he should start thinking about what he lacks materially or his failings in regard to self-growth and actualization. Obviously, these thoughts aren’t conducive to inspiring a cheerful attitude.Also, by not thinking too much of ourselves. When a person has an inflated sense of self, he is often hurt or angered by slights real and imagined.If a person really wants to be in a joyous frame of mind, he has to rise above self-concern. He needs to spend time reflecting on the idea that there is something deeper and great beyond him, G-d. And when a person thinks more about G-d and less about/of himself (especially if those reflections are based on the Jewish mystical teachings found in Chasidism), he will find it easier to maintain a positive and even joyous attitude in life.
And there’s something in it for us, as well. When a person is joyous, he generates a new-found energy that he would not otherwise be able to muster. This doesn’t mean that real problems miraculously cease to exist (though sometimes they do disappear), but rather that we are able to view them and even solve them from our new, energized positive perspective.
When we’re so happy that we’re “bursting” with joy, it’s natural to want to share it with others. An instinctive part of being happy is wanting those around us to be happy as well. And share it we should, especially now that we are in the Jewish month of Adar II and so close to Purim! The Talmud teaches, “From the beginning of Adar we increase in joyousness.” Take advantage of the fact that this Jewish year is a leap year and contains two months of Adar. That means we get double the opportunities to practice being happy! And as the old saying goes, “Practice makes good enough!”
One more thought about simcha: In Hebrew it shares the same root letters as the word “Moshiach.” This teaches us that by actually working on ourselves to be happy, we actually hasten the time when the whole world will be happy – the time of Moshiach. Moshiach NOW!!!
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- Purim 2014 with Lazer Lloyd for pics March 2nd.
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