Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spirit of the Law: Purim #4

[#2 & #3 will be posted closer to Purim b'ezras Hashem.]
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:4
“On Purim one should don Shabbos clothes…”
The Avodas Yisrael, zt”l, writes that the sefirah of Chochmah shines with great clarity on Shabbos. For this reason, the great tzaddikim wrote that it is important to do teshuvah before Shabbos, to become worthy of receiving such a powerful light from on high. One first washes his body, then he immerses in the mikveh, and only then does one don his Shabbos finery in honor of the day and the spiritual light he is about to enjoy. On Shabbos, we are uplifted and are called, “holy unto Hashem.”
In the days of Mordechai and Esther, this illumination was revealed upon them despite the fact that it was a weekday and not Shabbos by virtue of their repentance, and through the fact that the Jews accepted the Torah anew from love. This is the deeper meaning that the Jewish people would continue to observe the days of Purim, “just like the days upon which the Jews rested...” The days of Purim are to be a perpetual observance, for they are like Shabbos, our day of rest.
The essential difference between Shabbos and Purim is that on Shabbos we are elevated to a place where this illumination of Divine providence shines upon us. On Purim, this illumination is drawn upon us at our weekday level. This is why on Shabbos we refrain from creative labor. We are in a place which is an aspect of the next world where no work will be necessary. On Purim, we are living in this world. Even so, Hashem does us the kindness of bestowing the light of His providence upon us and gracing us with closeness to Him. Since this is a kindness of Hashem which has nothing to do with our souls being raised up to higher places, we do not refrain from mundane labor.

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