Sunday, February 28, 2010

Panim be'Panim


The weather on Purim is pretty bad in Israel and many public events have been canceled. Since Friday, it has been pouring and Jerusalem was quite flooded. The stormy weather and the rain are also continuing today and we will see if I make it to Mea Shearim for the Megillah reading. If not, there is still Ruzhin - Boyan nearby and if the rain is so bad that it is impossible to move, I can still run into the Synagogue of the former Yemenite Kabbalist Mordechai Sharabi z"l.

The Megillah reading in Jerusalem is only taking place tonight, as we celebrate "Shushan Purim". Tomorrow all kinds of parties are scheduled including the famous traditional "Se'udat Purim - Purim Meal". Towards the evening, countless events in Mea Shearim are going to take place. Plenty of Chassidim will be so drunk under the table … unbelievable.

The Gemara (rabbinic discussions) in Talmud Chullin 139b teaches us that G - d hid in the name "Esther". "Astir - I will conceal" - or "nistar - hidden", those words are included in the name "Esther". Talmud Megillah 10b teaches us that Esther was originally called "Hadassah". Hadassah literally means "myrtle"

There is a very famous kabbalistic teaching by the Arizal (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria). The concept is called "Panim be'Panim - Face to Face".
G - d's name is not mentioned in the "Megillath Esther - Book of Esther" and we see that everything He does is hidden. When we have a look at the Purim story, we see all kinds of people acting but not G - d because He is hiding His face. It was G - d who hid His face from the Jewish people when they neglected Torah study and joyfully participated in the unkosher meal of Achashverosh. In the end, however, the Jews did Teshuva (repented) and G - d caused a miracle.

Sometimes G - d is hiding His face from the Jewish people and we may be more vulnerable to the other nations. Nevertheless, G - d is never leaving His people (the Jews) and will eternally stand side by side with them.

"Purim Sameach - Freilichen Purim" to all of you !

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