Purim - Megillat Esther
Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l
The entire story of the miracle of Megillat Esther took place over a period of nine years.
It began in the third year of the reign of King Achashveirosh, at the time when they killed Vashti. In the seventh year of the reign of King Achashveirosh he took Esther as a wife, and in the twelfth year of his reign was the decree of Haman. And at the time when they killed Vashti, not a single Jew foresaw that there would be a connection between that event and the salvation of Israel. It was only afterwards when Achashveirosh took Esther that they began to understand a little bit that there might be a connection. And it was only after nine years when the decree of Haman occurred, and by means of Esther the decree was cancelled, that they understood the preceding events. They saw that all those events had been connected together in order to save them from the decree of being destroyed and killed. And so it will be in the future to come when the Holy One Blessed Be He reveals Himself in His great Compassion and Kindness, at that time all of us will understand that all the events that occurred throughout all the years have been connected together for the purpose of the future redemption, may it occur speedily in our days, Amen.
"And he raised (in Hebrew: "Omen") Hadassah..." (Megillat Esther 2:7)
The Hebrew word "Omen" has the same root as the Hebrew word "Emunah" (in English: Faith). The meaning of this is that Mordechai the Tzaddik trained Esther to have faith that everything that happens to her is all a result of Divine Providence.
Why is the name of the holiday called Purim?
There are those who ask why the name of the holiday is called "Purim" (based on the Hebrew word "Pur", meaning "lottery"), shouldn't it have been called "Yom HaHatzala", the day of salvation? The explanation is that when Achashveirosh said to Haman "..and the people to do with it as is good in your eyes" (Megillat Esther 3:11), he should have immediately gone to battle to kill Israel, but it came up in his mind that it would be better to do a lottery and not to begin immediately. Therefore there was more time to pray and within four days of the decree they hanged Haman on the tree. The decree was on the 13th of Nisan and they hanged him on the 16th of Nissan. From this we see the power of prayer.
"...and fast for me, and don't eat and don't drink for three days.." (Megillat Esther 4:16)
There is a difficulty in this verse, for there seems to be an unnecessary repetition; since it said "fast for me", isn't it obvious that they aren't eating and drinking? And the explanation is, that during those three days was also the first day of Passover, and there is a requirement from the Torah to eat Matzah and drink the four cups of wine. And that is what Esther was saying, "fast for me", and even though the Yom Tov of Passover comes out during those days, in any event don't eat Matzah. And don't drink the four cups of wine. And Esther's intention in this was that if they didn't fulfill the Mitzvot of the holiday of Passover, this would show the Heavens how the world would look without the people of Israel. Just as now they are not fulfilling the Mitzvot of the night of the Seder, so it would be if G-d forbid there would be a decree of destruction, and by means of this Mercy would be aroused in the Heavens to cancel the decree.
"For the Jews there was Light and Happiness and Rejoicing and Honor." (Megillat Esther 8:16)
In the Gemara "Megillah", it says that Light means Torah, Happiness means Yom Tov, Rejoicing means Mila (Circumcision) and Honor means Tefillin (Phylacteries). The question is, why are these written only as a hint, it could have been written explicitly "Torah, Yom Tov, Mila, and Tefillin"? But the explanation is that Israel rose at that time to such a great level that they felt that the Torah was their light, that Yom Tov was their happiness, that Mila was their rejoicing, and that Tefillin was their most precious, honored object. (from the Sefat Emet)
Purim Sameach! (Happy Purim!)
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772