Friday, March 17, 2006

Seudas Purim - The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Celebrate

It all began with a party and it all ended with a party. "It" refers to the story of Purim, as we read every year in Megillas Esther. The first party was the vulgar party, lasting seven days, which Achashverosh threw for his entire kingdom. We learn that Haman, ym"sh, ensured that the food would be "glatt kosher" in order to use as bait for the Jewish dignitaries. The attendance of the Jews at the party had a negative spiritual effect on the Jewish People. That was Haman's, ym"sh, evil design. The party, aside from the food, was anything but kosher. People were getting drunk, no cap in place for the amount of wine drunk. There was sexual lewdness, or at the very least, that was what Achashverosh intended. The spiritual shield of the Jews was weakened by that Rasha. It was only as a result of Mordechai refusing to "intermingle" and "please" the "international community" that the "decree" to wipe out the Jews was annulled.

As we can see below, there were two negative "parties" (note: the term "mishteh" "משתה" - is related to the word "shiti'yah" - "drinking" - it was a party for "drinking"). After the two parties, the first one where the Jews attended a spiritually inappropriate "party" and the second one was where the decree was "sealed" to wipe out the Jews. It took Esther two of her own parties to counteract the first two parties. The two parties of Esther brought a turnaround "v'na'hafoch hu" - "ונהפך הוא" where the Jews enemies were wiped out instead.

The purpose of Esther's parties was very spiritual indeed; To save the Jewish People from destruction. The first two parties were dedicated to immorality - the first - sexual lewdness, the celebration of the Jews "not returning to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash", as well as the presence of many idolaters. The second one dedicated to murdering the Jewish People.

We must learn from Esther's seudos, that we should have our parties with spiritual meaning, not with any inappropriate behavior. We are celebrating Esther's Seudos, not the vulgar mishtes of Achashverosh and Haman.

(פסוק ה) ובמלואת הימים האלה, עשה המלך לכל העם הנמצאים בשושן הבירה למגדול ועד קטן משתה:שבעת ימים: בחצר, גנת ביתן המלך.

"...the King made for all those who were found in the capital Shushan, from grown to small, a seven day party..."

(פסוק ח) והשתיה כדת, אין אנס: כי כן יסד המלך, על כל רב ביתו:לעשות, כרצון איש ואיש. [ס]

"The drinking was like the law, no one was one forced [to drink a given amount], for that is what the King established, on all the ministers of his house, to do in accordance with the will of each person."

(פסוק ט) גם ושתי המלכה, עשתה משתה נשים, בית המלכות, אשר למלך אחשורוש.
(פסוק י) ביום השביעי, כטוב לב המלך ביין:אמר למהומן בזתא חרבונא בגתא ואבגתא, זתר וכרכס, שבעת הסריסים, המשרתים את פני המלך אחשורוש.

Here we see Achashverosh ordering Vashti, the Queen to appear in a very inappropriate way in front of all those in attendance.

(פסוק טו) הרצים יצאו דחופים, בדבר המלך, והדת נתנה, בשושן הבירה; והמלך והמן ישבו לשתות, והעיר שושן נבוכה. [ס]

"The runners went out, pushed, with the word of the King, and the law was given, in the capital Shushan; And the King and Haman sat to drink, and the city of Shushan was in [a state of] confusion."

This was a decree to wipe out the Jewish People. This is the next mishteh (party) recorded in the Megillah, where Haman and Achashverosh sit down to celebrate what they think is the eradication of world Jewry.

(פסוק ד) ותאמר אסתר, אם על המלך טוב:יבוא המלך והמן היום, אל המשתה אשר עשיתי לו.
(פסוק ה) ויאמר המלך:מהרו את המן, לעשות את דבר אסתר; ויבא המלך והמן, אל המשתה אשר עשתה אסתר.
(פסוק ו) ויאמר המלך לאסתר במשתה היין, מה שאלתך וינתן לך; ומה בקשתך עד חצי המלכות, ותעש.
(פסוק ז) ותען אסתר, ותאמר: שאלתי, ובקשתי.
(פסוק ח) אם מצאתי חן בעיני המלך, ואם על המלך טוב, לתת את שאלתי, ולעשות את בקשתי:יבוא המלך והמן, אל המשתה אשר אעשה להם, ומחר אעשה, כדבר המלך.

"And Esther said, if it is good upon the King, Haman and the King should come today, to the mishteh, which I made for him. And the King said, hurry Haman, to do the word of Esther, to the mishteh which Esther prepared. And the King said to Esther during the mishteh of wine, what is your request, and I will give it to you; And what do you seek, up to half the kingdom, and I will do. And Esther answered, and she said: My request and that which I seek. If I have found favor in the eyes of the King, and if it is good upon the King, to give my, and to do that which I seek: The King and Haman should come to the mishteh that I will make for them, and tomorrow I will do, in accordance with the word of the King."

(פסוק יד) עודם מדברים עמו, וסריסי המלך הגיעו; ויבהלו להביא את המן, אל המשתה אשר עשתה אסתר.

"They were still speaking with him, and the guards of the king arrived; And with a state of confusion they came to bring Haman, to the mishteh that Esther made."

(פסוק א) ויבא המלך והמן, לשתות עם אסתר המלכה.
(פסוק ב) ויאמר המלך לאסתר גם ביום השני, במשתה היין:מה שאלתך אסתר המלכה, ותנתן לך; ומה בקשתך עד חצי המלכות, ותעש.
(פסוק ג) ותען אסתר המלכה, ותאמר:אם מצאתי חן בעיניך המלך, ואם על המלך טוב: תנתן לי נפשי בשאלתי, ועמי בבקשתי.
(פסוק ד) כי נמכרנו אני ועמי, להשמיד להרוג ולאבד; ואלו לעבדים ולשפחות נמכרנו, החרשתי:כי אין הצר שוה, בנזק המלך. [ס]
(פסוק ה) ויאמר המלך אחשורוש, ויאמר לאסתר המלכה: מי הוא זה ואי זה הוא, אשר מלאו לבו לעשות כן.
(פסוק ו) ותאמר אסתר:איש צר ואויב, המן הרע הזה; והמן נבעת, מלפני המלך והמלכה.
(פסוק ז) והמלך קם בחמתו, ממשתה היין, אל גנת, הביתן; והמן עמד, לבקש על נפשו מאסתר המלכה:כי ראה, כי כלתה אליו הרעה מאת המלך.
(פסוק ח) והמלך שב מגנת הביתן אל בית משתה היין, והמן נפל על המטה אשר אסתר עליה, ויאמר המלך, הגם לכבוש את המלכה עמי בבית; הדבר, יצא מפי המלך, ופני המן, חפו.

"King and Haman came to drink with Esther the Queen. The King said to Esther, also on the second day, in the party of wine, 'What is your request, Esther the Queen, and I shall give it to you, and what are you seeking, up to half the Kingdom, and I shall do it. And Esther the Queen answered, and said, if I have found favor in the eyes of the King, and if good is upon the King, give me my soul as my request, and my nation as that which I seek. For I and my nation have been sold to be destroyed, killed, and annihilated; If it had been for slaves and maids that we had sold, I would have been silent, for the trouble is not worth the damage to the King. And the King Achashevosh said, and he said to Esther the Queen, who is this, and where is this one, which fills his heart to do this!? And Esther said, a man of trouble and an enemy, this evil Haman, and Haman was frightened from before the King and the Queen. And the King got up angrily from his party of wine to the garden of Bithan; And Haman stood to seek his life from Esther the Queen, for he saw that the King was already determined to do "bad" to him. And the King returned from the garden of Bithan, to the house of the mishteh of wine, and Haman fell on the bed that Esther was upon it, and the King said, "Also to conquer the Queen with me in the house?" The word went from the mouth of the King and the face of Haman paled." - Death

It was after this second appropriate meal that the enemy of the Jews was determined to be killed, along with all his cohorts. We should follow Esther's example, have appropriate seudos.


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