Dedicated in memory of Yaakov Aharonov z"l
This year the sentence about being joyous in the month of Adar has a whole new meaning. How can we truly celebrate Purim and Adar this year? So many people have suffered, we are not really supposed to get together and we cannot celebrate like we are used to.
Perhaps, we can look at the true meaning of simcha from a different angle. In this past Shabbat's Parsha, every person is called upon to donate to the mishkan. We all have something to contribute. We all have something we can add to the betterment of our nation.
In addition to Parshat Truma we also read Parshat Zachor - remembering what Amalek did to us as we left Egypt. We will read about it again on Purim. The Passuk preceding the story of Amalek’s vicious attack says that am Yisrael started doubting and asked “does Hashem dwell within us? היש השם בקרבנו אם אין.
At first glance this has to be the most ridiculous question! They just saw the ten plagues, the splitting of the sea, the clouds of glory. How can they ask “does Hashem dwell with in us”?
In our Parsha, Truma, there is a similiar sentence - ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם "Create for me a sanctuary and Hashem will dwell within them." Not within it - but rather within them, within Am Yisrael. When everyone contributes from themselves and gives from themselves for the greater good then Hashem dwells within us.
Right before Amalek attacked us, Am Yisrael did not doubt Hashem. They doubted themselves, they doubted their fellow Jews. When we doubt ourselves, Amalek can creep up and attack us from behind.
Like Amalek, Covid crept up behind and attacked our beloved elders, the greatest leaders of Am Yisrael. Recently, Am Yisrael lost another great light - Rabbi Dr. Avraham J Twerski z"tl once said: “Self esteem is tied into sense of responsibility. The more we are aware of our strengths and abilities, the greater we have the obligation to fulfill them."
The true Simcha of Adar does not come from wine or a party. It comes from really having a sense of responsibility; When we look around the world and appreciate the thousands of shlichim who day and night are out there to spread the light of Am Yisrael and Torat Yisrael; When we look at the beautiful communities who open their hearts and homes to spread the light of Judaism in times that are not so simple. That is the true joy, the real simcha of Chodesh Adar.
Amalek tried to spread self-doubt, that inner voice that tells us that we are not good enough. We must wipe that away before we can celebrate Purim. On a national level, we must be proud of who we are and of our amazing nation. When we truly recognize and realize the beauty of the contributions of every person in Am Yisrael- Hashem truly dwells within us.
May we all merit in returning to Yerushalyim with joy together this Purim.
This week's Dvar Torah is by Dani Eisenstock Former Shaliach (Kansas City, 2002-03)