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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Purim Edition/Tzav

Parshat Purim Edition/Tzav

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Purim Edition/Parashat Tzav                                              Print Version
16th of Adar II, 5782 | March 19, 2022

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

In Honor of Raphaela Stern's Special Birthday, from Ema and Abba - Wishing her good health, nachas and arichas yamim!

Rabbi Shlomo Horwitz
You are Mishloach Manot

Rav Yitzchak Grossman is the legendary head of the Migdal Ohr institution in Migdal Emek, Israel. He tells the story of a boy known as Dano. Allow me to quote Rav Grossman and share it with you.

Dano had a special mission. We all knew it. The teachers were aware that his family background was difficult and that he was carrying a very tough burden. Everybody gave him the warmth and love that he needed during all his school days at Migdal Ohr.
When he reached the age of thirteen, we made him a beautiful bar mitzvah. I gave him a pair of Tefillin, and I wished him much success. However, his brothers insisted that he return home and study in school close to home. I was very apprehensive about it, but we had no choice. His family insisted. Dano returned home and in a short amount of time, he became somebody living on the edge. He developed into someone connected with tough and dangerous children in that neighborhood. And he deteriorated spiritually and morally.

I carried with me all day the heartache that Dano had left the way of the Torah. He had studied with great desire and excellence, but now had drifted away from a life of Torah. And then one day he showed up for a class reunion at the yeshiva. It was on Purim. The celebration was great. We all laughed, Megillat Esther was read for a large crowd and Mishloach Manot were distributed. There was a wonderful Seudah filled with song and praise to Hashem.

The visiting alumni stood up to dance, and the atmosphere was very Purim-like and happy. I was standing on the stage with a microphone, and suddenly I looked out among hundreds and hundreds of students. I saw Dano. I noticed Dano. I put the microphone down, ran out to him and I asked him to come on stage with me. “Come on, Dano, let's go.” At first he refused, but then he took the stage with me in front of the entire lively crowd. I said to him, “Dear Dano, our beloved student, I want you to send me Mishloach Manot."

And then they gave him the microphone and he said, “Rabbi, I certainly owe you a lot of gratitude for everything you've done for me. Of course, I'll give you Mishloach Mano. I’ll put something together and give it to you. “Great,” I said, “but I don't want you to give me Mishloach Manot. I want you to be the actual Mishloach Manot.” Dano looked at me confusedly. “What? Me? What do you mean, Rabbi, that I should be Mishloach Manot? “You yourself,” he replied, “are the Mishloach Manot for Purim. You're supposed to give two different kinds of foods. So give me your body and soul. Those are the two dishes that you have to give in honor of Purim.”, “What?” Dano said, “I don’t understand…”

“Dano,” he said, in front of everybody. “I am asking you to give yourself back to the yeshiva. Come home to us. And that will be my Mishloach Manot. Do we have a deal?”

Dano was flabbergasted. This was the last thing he expected at this class reunion for Purim. The entire room grew silent. All eyes were on Dano.

“Yes, we have a deal,” Dano replied.

The entire room erupted in cheers. “Dano! Dano! Dano!” Dano came home to his family and said to them, “I am going back to Migdal Ohr.” They looked at him in amazement. “What's wrong with you? You finally left the yeshiva; why are you going back?” “Because of the Rabbi,” Dano said. “What do you mean?” they pressed further. And Dano told his family, “I promised myself as Mishloach Manot to Rav Grossman.”

The family was careful about the holidays and traditionally observant. About this, they realized, they had no choice. If he's supposed to be the Mishloach Manot for Rabbi Grossman, whatever that means, then that's what he’ll do. And his mother said, “Fine… go.” And he went.

And he is still there.

Because today Dano is HaRav Daniel, and he is a popular rabbi in that very yeshiva. The light of Torah at Migdal Ohr shines brightly with HaRav Daniel. And each year on Purim, he tells a rapt audience about that Purim that changed his life forever.
The year he became Mishloach Manot.

Rabbi Meir Simcha Sperling
Mishloach Manot to Hashem

There was a doctor whose name was Sasha Eliovitch, of Russian descent. He lived in St. Petersburg with his wife, Natasha, and their son, Igor. They lived a happy lifestyle. He was a successful doctor and she stayed at home taking care of Igor. Life went on, with the family doing their utmost to live as upstanding Russian Jews and grow close to Hashem.

One of the things about living in Russia at the time was that your emunah was often tested. Life was frequently lived in fear. It wasn’t uncommon to receive a knock on your door and have the Russian police take you away for what you reportedly did.
One night, the Eliovitch family was sitting at home and there was a loud bang at the door. Before they knew, the door was barged open, and they grabbed hold of Dr. Eliovitch. He did not even have time to say goodbye to his wife and his child. They had no idea if he would return. And then the worries began to set in.

How would Natasha and Igor survive? They were completely reliant on Sasha’s source of income. They also couldn’t say a word to anyone else or befriend them, because if they did, they themselves would be reprimanded and fall into trouble.
A year and a half later, right before Purim, Igor ran into the kitchen and asked his mother if they were going to deliver Mishloach Manot that year. Natasha was both surprised and happy that her son was interested in this mitzvah, but she knew that if she’d say yes, they’d be hard pressed to find anyone they could give it to. Ever since Sasha had been taken, the Eliovitchs had not been able to remain friends with anyone, out of fear of the Russian police. They had isolated themselves out of concern.

As she thought for a moment about her son’s question, it came to her. “Yes, we are absolutely going to give Mishloach Manot this year a very good friend of ours!” Igor, though, was confused. “Who are we going to give it to? We don't have any friends. We're not allowed to have friends. Everybody stopped talking to me a year and a half ago. Who’s the friend that you’re referring to?”

“We're going to send Mishloach Manot to Hashem,” Natasha replied. “Hashem is going to be our friend.”

It sounded very simple, as if a little child had spoken. But the thought was so true and sincere, and Natasha truly felt that way. With that, Igor ran to the kitchen and began searching for two food items to give, as required by Jewish law. Finally, he found a cookie, and he wrapped it up nicely with whatever covering he could find. But now he needed a second food item. Where would he find that? He couldn’t find anything else readily. But then Natasha thought of something.

“Do you remember how Daddy used to always tell us that when we serve Hashem, we must do it with joy?” “Yes, I do remember,” answered Igor. “Well,” she said, “we’re going to make an exception to that rule now. Normally, we do serve Hashem with joy, but tonight we’re going to serve Hashem with pain, with tears, with sadness. Let’s sit down and take a cup, and think about our life and our Daddy. We’re then going to end up crying, and we’re going to fill this up with tears. And then we’re going to wrap up the cup and that is going to be the second item we give to Hashem. A cookie and a cup of tears.”

They sat down and started crying and thinking about what they went through. They sat on the floor and contemplated how their lives had become so difficult and the tears started to flow. Not before long, the cup was just about full of tears.

Natasha took the cup and placed it next to the cookie, and slowly and carefully started to wrap them both. “I'm sure Hashem is going to love this gift,” she said. A minute later, though, there was a knock at the door. A hard knock. Usually, this kind of a knock would indicate trouble, and be coming from the Russian police.

But tonight was different.

Natasha opened the door, and standing there was her husband. Her heart stopped. She started crying again, and she couldn't move. Igor too came running to the door. And then he saw who it was. His father. He then looked at his mother and said, “Mommy, Hashem sent back Mishloach Manot.”

The tears that now flowed were not tears of sadness, but of joy. Igor could not help himself but look upwards towards Heaven and said, “Hashem, this is the best Mishloach Manot.”

We don’t always know the plan, but we do know that Hashem is the supreme guide. Why do we need to go through what we do? We don’t know. But we do know that Hashem loves us and is guiding our every move in the world.

At any point, the doors can open and life can change. Would you imagine giving Mishloach Manot to Hashem at a time of such personal despair and difficulty? Would you send it to Hashem as a friend? No matter what we experience, we are to remain firmly rooted in our belief and trust in Him.

And who knows, perhaps one day we’ll get that knock on our door, and what we’ve been waiting so long for … will be right there.

Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger
Turn Around Any Moment

The Shelah Hakadosh writes in the name of the Arizal that Yom Kippur is a day “like Purim,” thus attributing even more greatness and holiness to the day of Purim over Yom Kippur. But this is not merely an insightful commentary. It was a reality to a group of Jews, years ago.

In the horrors of the concentration camp, the Bluzhever Rebbe and his chassidim were concerned what would happen the next morning, which was to be Yom Kippur. They knew that they we're going to be given work and would need to break the laws of the holiest day of the year. Several of the Jews approached the Rebbe and asked if he would request of the Jewish Kapo that only rabbinic work be given to them to perform. While the Bluzhever Rebbe was reluctant, he nonetheless walked up to the Kapo and asked.

But the Kapo was not ready to give in at all. “Absolutely not! Why are you asking me? The answer is no!” The Rebbe left utterly dejected.

But sure enough, the next morning when the Jewish workers showed up, the Kapo only delegated to them rabbinically prohibited work, thus enabling them to observe Yom Kippur according to Torah law. The Jews, once they found this to be the case, were elated. What happened next, though, shocked everyone.

Minutes later, in walked German guards and brought out a Viennese table, filled with delicious foods, the kinds of which these Jews had never seen before. “You’re eating today Jews! You’re eating today!” The Jews were horrified at this sight, including the Kapo, who just yesterday had dismissed the Rebbe and his request. Approaching the Nazi guard, the Kapo said, “You’re not understanding. Today is our holiest day and we’re not eating today.” The Nazi guard was incredulous. “You’re not eating today? You’re a Kapo, you’re a collaborator! What do you mean? Everyone here is eating today!”

The Nazi didn’t hesitate to pull out a gun and point it at the head of this Jew; the Jew who was nowhere near any semblance of Judaism. “Of course, you’re eating today. If you don’t, those will be the last words you ever say.” And the Kapo repeated, looking down the barrel of a gun, “It’s our holiest day; it’s Yom Kippur, and we’re not eating today.”

And with that, he died al Kiddush Hashem, as the Nazi killed him, shooting him on the spot.

What happened between yesterday and today? What was said to this Kapo that somehow connected his neshama to the point that he was ready to sacrifice himself and give up his life?
It’s the power, like on Purim, of “V’nahapoch hu,” of everything turning around. It can happen anywhere, under any circumstance. This is the message of Purim. It is a day which affords us opportunity to connect to Hashem. The commandments we have on Purim reinforce that Hashem is with us every step of the way, and everything can turn around. Purim represents survival in exile, and that in the blink of an eye, a nation can turn around and an individual can turn around.

At any moment. At every moment.

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