The Secret Parallels in the Megillah of Esther

I Listen to a Rabbi named Rabbi Shaked Bohdana / הרב שקד בוהדנה.

Everything is accounted for in life. What goes around comes around is a Jewish concept. It is called Midah Keneged Midah / measure for measure. You are kind – the kindness comes back.

There is reward and punishment. There is a second chance. G-d allows us to do teshuva (repent).

Rabbi Bohdana says that the Ariz”l says that Mordechai was the Gilgul / reincarnation of Yaakov Avinu. Haman was the Gilgul of Esav – Yaakov’s Brother.

Yaakov erred in bowing to Esav. He bowed to Esav 7 times. His 4 wives followed his action and bowed to Esav. Each of the 11 sons of Yaakov also bowed. Yaakov caused 22 bowings to Esav. In the story of Purim Mordechai – refused to bow to Haman. He repaired the error he made. We read the word “BeOmram” as “KeOmram”. One is written with Bet. The other with a Kaf. The values of each are 2 and 20 respectively. Added together is 22.

Yaakov bought the Birthright from Esav. Esav had animosity because of this. Mordechai bought Haman as a slave. Haman had animosity because of this.

It uses the word “VaYibez” when Esav denigrated the Birthright in Bereshit / Genesis.

It uses the word “VaYibez” when Haman denigrated that it would not be proper to destroy Mordechai – because it would look like a personal vendetta.

Another Parallel is – the 10 sons of Haman are hung. In the Megillah Esther asks the King to Hang the sons of Haman again Tomorrow. When it says “The King” in the Megillah – it also refers to Hashem. She asked Hashem to kill the sons of Haman / Amalek again.

In the Megillah – the Book of Esther (9:6-10), where the 10 sons of evil Haman are killed, three Hebrew letters are written smaller than the rest. These letters [Taf (400), Shin (300), Zayin (7)] when added to 5000 (Hay”), add up to 5707. This is the Hebrew year (1946-1947 C.E.) when 10 Nazi war criminals were hung in Nuremberg, Germany (October 16, 1946) for their atrocious crimes against humanity.

What Children Want Most from Parents

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Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch was a rabbi in Europe about 200 years ago. Born in 1808 – he explained Judaism with a point to inspire the intellectual Jewish populace. He wrote that the main thing that a child wants from parents is Love. “The Love that you give to the child is greater to the child than any gift in the world you can give them.” When someone asks the child – does your father (or mother) love you? their answer should be a sure answer – “of course”.

This lesson does not only apply to children but to students, friends, spouses and oneself.

I heard this shiur / lecture from a live broadcast from a The Beit Knesset Moshayov from Yesterday (in Hebrew).

What is love?

To understand how to educate children – it is not enough to “Just love them” but to understand what love really is. Love means giving for the interest of the child – not for our personal interests. People err. They think if I buy them a toy, a game – that expresses my love. It does but is that what the child wants? Apparently – they would rather a hug than a roller coaster ride. They would rather quality time than an expensive vacation. They would rather a kiss on the cheek – than a Play station.

I was listening to a rabbi – he told two stories. One child on Passover – found the Afikomen / the piece of Matza that is hidden by some families at the Passover seder. The child that finds it can choose their prize. Some ask for toys, games, Jewish books and the like. This child asked for a kiss on the cheek from the father.

Affection is important – but the way that the child wants it – not the way that we may want to give it. A child understands more than we think. They know when you hand them a video – you’re basically telling them – I have more important things to do.

So how can we bond with children?

The Shabbat Table

When the family enjoys the Shabbat meals together – it is a great way to bond. We talk with children. We give them attention. We sing together – interact together – learn together – eat together and develop as a person. We say words of Torah and encourage to do the same.

No Substitute for Spiritual Bonding

Some think that taking the kid to the local park is a substitute. Truthfully – in the park a parent sits on the bench and the kid disappears with their friends until it is time to leave. Where is the bonding? Take them to a baseball game? OK. We watch grown men throwing a ball around. What about watching TV? The TV is the center of attention – the child is just a spectator – secondary to what appears on the screen. Give them a cell phone? A nice way of saying occupy yourself with this while I carry on my own life. Go shopping together? the focus is on the buying – not on the kid.

The Torah School

Many Jewish parents send their children to public school. I myself went to one. One of the the main qualms of parents is – Jewish Day school costs money. OK. But did they ask themselves – what is the best interest for my child’s emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical development. A public school only teaches secular knowledge. A Torah Day school teaches secular knowledge and how to be a beautiful functioning person that wants to help society and be a good person deep down.

The Kiss of Life

A five year old child was wetting their bed. The parents tried giving him gifts to motivate him to not do so. They asked psychologists. Talked with him. Nothing worked. One rabbi heard the problem and said perhaps the kid lacks affection from the parents. He instructed them to spend time with him at night, read him the Shema Yisrael before sleeping and give him a goodnight kiss. Within the week that they started – they solved the bed wetting problem.

Lech Neche et HaAm – Go and Speak nicely with the people

Menashe Yeshoshua – speaking on on Education in his sefer / book Shaarei Hamishkan writes on the verse “Go and speak calmly with the people.” When G-d spoke to Moses – he said Go and speak calmly with the people. The Nursing woman speaks with baby softly. This is the way we are to speak with the child.When we want to correct the child we correct the improper action – but the love should remain. We don’t say you are the problem. We do not say “You are selfish!” We try to instruct them on being more selfless – by being selfless ourselves and the like.

When the Jewish people rebelled – Moses asks G-d “Am I their father that I should calmly guide them like a nursing woman to the nursing baby?”  This is teaching us that the parents – all have the ability to calmly educate the child. G-d gave us this ability. We are to believe in ourselves and in Hash-m / G-d that He gave us the ability to do so and will help us to get the proper results.

Sukkot & Enjoying the Great Outdoors

You Shall Rejoice on your Festival – and thus you will be happy. Sukkot / the festival of “Booths” or Huts – was given to the Jews when we were in the Desert.

The Outdoor Festival

We live in huts – with earth grown roofs – for seven days. We leave our permanent residence and live in a temporary hut – reminding us of our temporary stay in the world.

The reason we live in Sukkot – Huts – is to remind us of how we lived in the desert after leaving Egypt – in huts.

The Protecting Clouds

Another reason is to remind us of the clouds of glory. Seven clouds accompanied us in the desert. One was a pillar of cloud that guided us. Another cloud – above us shielded us from the heat of the sun. Four other clouds – protected us from enemies. One cloud below removed snakes and scorpions and noxious creatures.

Putting Materialism Aside

Living in the succah helps us to put materialism aside and appreciate Hash-m’s world. We put our faith in Hash-m and leave the comfort of our more-permanent home. It also serves as an atonement – because when we leave our home – it is as if we are lving in exile. This atones for our sins.

Women’s Exemption

Living in the sukkah is a Positive Commandment from the Torah that is caused by time. Thus only men are obligated to live in the sukkah – for women – it is optional.

Serving G-d in All Ways

I thought of another reason – in Judaism – we go all out to serve our creator. At times we eat to serve Him – like on Shabbat – that we eat three meals of Shabbat. At times we fast – like on Yom Kippur – where we aspire to be like angels who don’t eat. We serve G-d inside the house – and outside the house (in the Sukkah). We serve Him – by resting – to get rest on Shabbat – and by staying awake – like on Hoshana Rabba & Shavuot – where we stay up all night to learn Torah.

Love of G-d

A person who loves his or her child is ready to do all for him. We – following Torah – show Hash-m we are ready to do all for Him.

The Sound of the Shofar – The Morse Code Message

I heard this story from Rabbi Farhi of the Safra Synagogue in Manhattan.

A rabbi sounded the shofar / the rams horn for a group of people apparently for Rosh Hashana. Among them was a Sefardic Israeli man, muscular built, no yarmulke. He heard the sound and burst into tears.

The rabbi asked him why are you so emotional when you heard the Shofar?

The Morse Code Specialist

The man told him that in the Israeli Army he was a Morse code specialist. After traveling the world – looking for meaning – he saw a help-wanted ad in the newspaper for a Morse Code specialist. He had to arrive for the interview process – between 10 am – 12 pm. He arrived at about 11:50. The waiting room was full of applicants. He sat listening to the background music. He got up and walked to the interview room. People yelled – hey, wait in line we were here before you. He burst into the room.

After some time the interviewer came out and said – “Thank you for all coming but we found our candidate for the position. You may all go home now.”

“What? All that waiting for nothing” they thought. “And the hutzpa of this guy to burst into the room before us.”

The man explained to the rabbi how he got the job. In the waiting room they played background music. The man realized that the beat to the song was a Morse code message. It said “Anyone who hears this enter into the interview room.” Thus he heard the message from the beat. There was a message behind the music.

The Message Behind the Music

“When I heard the Shofar the sound resonated in me. It was a message that penetrated my heart telling me to do Tehuva – it resonated deep into my soul – and I burst out crying.”

Our Daily Messages

We hear Hash-m’s / G-d’s messages in the background daily – the observant listens and reacts. We see the beauty of the world, the beauty of our children, the blessings we have – does it resonate or do we ignore the message?

It’s our choice.

G-d Wants the Heart

Once a man was doing the Pesach / Passover Seder. He got everything ready in advance. The night of Pesach he donned his nice garments. He started well in advance and started doing the Seder nice and slow – telling the Hagaddah, singing, drinking the wine, eating the matzot and finished eating the Afikomen right before Hatzot / Midnight.

He was smug and proud about the beautiful seder he did.

The next night of Pesach he took a nap before the seder. He woke up with little time before Hatzot. He had to conduct the entire seder in a short amount of time. Quickly he read the Haggadah, drank the wine and ate Matzot – finishing just in time before Hatzot.

He was a bit upset about how he conducted the second seder. He had a dream – telling him – that his second seder was more beloved than the first. Since he did the second seder with sincerity, humility – it was preferred.

Hash-m / G-d wants the heart.

Do it right. Do it with sincerity.

 

Yearning for a Relationship with G-d – The Month of Av & It’s Significance

The Hebrew months have an influence on the world. In Adar – when Purim falls – it is a month of rejoicing for the Jews. In Av – it is a month of difficulty.

The Month of Father

“Av” in Hebrew means father. We would expect a month that is named Father to be a month of consolation and happiness. Let’s break down the month into parts. The first 9 days lead up to the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash / Holy temple – by the Babylonians and also to the Second Beit Hamikdash over 600 years later.

The Zodiac Sign of Av

The sign of the Month of Av is the Lion / Leo. One signification of this period is we will be more successful if we rise and reinforce our spiritual efforts – in becoming closer to Hash-m – as would a lion rise to chase it’s prey. This month comes before Elul – whose sign is a pure maiden / Virgo. In the month of Elul Jews do Selichot – prayers asking for forgiveness and purification from sins. We thus get ready for the Month of Tishrei – The Month of the Scale / Libra – when all human beings are judged by G-d.

The Second Part of the Month

The second part of the month starting from the 15th of Av – callled Tu – B’av – were days of rejoicing. Half the month passed and now difficulty turns to rejoicing. The young maidens would dance before the single men – so the young men could search for a suitable wife and court suitable young woman in search of a mate for marriage. Like it says:

There never were in Israel greater days of joy than Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem used to walk out in white garments which they borrowed in order not to put to shame any one who had none …

 

The daughters of Jerusalem came out and danced in the vineyards exclaiming at the same time, “Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on [good] family.” As it says, “Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears Hash-m, she shall be praised.” (Mishlei / Proverbs  31:30) (Talmud: Tractate Ta’anit 26b)

“No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur,” for there is no greater joy than having one’s sins forgiven – on Yom Kippur for the sin of the Golden Calf and on Tu B’Av for the sin of the spies. In the Book of Judges, Tu B’Av is referred to as a holiday (Judges 21:19).

The First Part of the Month

The first part of the Month deals with doing acts of mourning – how can we reconcile the difficulty with the the Name of the month “father”?

In Eicha / Lamentations – it talks of the destruction of Jerusalem. One of the verses says – “All who pursued her arrived at her.” (Eicha 1:3) Torah verses written in Hebrew can be understood in various ways according to the permitted ways of understanding Torah. It can also be read “all who pursued Hash-m / G-d – arrived – to Her.” (“The Divine Presence” – G-d has no gender – at times He is Referred to as male and vice versa.)

In a Jew’s Life the Goodness of G-d is always present – In good times and the reverse. When the Jewish temple was being destroyed – someone peaked into the Kodesh HaKodashim / Holy of Holies – the most holy part of the Temple. Inside was the Aron / the Ark of the Covenant.

The Cherubim on the Cover of the Ark – represented the relationship between G-d and the People of Israel. When they were on good terms – the Cherubim were facing each other. When the Jews were sinning – the Cherubim looked away from each other. At the time of the Temple’s Destruction the Cherubim were hugging one another.

The Reason of Suffering

King David – was on the level to ask for suffering – because he felt closer to G-d. For him the suffering was worth the close relationship with Hash-m. A sincere father punishes because he loves the child – not out of anger. He wants the child to improve. He wants the child to live a fulfilling, meaningful life – so he chastises and guides his son or daughter through the ways of Torah.

Intimate relationship with G-d

It is this very intimate relationship with G-d that we Yearn for in the Month of Av. It is this very intimate relationship with G-d that we Mourn for on the Ninth of Av.

 

Four Things to do to Receive Special Holiness on Shavuot

The Jews were in Egypt for 210 years. They were a free nation that was gradually lured into slavery. G-d had to take them out quickly – for them not to remain with a slave mentality.

After the plagues – The Jews with somewhat of a mentality of fear were reticent to enter the desert with Moshe. G-d put his divine presence upon them. With this great holiness – the Jews were motivated to leave Egypt to receive the Torah.

After Hash-m / G-d split the Sea of Reeds into 12 tunnels, Jews traveled through tunnels towards mount Sinai to receive the Torah.

When they exited the tunnels, G-d took away this Holiness from them. They had to work for the Holiness – that was previously given to them as a gift.

The way for them to receive this great holiness, spirituality – and happiness – was them to work on themselves for 49 days to receive the Torah. These 49 things are the 48 ways to acquire Torah – as mentioned in the Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers / (chapter 6, mishna 6). After doing this – working on one trait a day – and all of them on the last day – they received this Holiness and were able to receive the Torah from G-d Himself at Mount Sinai. That was the only time in History that G-d spoke to entire Nation – the Jewish Nation – of Millions People.

I Heard a Shiur / Lecture from Rabbi Meir Eliyahu – who spoke about this subject in a Shiur / הרב מאיר אליהו | חג השבועות | משכן יהודה – ה’תשע”ו

He said we too can receive this Holiness according to the Ari”zl / Rav Yitchak Luria. There are 4 steps for a man to receive it:

  1. Count the Omer – for 49 days starting at the Second night of Pesach / Passover we count 49 days of the Omer / the Barley offering at the Beit Hamikdash until Shavuot.
  2. Do the Tikun / Reparation of the Night of Shavuot – the night before the Jewish people received the Torah – they slumbered. G-d had to wake them up with thunder and lightning. That was a fault. They should have stayed awake in anticipation to receive the Torah. They slept. To repair this – we stay awake the night of Shavuot – and read a special Sefer / Holy Book called Kerieh Mo’ed. This is the second step. R. Eliyahu mentioned – although praiseworthy to learn other Torah that Night – he said that the Tikun is specifically done with the Kerieh Mo’ed. Also one should refrain from vain conversations and not slumber or sleep.
  3. Dip in a Mikveh – the night of Shavuot – before the prayer.
  4. Daven / Pray with much Hilahavoot / Enthusiasm & Fervor

One who does so can receive this special holiness.

Increase Your Joy in the Month of Adar – A Segula to Gain Salvation from Difficulties

In the Talmud – Taanit 29a we learn

§ The mishna teaches that from when the month of Av begins, one decreases acts of rejoicing. Rav Yehuda, son of Rav Shmuel bar Sheilat, said in the name of Rav: Just as when Av begins one decreases rejoicing, so too when the month of Adar begins, one increases rejoicing.

A Segula / “Propituous Amulet” To get salvation from all difficulties is in the month of Adar – this month –

Write the following on a paper:

משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה
מזל אדר דגים
🐟


Draw a fish on the bottom of sign and post the sign in your home (some say opposite the door on the western wall).

It means “when Adar enters we increase the Joy. The zodiac sign of Adar is Fish. 🐟”

All the good blessings from Ohr Binyamin &
http://www.jerusalemlife.com
Live Better Forever
Amen.

Sources:

סגולה from הרב אברהם בן שבתי in his sefer ילקוט
אברהם 686
https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7657&st=&pgnum=170
https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7657&st=&pgnum=171

The Four Sons of the Haggada. Which Son Are You? – The Ultimate Guide for Self-Improvement

“Blessed is Hashem. Blessed is He. That He gave Torah to His people Israel. The Torah talked about the four sons – one wise, one wicked, one one simple and one that doesn’t know how to ask.”

A person reading the Hagada on Passover will usually ask – who am I out of all these sons? Am I the Wise? The Wicked?

Really each one of us has a trait of each son in us. At times we fall to our temptations – so we have the trait of the wicked son. At time we act with wisdom – thus we are like the wise son. At times we act as the the other two.

So what is the solution? How do we Become more wise and less wicked, less simple and more ethically educated?

There is a concept in Torah Hash-m Makdim Refual LaMaka – Hash-m provides the cure before the illness.

The Ultimate Guide for Self-Improvement

What is the proper cure to having the attributes of the four sons – The Torah.

As first in the Hagada it says :

“Blessed is Hashem. Blessed is He. That He gave Torah to His people Israel.

then it says:

The Torah talked about the four sons – one wise, one wicked, one one simple and one that doesn’t know how to ask.”

 

 

The Purpose of a Birthday & the New Year

The kids sing “Happy Birthday to You…”

What is the origin of a Birthday?

To know the source, look in the Torah. In the Book of Bereshit / Genesis the Butler and Baker had dreams. They went to Yosef / Joseph and asked him to interpret the dreams. He did so. To one – the Butler / Cup-bearer he said – In three days  he would be restored to his position. To the other – the baker – he said in three days he would be killed.

The interpretation came true. Three days later it was the Birthday of Pharaoh. Rashi Explains he was celebrating the day of his birth.

At that celebration Pharaoh forgave the cup-bearer and condemned the baker.

So what is there to celebrate?

Here are Several reasons

  • that you are alive
  • that you survived the entire year
  • that you are you
  • to get gifts
  • to start the new year to be a sign for the rest of the year

We all have reasons to be thankful.

Observation of our surrounding, situations and a positive eye will help us to recognize we have more for which to be thankful than the contrary