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Purim's Mitzvah - Until He Does Not Know - 5747 (translated 5765, Parshas Pekudei)
Maamar from Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag (Rabash), son of the Baal Hasulam, Z”L
Chazal in Tractate Megilah page 7b say, “A man is obligated to be intoxicated on Purim until he does not know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai.”
However, it is impossible to reach the level of “not knowing” without the person first being at the level of “knowing”. Only afterwards, is it possible to say that one needs to reach an even greater level, which is called “not knowing”. Certainly this is an even greater level than the level of “knowing”, since this is only given to us to fulfill on Purim and not the whole year, as Chazal say, “A man is obligated to be intoxicated on Purim,” and not the whole year. According to this, we need to understand, what is “knowing” and “not knowing”?
Also, we need to understand the Torah obligation to read Parshas Zachor on the Shabbos prior to Purim, to remember what Amalek did to us. Regarding this accepted custom, the Magen Avraham writes on the Shulchan Aruch (Section 685), “I believe I have an answer for the well-accepted custom of reading Zachor on this Shabbos. Was it written in the Torah that Parshas Zachor specifically be read on this Shabbos before Purim? However, the Sages established the reading on this Shabbos, since many people are present in the synagogues and it is close to Purim, in order to connect the retelling of the actions of Amalek with the actions of Haman.” This tells us that the Mitzvah of Zachor, “to remember what Amalek did to you,” is always active, but they established to read about it on the Shabbos before Purim, in order to connect the retelling of the actions of Amalek to the actions of Haman. If so, in practical terms of Avodah, what does this reason of connecting Zachor to Purim come to teach us?
In order to understand the above, we need to first introduce and understand the goal of Creation. From this we will know what this is to “know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai”, and what is “not knowing the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai”.
It is known that the goal of Creation is for Hashem to give Goodness and pleasure to His creations. Furthermore, the pleasure, which the Creator gives, must be perfectly complete. This means that at the time of receiving the pleasure, the recipients will not have any unpleasantness, which would take away from pure pleasure. The reason for the feeling of unpleasantness is due to a rule, “that every ‘branch’ wants to emulate its ‘root’”. Since the “root” of the created beings is His Will to give to the created beings, this causes that at the time that the created beings receive from Him, they feel a level of shame, for the reason that this is the opposite of the “root”, that instead of giving, they are receiving. Because of this, a Tikkun repair was made, which is called the Tzimtzum limitation and concealment upon the original “vessel of receiving”, Malchus of Ain Sof, which was created from the outset as “receiving just for the sake of receiving”. A Tikkun repair was made that Tzimtzum limitation should control this vessel, so that the Upper Emanation would not be able to enter this vessel called “the desire to receive”. The vessels of this type remained in a state called “Empty Space”, without Light, so they remained in darkness.
Only at the time when it is possible to give this vessel, which is called a receiver, the intent of “receiving just for the sake of giving”, then the Tzimtzum limitation and concealment is removed. This means that even though a person has the great desire and longing to receive the pleasure, nevertheless, if what one receives from Hashem is not for the sake of a Mitzvah, i.e. to receive just because the Creator wants to give pleasure to His created beings, then the person cannot trust themselves that they would be ready to pass up the pleasure, which they receive from Hashem. In such a case, the person themselves would not want to receive, since they do not want to receive for their own benefit. When do they really want to receive? At the time that they are sure that their desire to receive the pleasure and delight is only for the sake of the goal of Creation. This means, that as long as one sees that there is the concern of receiving for one’s own benefit, the person should immediately be able to pass up the receiving of the pleasure.
With what has been said, we can understand the distinction between “cursing Haman” and “blessing Mordechai”, since it is the way of the Tzaddik to only serve “for the sake of giving pleasure” to Hashem. This is why they are called a Tzaddik, which is an emanator. Through this way, they can afterwards reach the level of perfection. This is when a person reaches the level where they can say to the Creator, “I desire that You should give me pleasure and delight, since I want to fulfill what You want, to give pleasure and delight to the created beings. I am now prepared to receive the goodness and pleasure, since I know about myself, that I do not want this because of the love of myself, but rather for the reason of giving to You.” Now, with the intent of “for the sake of giving to Hashem”, the receiving of the gift of the King is complete, since there is no aspect of shame and unpleasantness, since the receiving is due to the person’s will to help the Creator, that the goal of Creation be revealed, that all will know that the goal of Creation is to give pleasure to His created beings.
Since the Rabbis, Z”L, say in Tractate Kiddushin page 40b, “If he does one Mitzvah, he is fortunate, for he tips the scales in favor of merit for himself and the entire world.” Because of this, since he is in a state where does not worry about selfishness and love of himself but he only worries about doing good to others, we find that in this that he wants to receive the goodness and pleasure from the Creator, he wants to fulfill the love of everyone outside of himself, at the level of between man and Hashem and between man and his fellow man. This is what is written in the Zohar (Hakadamah Sefer HaZohar page 79, Sulam section 67), “And to say to Tziyon (Zion), you are ‘My nation’ (Ami)…” This can be read Imi, you are “with Me”. Instead of reading Ami, you can read the word Imi, which means to be a partner with Me… Fortunate are those who put out effort in Torah.” Although, there in the Zohar it is referring to issues between man and Hashem, but the same homiletical idea of partnership can also be explained for issues between man and his fellow man, since the result is that afterwards, even the entire world benefits by being judged in favor of merit. So we find that he does a favor to mankind in that he causes for the entire world to reach the point where it is able to receive the goodness and pleasure, which is in the goal of Creation. We find, that he has become a partner with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, in that through his hands there is an assistance that everyone will come afterwards to receive the goal of Creation. Thereby he becomes a partner with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, as if to say, “I began Creation, in that I wanted to give goodness and pleasure, and Israel makes the effort that the goal come out to fruition, in this that they make vessels which are readied and proper to receive the Upper Emanations, without any flaw, called the “bread of shame”. So even at the time they are receiving the goodness and pleasure, they do not lose the Deveykus attachment to Hashem which is called the Equalness of Form, for this was the reason behind the Tzimtzum limitation.
This is called that the person “knows” the way of Mordechai, which is the way which brings “blessing” to the entire world, as brought above, “If he merits, he tips the scales towards merit for himself and the entire world.” This is called “blessing Mordechai”.
This is not the case with the way of Haman, which is to not look at the Tikkun repair of Tzimtzum limitation that was made upon the vessel of receiving, but rather he says, “Since the Creator created the world to give pleasure to His created beings, we see that we have in our nature the desire to receive pleasure and delight. For what purpose did the Creator create this desire? In order not to make use of it? Would He create in us a desire and passion to receive pleasure and then say you may not use it, but you must instead suffer pain and affliction because of it? So, according to this, it is the opposite way, for he says that the Creator created the world to give pleasure to the created beings. Moreover, what Mordechai the Tzaddik says, to not make use of this desire for pleasure, means that the Creator must have created the world to do evil and cause pain to His created beings. It certainly would have been better to not create the desire for pleasure and delight at all, rather than creating the desire and passion to receive pleasure and then afterwards say that the person may not use it, but instead must cause themselves to suffer and remain empty of pleasure.
If this is so, how can we agree to the way of Mordechai and say it is forbidden to use the vessels of desire for pleasure, when these same vessels are the true vessels, which Hakadosh Baruch Hu created? Even Mordechai would admit that Hakadosh Baruch Hu created the desire to receive pleasure and delight? If so, Haman claims that the way of Mordechai is not the way of truth. Really, Haman has many supporters for his way, and the whole world says that the true way of the world is like Haman says. This is as it is written in Megilas Esther (3:2), “And all of the King’s servants, who were in the King’s gate, kneeled and bowed down to Haman, for so commanded the King.” This means that Haman enabled them to understand that “this is what the King himself commanded.”
Haman claimed, “Since the King, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, created the desire to receive pleasure, certainly He wanted that we should receive and have pleasure.” “And all of the King’s servants ‘kneeled’.” This means that they gave in and accepted the view of Haman, since he came with the claim, “What Mordechai says, to not use the desire to receive pleasure, this is incorrect, for the Creator did not create it for nothing, rather make use of it.”
However, Mordechai said, “No!” As the verse says, “And Mordechai did not kneel and he did not bow down.” This is what is written, “And the King’s servants who were in the King’s gate said to Mordechai, ‘Why do you violate the King’s command?’” My father, master, teacher and Rebbi (the Baal HaSulam) says upon this the following explanation: The King’s servants said to Mordechai, “Didn’t Haman say to us that the reason he is following his way and not the way of Mordechai is because his (Haman’s) way is the true way?”
This is the explanation of what they asked Mordechai, “Why are you violating the command of the King, Hakadosh Baruch Hu?”, since Haman said that the King commanded him so, and the King refers to the King of all kings. The explanation is as we said above: due to the reason that the King of all kings created this powerful force of the desire to receive and the passion of the ego and selfish desires of the created beings, consequently, the whole world supports Haman’s ideas and opinions.
Haman’s view is written in the Torah (Chumash), as Chazal say in Tractate Chullin 139b, “From where in the Torah do we know of Haman? In the verse, “(Ha’min Ha’etz) Did you eat from the tree which I commanded you to not eat from? (The Hebrew letters of Ha’min and Haman are the same, Hay Mem Nun.)” The explanation of the eating from the Tree of Knowledge is explained in the introduction to Panim Me’iros of the Baal Hasulam, that Adam HaRishon was entirely separate from the Sitra Achora (the Other Side, Evil). In section 18, the Baal Hasulam writes, “We have already explained that Adam HaRishon did not at all have in his makeup the ‘form’ of immense receiving, which came from the Empty Space, but rather he was entirely emanated from the realm of Holiness, which only emanates. This is as it is written in the Zohar Parshas Kedoshim, that Adam Harishon did not have within himself anything of ‘this world.’ Therefore, the Tree of Knowledge was forbidden to him, just as his ‘root’ and all of the realms of Holiness were separated from the Sitra Achora, because of their ‘difference of ‘form’”. Therefore, the issue of Haman is to bring in the usage of the great desire to receive pleasure just for the sake of receiving, and this was the evil advice of the serpent.
It is further written there, “This is what Chazal say that the Serpent said to Chava (Eve) that the Lord (Elokim) ate from this tree and then created the world. This means that He looked from the standpoint of ‘the last action (of receiving the pleasure) completes what was the first thought (the intention to give pleasure)’ and therefore He created the world.” The Serpent claimed that the issue of eating from the Tree of Knowledge was a command of Elokim. Why would Hashem command Adam HaRishon to not eat from it? Upon this, the Serpent gave Adam and Chava a good answer, that he is really coming to fulfill the command of Hashem, in this that he is advising them to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. This is the same issue that is written in Megilas Esther, “And all of the King’s servants, who were in the King’s gate, kneeled and bowed down to Haman, because of the reason “for so commanded him the King”.
Through this we can understand what is “cursing Haman”. The way of Haman is the “cursed way”, the way of damnation. This is as it is written (Bereishis 3:14-17), “And Hashem Elokim said to the Serpent, ‘Because you did this, out of all of the animals, you are ‘cursed’… to the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pain’… and to the man He said, ‘And you ate from the tree… the ground is ‘cursed’ because of you’.”
We can now understand that a person must first reach the level of “knowing”. A person must “know” what is the great difference between “cursing Haman” and “blessing Mordechai”, which is the actual difference between life and death. The way of Mordechai brings life, and through it, one merits to attach themselves to the Life of all life. This is not the case with the way of Haman. A person already knows that the way of Haman has brought curses to the world, for all death in the world was caused by “Ha’min Ha’etz, Did you eat from the tree which I commanded you not to eat from” and upon this the verse says “The land is cursed…” This same issue applies until the Gemar HaTikkun, completion of the Repair, that one needs to be careful to not fall into the way of Haman.
At the end of the Tikkun, all of the desire to receive will be refined to a state of receiving just for the sake of giving pleasure to Hashem, and then, “Death will be swallowed up forever” and as the Zohar says, “In the future, the Sitra Achora will become a Holy Angel”, at the completion of the Tikkun.
We can now understand the connection of erasing the remembrance of Amalek with Purim, and therefore we read in Parshas Zachor on the Shabbos before Purim, “Remember what Amalek (Haman, the Serpent, etc) did to you.” Only when one “knows” what Amalek caused us, which is death, which they caused to the world through their domination to not go in the ways of giving, to be attached to the Life of all Life, only after “knowing” this, can one make the effort to erase it from the face of the earth. Otherwise, if a person has not reached the level of “knowing”, so that they do not know what Haman and Amalek did to us, that person would not passionately long to erase it.
So, specifically at the time when a person reaches the level of “knowing the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai is there a place to fulfill the erasing of Amalek.
Because of this, we need to first reach the level of “knowing”, with the reading of Parshas Zachor, and only then can we erase Amalek, All of this must be before Purim, when it is then the time to reach the level of “not knowing”. This means that when a person truly wants to fulfill the “erasing of Amalek”, it is a sign that they have already reached the level of “knowing”. Otherwise, a person would not have the ability to come to erase Amalek, for they would still be sunken in the Kelipah and Evil of Amalek, and they would not want to fulfill the command to “erase Amalek”.
Now we will explain what Chazal say, “A man is obligated to be intoxicated on Purim until he does not know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai.” We asked, what is so great about the level of “not knowing”, that one can only do such a thing on Purim? Behold, the Holy Arizal says (Talmud Esser Sefiros volume 15, section 220), “Therefore, in the time to come, all of the Holidays will be nullified, except for Megilas Esther. The reason is that there never was such a great miracle as this, not on any Shabbos or Yom Tov, that the Holy Emanation continued to shine, even after the withdrawal of the Mochin Emanations from the Feminine (Malchus), except for Purim alone. In this aspect, there is a superiority to Purim over all other days, even Shabbos and Yom Tov.”
In the commentary Or Penimi by the Baal Hasulam, he explains there that before the completion of the Tikkun, it is impossible to repair all of the Holy Sparks and Vessels that broke. Only 288 out of the 320 total Holy Sparks can be refined and brought back up to Holiness, and even this is a slow process of refinement. There remains 32 sparks, out of the total Sparks, which are forbidden to be refined. They are called the Lev HaEven, the Heart of Stone (Lev –Heart is numerically 32, Lamed Bais). Only after the 288 Holy Sparks are refined, only then will the 32, the heart of stone, be automatically repaired on its own. This is the secret of, “I will remove the Heart of Stone from your body, and I will give you a Heart of flesh (Yechezkel 36:26.” Then death will be swallowed up forever, for all of the evil will be refined into good, and then darkness will shine just like light.Since these Emanated Lights of Purim are from the level of the Gemar HaTikkun final refinement, it is only through the miracle of Purim that they were then shining. Consequently, all of the Holidays will be nullified, except for Purim, since the Emanation of Purim relates to the level of the completion of the Tikkun. Then, when all of the evil will be refined, automatically there will not be a difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai, for even Haman will be refined into good.