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Moshe and Purim Part Two

Transcribed and prepared by Anna Beller: The Baal Haturim asked a question on this Gemara on Shabbos, it’s the same question that everyone asks- Why would God have to hold Sinai over the Jews heads to accept the Torah if they already said Naase Ve Nishmah?


He gives a different answer than Tosfot: When they said naase ve nishmah they were willing to accept the written law. If you’re telling us were petrified of you, you have convinced us of your existence, and that it’s beyond anything we can imagine, you know what to do and how to handle the law. If you tell us to we’ll do whatever you want us to do. Naase– we’ll do it, Venishmah –we’ll hear the explanation later because we have absolute faith in what you are going to say. But then when they heard there was going to be an oral law too. Meaning not only do they have to observe what God says but they also need to take what God has taught you and infer from it what you should do in another situation. Then whatever you say will become the reality. That’s a completely different story. How do we know were not going to make a mistake? You’re telling me that what I decide to do is real? That’s crazy I can’t do it.

So what was lacking when God held Sinai over their heads was not the acceptance of the written law, meaning I’ll tell you what to do in every situation, which would be an easy religious life, they were lacking in their willingness to accept the oral law. Which means you play an important part in the process, you decide how to react to the situation where there is no outright manifestation of Gods will, no clear instruction of what God wants you to do. You decide, you take risks, you may make a mistake, but you take charge, which they were unwilling to accept. They had such a deep appreciation of God and an awareness of God, after the ten plagues, the splitting of the red sea, eating manah, drinking water from the rock, that they were blown away by God. So now you’re going to tell them they have to play with Gods will? Forget it!

So they were unwilling to accept the oral law. So therefore who is the one who convinced them they could accept the oral law? That they had to accept the oral law?

It was Esther, because Esther was the one who led them during the time when there was absolutely no outright manifestation from God as to what God wanted them to do in this situation. In fact, if she were to have followed the letter of the law, she never would have gone into Achashveirosh. Because when she went into Achashveirosh, she was no longer considered a victim of rape by Achashveirosh, because she was going in to seduce him of his own free will. When it says he stuck out his scepter, it wasn’t his scepter it was the part of his body that looks like a scepter. So she went out and conceived that night and she happened to bring the child into the world who became the King Hulav who was to build the second beit ha mikdash. And in fact there was a gate in the second mikdash that was called Shar Shushan– the Gate of Shushan.

All the judgments that Esther made were oral law judgments. That she was allowed to go into Achashveirosh, that she could do what she did and the way she did it, and the different parties. So this is somebody who really took the law in her own hands. And not the person you’d expect to take the law into her own hands. So she convinced them that when there is no outright manifestation of Gods will, you apply the oral law, that is the only way the Jews were safe. So Esther is a tikun to Moshe Rabbeinu.

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