Parshas Tetzave/Zachor 5777
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March 10, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 17
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Dvar Torah

Lessons From The Enemy
 By Rabbi Yisroel Akerman
 
"And at the completion of those days the king made a banquet for all the people that lived in Shushan the capital, from big to small, a seven-day party in the courtyard garden of the palace of the king" (Esther 1:5) . The Gemara (Megilla 12a) questions the seemingly ambiguous language at the end of the pasuk which seems to indicate that the banquet took place in three different locations; the courtyard, garden and palace itself. One of the answers given explains that the seating arrangements were based on social status. The commoners were placed in the courtyard, the more important individuals in the garden, and finally those of the highest prominence were accorded honor with placement in the palace. This would also explain the pasuk's choice of words of "from big to small"- not referring to age but rather to social status.
The Gemara later explains another vague pasuk: "... on benches of silver and pillars of marble, beds of gold and silver..." (ibid 1:6) which is unclear if the seating was on silver or golden couches. Rabbi Yehuda answers that those who were worthy of silver were seated on silver and those of a higher standing were seated on golden couches. Tosafos asks, (s.v. atah) why doesn't the Gemara ask a similar question earlier regarding the seating locations? Wouldn't those who were placed in the courtyard be jealous of the ones seated in the garden etc? Tosafos answers, since they couldn't see each other the possibility of jealousy didn't exist.
Ben Yehoyuda finds difficulty with Tosafos' answer since surely the simpler folk knew that others were invited deeper into the palace. If so, the question still remains. Wouldn't the commoners envy those who got better seating and wouldn't this dampen the festivities? Ben Yehoyada offers the following explanation. Feelings of jealousy only occur when one feels that a peer is within the same income bracket will he become green-eyed when he spots his friend driving a nicer car than he has. However, when his peer clearly enjoys a higher social and financial distinction, one can understand and possibly come to terms with the fact that he enjoys greater privilege. With this understanding, Ben Yohayada explains that what Tosafos meant was since the various groups at Achashveirosh's banquet could not see each other they would simply assume that those who were seated closer were of greater rank.
Mei'ovai Tichakmeini - From my enemies I become wise. Achashveirosh was sensitive to the feelings of the Jewish people, trying to make them as comfortable as possible, at his banquet of doom. Rectifying this, is a central theme in the Yom Tov of Purim. But we take it a step further. The common element of all four Mitzvos Hayom - Mikra Megilla, Mishloach Manos, Matanos Lievyonim and Seuda - is unity. We read the Megilla specifically B'rov Am - in a large gathering. We send gifts to friends and the destitute. We even join together in a festive feast with our close ones. Through not coveting that which belongs to others, we can truly join together in unity. Similarly, the custom is to dress up with masks and costumes.
I once heard that when the pauper dresses like a rich man and the rich man dresses like a pauper, no one recognizes who is who. On Purim social status doesn't matter. We all join together as Bnai Yisrael did in the times and Mordechai and Esther and accept the Oral Torah as one, just as was done by Mount Sinai. "And they encamped there together as one man with one heart". May we merit to achieve this lofty level of being satisfied with our own lot and not desiring that which our friends have.
 
Dvar Halacha
Laws of Parshas Zachor
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i

This Shabbos, which is the last Shabbos before Purim, is called Parshas Zachor (the Parshah of Remembering). Every Jew is obligated to remember that Amelek attempted to destroy the Jewish people. It is essential to remember this during the time that is in close proximity to Purim, which involved Haman who descended from Amelek trying to destroy our nation (Mishneh Berurah 685:1). There is a dispute whether hearing Parshas Zachor is a chiyuv me'doraisa (Biblical commandment) or me'derabban (Rabbinical obligation) (Shulchan Aruch 685:7).

There is a dispute amongst the Poskim whether a person needs to hear each word or it suffices to hear the ikar ha'inyan (main idea of zichiras Amalek) in order to fulfill his obligation. Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, [Halichos Shlomo Moadim 1:18:2] and Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, [Shmaitza D'Moshe 685:6] were of the opinion that hearing the ikar ha'inyan is sufficient. However Harav Tzvi Pesach Frank, zt"l, holds one needs to hear each word (quoted in Sefer Shloshim Yom Kodem HaChag pg. 287 ftnt. 10). Therefore, ideally a person should hear and understand each word. If he did not, he is nevertheless fulfilled his obligation (Emes L'Yaakov OC ftnt. 597, Koveitz Halachos 1:8 & 9).

If one missed hearing the laining of Parshas Zachor, there is a dispute whether he can fulfill his obligation with hearing the Torah laining on Purim morning which also mentions Amalek. The Magen Avraham [685:1] holds that one is yotzei, however the Mishneh Berurah [685:16] & Aruch Hashulchan [685:5] argue. According to Poskim one can rely on the lenient opinion, therefore, Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, recommends if someone missed laining, it is preferable to fulfill one's obligation by hearing the laining on Purim morning, than to be yotzei on Shabbos Parshas Zachor as part of an additional laining which is exclusively for women (Koveitz Halachos 1:3). Additionally, one may form a minyan of ten men.

The baal korei (person reading the Torah) needs to have in mind that he is fulfilling everyone who is listening's obligation, and each person needs to be have in mind to be yotzei (Mishneh Berurah 685:14). It is important to note, that if he is being yotzei on Purim morning with the laining, he should tell the baal koreh beforehand to have him in mind [to be motzei him] (Koveitz Halachos 1:6).

Since there is a machlokes whether the proper pronunciation is "zay'cher Amalek" or "ze'cher Amalek", the minhag is to read that Posuk two times, each time with one of these pronunciations, in order to be yotzei according to each opinion (Mishneh Berurah 685:18).

It is preferable to hear the laining in the havara (pronunciation) that he is accustomed to (Halichos Shlomo 18:1). However, he may fulfill his obligation even by hearing a different havara (pronunciation) that what his mesorah is. Accordingly, an Ashkenazi may hear a Sefardi pronunciation and vice versa (Igros Moshe OC 4:23, Koveitz Halachos 1:12).

There is a machlokes whether women are obligated to hear Parshas Zachor (see Sefer HaChinuch 603 who holds they are not obligated, however the Minchas Chinuch ibid argues). Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit"a, adds even according to the opinion that women are not obligated, since the custom has evolved that many women do go to shul, there is a concept a woman should try to go in order not to be poraish min hatzibbur (separate oneself from the group) (Koveitz Halachos 1:10).

 

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