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Things don’t look that bright for Israel, with Ramadan coming up, but we don’t fear. The Holocaust did not happen because we were weak physically as a people, or because we had no army. It did not happen because it made sense it would happen. As a matter of fact, nothing made sense back then. After all, there were at least 42 failed plots to assassinate Hitler, that historians uncovered! If logic would dictate, IDF would have never won the Six Day War, nor the Yom Kippur War. We are a miracle. And a miracle means, G-D.

Seemingly bad things happen only if and when G-d allows them to happen, for a reason we will only know when Eliyahu Hanavi comes with good tidings of Mashiach. For the meantime, though, we have faith, that Am Yisrael Hai, through connecting to G-d, who is חי העולמים the Life of the Worlds, as it says,  וְאַתֶּם֙ הַדְּבֵקִ֔ים בַּיקֹוָ֖ק אֱלֹקיכֶ֑ם חַיִּ֥ים כֻּלְּכֶ֖ם הַיּֽוֹםWe rejoice each Purim, for we are part of an indestructible nation. We celebrate the fact that all those who wanted to destroy us, evaporate with the news. We are The Eternal Nation, a nation that is comparable to that sheep that is surrounded by 70 wolves. We are protected, and not because we protect ourselves. G-d protects us, for the Torah we learn, and the Mitzvoth we do. Here are just a few:

What protects us is the Shabbat Table. וְשָׁמְר֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶת־הַשַּׁבָּ֑ת לַעֲשׂ֧וֹת אֶת־הַשַּׁבָּ֛ת לְדֹרֹתָ֖ם בְּרִ֥ית עוֹלָֽם: Making Shabbat, is what gives usדורות , generations. If you have no Shabbat Table, even if your kids will stay Jewish, but your grandchildren probably won’t. The Megillah tells us at the outset, that Shabbat is what saved us in Shushan. בַּיּוֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י כְּט֥וֹב לֵב־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בַּיָּ֑יִן. G-d contrasted how we behave at our Shabbat meals when we drink, singing Shabbat songs to G-d, versus the immorality at the party of Achasverosh, when the gentiles get drink. G-d then punished Vashti with her life on Shabbat, and put Esther in her stead, who eventually saved the day. This was measure for measure, for Vashti forcing Jewish women to work her field on Shabbat, and tend to her garden. כי אשמרה שבת א-ל ישמרני

What protects us is charity. There are two things that what you take from it, they become bigger. A hole, and fire. You can light a flame from a flame, and the first flame does not get smaller. When G-d wanted to show Moshe the way to get the Jews to give charity of the Mahatzit Hashekel, the way to do that, was by showing Moshe a half coin of fire. Why fire? Moshe had no idea how to get the Jews to give from their money. After all, people believe that money protects them, and giving away money, would mean giving away protection. Money is time, and time is life, which is why money is called דמים, blood. How do you expect to get people to give their life to charity?  But G-d told Moshe, the way to get them to give is by getting them to believe, that by giving charity, you don’t lose. You gain. Just like fire. How so?

The money you have, is the money G-d entrusted you with, to do good things. If you do good with your money, G-d will give you more of it, because He knows He can trust you with it, He knows you can be His partner. G-d is נותן לחם לכל בשר , He gives food to all, He is הזן את הכל, He supports everything. When you give charity, you are ensuring G-d that He can partner with you in supporting His Creatures. This is also why, giving Tzedaka, is an atonement, and it annuls the Evil Decree, and saves from the Angel of Death. Because giving charity, is pledging allegiance of Faith in G-d.

What protects us is unity. The Sefer Hassidim writes, לא יעשו הערלים רעה אלא א”כ יעשו ישראל תחילה רעה ביניהם זה לזה The non-Jews can’t do us any harm, unless the Jews first cause harm, or are cruel, to each other. (209) The idea of the Half Shekel, was to show, that we are all incomplete when we stand alone. The reason why the Jew is more successful than the gentile in business is because when one Jew gets rich, six Jews get rich. They work together, they network, with a win-win mindset.

The half shekel, was originally to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf. Eventually, it became the fundraiser before Nissan, to unite the People in bringing communal sacrifices in the Temple. A deeper meaning for the Mahatzit Hashekel, is found in the Midrash, that it is an atonement for the brothers selling Yosef וַיִּמְכְּר֧וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֛ף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֖ים בְּעֶשְׂרִ֣ים כָּ֑סֶף.  (Esther Rabba 7;20) The amount that each of the ten brothers received, 2 Kesef, was the exact amount of Half a Shekel. The only ones who were able to save the Nation from the decree of Haman, was Mordechai and Esther, who were descendants of Binyamin, the brother that was not at all part of the sale of Yosef. The selling of Yosef was from the belief, that we don’t need this brother, we could manage without him. A person does not get into a fight with someone he needs. In the end, the brother Yosef, was the brother who supported all of them in the years of the famine, and was the most needed.

The divide in the nation is what got us into the Purim mess. As Haman told Achashverosh, יֶשְׁנ֣וֹ עַם־אֶחָ֗ד מְפֻזָּ֤ר וּמְפֹרָד֙ There is this nation that is divided… And the way to get out of the mess, is to reunite, through Mishloach Manot and Matanot Laevyonim. The Halacha says, כשם שנכנס אב ממעטין בשמחה כך משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה  Just like when the month of Av begins we are to lessen our joy, so too, when the month of Adar begins, we are to add in joy. Why doesn’t the Halacha just say, that we should be happy in Adar, without the comparison to being less happy in Av? The answer is, that just like the destruction of the second Temple was the result from a divide in the Nation, from senseless hate, so too, the redemption of the Nation will be only through unity, as unity always brings salvation. Thus, the introduction to Adar, is the Half Shekel. To remind us, that we are all interdependent.

What protects us is Torah learning. When a defeated Haman came to Mordechai to take him around town on the King’s horse, Mordechai was learning Torah. It was the second day of Passover, and he was teaching on that day, when the whole nation was fasting for three days, the laws of bringing the Korban Haomer, for that was the sacrifice of the day. He was teaching the students, how the Kohen does Kemitza, on the Korban Haomer. Haman said to Mordechai, Your Kemitza of barley flour, outweighed all the silver that I gave to Achashverosh. What got Haman the most angry, was seeing Mordechai in the Bet Midrash, studying Torah. The passuk says, וַיֵּצֵ֤א הָמָן֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא שָׂמֵ֖חַ וְט֣וֹב לֵ֑ב וְכִרְאוֹת֩ הָמָ֨ן אֶֽת־מָרְדֳּכַ֜י בְּשַׁ֣עַר הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ וְלֹא־קָם֙ וְלֹא־זָ֣ע מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וַיִּמָּלֵ֥א הָמָ֛ן עַֽל־מָרְדֳּכַ֖י חֵמָֽה: When Haman would see Mordechai sitting in the gate of the king, and he did not get up for Haman, this burned Haman with anger. We know, that whenever the Megillah says in it the word Hamelech, it is hinting to the King of the World. If so, when Mordechai was sitting in the Shaar Hamelech, in the gate of the king, he was sitting in the Bet Midrash! What bothered Haman more than anything, was that he could not disturb Mordechai’s learning, for even a second!



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