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By: Mrs. Shalvie Friedman

(Current MMY Teacher)

The month of Adar is a month of “שמחה ומשתה” for the Jewish people. But more than just a time of frivolity, this is a month where we can truly overcome the symbolic paradigm of עמלק, the enemy of עם ישראל as a people, and each of us- its members, as individuals. 

The Sefer Yetzira explains how each month in the year is connected to a specific letter in the aleph bet as well as a uniqueKoach or expression in the human body. These both serve to teach us of the month's deeper meaning. The Sefer Yetzira tells us that the letter for Adar is the letter "ק", and the Koach in the body is laughter. What is the significance of these allusions?

Read more: Adar- Having the Last Laugh

purim-mask1

By: Tehilla Berger 

(Current MMY Student)

Purim is perhaps the most popular holiday among Jewish children. After all, on what other holiday is it a custom both to dress up and to receive free candy? While masquerading on Purim is both enthralling and invigorating, the peculiarity of the custom begs explanation.

The Mishna Torah has a section in זמנים devoted to the הלכות of פורים and חנוכה. The title "הלכות מגילה וחנוכה" contains a blatant incongruity. Why doesn't the Rambam refer to these הלכות as "הלכות פורים וחנוכה"? Why are the הלכות of פורים referred to by the restrictive title "הלכות מגילה"? What is it about the centrality of the מגילה on פורים that allows it to trump all the other מצוות היום in significance? Furthermore, in the last הלכה in the section, the Rambam equates the importance of the מגילה to that of the חמישה חומשי תורה בימות המשיח. Although the rest of נביאים and כתובים will no longer be relevant, מגילת אסתר will remain pertinent and applicable. While we will abandon the practice of recollecting the painful experiences in Jewish History, we will always commemorate the story of the Jews in שושן. In effect, the message of the מגילה is so great, it is paramount to כל התורה כולה. What then is the potent, vital message that the מגילה imparts to its readers?

Read more: Ephemeral or Eternal? The Message of the Masquerade

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