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PARASHAT TEZAVEH

Dear Mogen David family,

We all can remember one year ago, around Purim time, when this current magefa of Corona began. Our world changed, along with he inner-dynamic of our community and all communities around the globe. How strange it is that we are now welcoming in Purim this year still in the midst of this pandemic. By Kriat Megillat Purim the halacha states it is best to have as many people as possible. This is based on a pasuk and a concept known as "B'rov am hadrat Melech,"--with a multitude of people we can increase the glory of Hashem. The larger the gathering for Kiriat HaMegillah, where we make the beracha of 'She'asah Nissim L'Avoteinu,' and fulfill the mitzvah of Pirsumei Nissah, the greater we proclaim and publicize that G-d runs the world--Hashem Hu Ha-Elokim!

Gathering in small and separated groups for Kriat HaMegillah should be antithetical to the nature of Kriat HaMegillah. Being forced to splinter into smaller segments seems almost unnatural after Esther HaMalcha commanded Mordechai, "Lech, Knos et Kol HeYehudim,"--go gather all of the Jewish Nation.

But these are not normal times and this is once again not a regular Purim. Another aspect of Purim, however, is to be B'Simcha. Indeed, the entire month of Adar is devoted to Simcha as we say try to be 'Marbim B'Simcha' the entire month.

Let us all make an extra effort this Purim, and for the entire month, to be B'Simcha the best way we can. To be B'Simcha with ourselves, with our families, and with Hashem.

While the primary Mitzvah on Purim is Mikra Megilla, we also have the three other mitzvot derabanan of Mishloach Manot, Matanot L'evyonim, and Mishte (Seudat Purim). The poskim debate whether all three are really linked to the Seudah itself but one thing, according the Rambam, is certain: Matanot L'evyonim takes precedence among the three.

The Rambam write in Hilchot Megillah, 2:17:

"It is better for one to give additional Matanot L'evyonim rather than to embellish their Purim Seudah and/or give additional Mishloach Manot to their friends, as there is no greater and more glorious Simcha than to gladden the hearts of the less fortunate poor people, orphans, widows, and converts. One who lifts the spirits and gladdens the hearts of these less fortunate individuals is likened to the Shechina"!

I would like to suggest that this message of the Rambam is uniquely suited for Chag Purim. At the time of the Megillah there were no Nissim Geliuyim, no open miracles which contradicted nature. There were no Nevi'im who were receiving prophesies like Moshe Rabbeinu and Yeshayahu HaNavi had in the past. But, as we know, miracles occur each and every day. If we want to be "likened to the Shechina," as the Rambam says, we must provide for the needy in our community. It is not natural for one person to give of their own hard-earned money to another person they have never met. Animals provide for their own children but do not seek out opportunities to help other, unknown and less fortunate mammals. For humans to take 'losses' to provide for other humans, one Jew for a fellow Jew they have never met, is indeed a way to show--like the story of Esther and Mordechai--that miracles still exist in the world. In this way, says the Ramabm, even without Nissim Geluyim, we can still bring the Shechina into our world.

Chag Purim Sameach!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi

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