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Staying Connected
Sichos in English

Yechidus; 16th of Adar, 5750

1. As is customary after having spent some time together, before each person returns to his own home, we gather together — men, women and children — once more. There is a unique significance in holding such a gathering at the present time, since the unity of the Jewish people is one of the central themes of the Purim holiday, which we have just celebrated.

To this end, when Haman asked Achashverosh for permission to destroy the Jewish people, he said, “There is one nation, dispersed and divided among all the nations in all the countries of your kingdom,” indicating that it was the disunity that existed among the Jewish people that allowed the possibility of Haman’s decree. Indeed, separation is the source of all exile and negative decrees. Conversely, Haman’s decree was nullified through an expression of unity, demonstrating that even if the Jewish people are “dispersed and divided” throughout the world, they remain “one nation.”

Similarly, in the present context, although each individual is about to return to his home, we meet again to emphasize the bond of unity that we share. At this meeting, each person should accept resolutions to maintain a connection, emphasizing that the separation between us is merely external. On the contrary, this separation generates feelings of love and longing for each other…

2. We can derive a lesson from the fact that it is accepted Jewish custom to read the entire Megilla on Purim. Although it is possible to fulfill one’s obligation by reading only the section of the Megilla that describes the force of the miracle, it is a universally accepted practice to begin the reading from the first verse, “And it was in the days of King Achashverosh.”

Our Sages relate that King Achashverosh symbolizes G-d Himself, “the King Who is the master of the beginning [reishis] and the end [acharis].” Although Achashverosh did several undesirable things to the Jewish people and did not behave in an appropriate manner for a king, to the extent that our Sages described him as a foolish king, this foolish king serves as a metaphor for G-d. Although this comparison seems difficult to comprehend, it can be understood based on the concept that every being in the world exists by virtue of a Divine life-force that maintains its existence every moment. Thus, at every moment, Achashverosh, even as he exists as a foolish king, is brought into being by a G-dly life force. Consequently, his name, symbolic of a being’s life-force, can teach us an important lesson in the service of G-d.

A Jew must realize that he must “master the beginning and the end.” That is, at every stage one must ensure that the “end” of a movement is connected to its “beginning.” It is not sufficient that an activity be initiated with good intentions; its end must also be “mastered” by G-d, which is the ultimate desire of every Jew.

This concept can also be explained to a young child. He should be trained to improve his conduct. The key to such a process of change is the realization that every act has its consequences. Thus, a child should be taught to consider the consequences of his behavior. Educating a child in this manner will motivate him to improve his behavior without the need for threats and casting fear.

3. This week’s Torah portion has a connection to the entire Jewish people. It begins, “When you will lift up the head of the Jewish people,” elevating all Jews — men, women, and children. Although this elevation came about through giving the half-shekel, given only by adult males above the age of 20, it brought about atonement for the entire Jewish people. Similarly, the half-shekels were used for the sockets of the Sanctuary, in which all Jews – men, women, and children — had a portion.

At present, the half-shekel is given before Purim. This year, it was given on the previous Thursday. Its influence continued on Shabbos, the thirteenth of Adar. Thirteen is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word “echad,” meaning one. A further extension was made on Sunday, Purim, and on Monday, Shushan Purim. The latter is also related to the Jewish people as a whole, for each Jew is “a resident of Shushan,” i.e., he is found in G-d’s capitol city.

4. Our parting should bring about resolutions to increase in ahavas Yisroel (loving our fellow Jew). At the beginning of the day, we make the statement, “Behold I accept upon myself the fulfillment of the commandment, ‘Love your fellowman as yourself.’” This commitment should be continued throughout the day and also expressed at night, for a Jew must always be in control of himself, even when asleep. This is reflected by the law that a person is always responsible for his actions.

This quality of self control is accomplished through the recitation of Krias Shma before retiring, which generates a positive influence. In fact, when it is said properly, at times, a person will awake in the middle of the night and recall certain positive things he could have accomplished during the day, and as a natural response, he will wash negal vasser and complete his service in the middle of the night.

This approach will cause “the sleep of the King to be disturbed.” The King of kings will recall the positive deeds of Mordechai, the Jew, and realize that “nothing has been done for him [as a reward],” for whatever the Jewish people have received is nothing compared to what they are worthy of receiving.

In particular, this is true when the Jewish people take on the mission of increasing their happiness in all the days of Adar, including the resolution to continue the farbrengens of Purim in the upcoming days, according to the directive, “a good-hearted person is always celebrating.”

In this manner, we will join one redemption to the other and proceed from the redemption of Purim to the ultimate Messianic redemption. While we are standing here in Brooklyn, the last moment of exile will become the first moment of redemption. May it be in the immediate future.


The separation between us is merely external. In fact, this separation actually generates feelings of love and longing for each other.








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