The Gemara in Megilah (16a) tells us that when Haman looks for Mordechai to carry out King Achashverosh’s reward of riding on the king’s horse, dressed in royal clothes, he finds Mordechai in the Beis Hamedrash teaching hilchos kemitzah. Hilchos kemitzah are technical laws involving flour offerings.
Why hilchos kemitzah now?
A well-known public speaker once told me that he tries to throw in the word “relevant” in the first 60 seconds of any of his talks as a means of engaging his audience.
Hilchos kemitzah? The first Beis Hamikdash has been destroyed and the second has yet to come. There is no Beis Hamkidash, no flour offerings and no kemitzah? Hardly relevant or pressing!?
The answer is that Mordechai is teaching a powerful message. Klal Yisrael are in deep trouble. The noose is tightening around their neck. A date for state sanctioned genocide has been set. Mordechai does his hishtadlus, he makes every effort to guide Esther and together with the rest of the Jewish people, he fasts and prays. And then he teaches hilchos kemitzah.
In so doing, he is telling Klal Yisrael the message of last week’s haftorah that we read before Purim every year – נצח ישראל לא ישקר. Mordechai is saying we may be in a precarious state, but we will get through this, we will prevail. There will yet be a Beis Hamikdash and Kohanim will once again perform the avodah and take a kemitzah.
A timely and timeless message for Purim 2021. Our world has been turned upside down but we should take comfort in the message of Purim.
As I wrote to parents earlier this week, despite everything, there is a huge amount going on over Purim (all of course online and Covid friendly) and I thank all the Kodesh teachers and HIPE educators for ensuring the spirit of Purim reaches our students.
And there is a very direct way to thank HIPE and ensure their long-term future at Hasmonean. Students are collecting for 19 charities associated with Hasmonean in their HIPE UNITE campaign, but we are turning to parents and to the community to help HIPE via the Chomesh L’Chinuch campaign.
Please click on the link below, enjoy the fabulous song, donate generously and share the link as widely as possible.
Wishing you and your families an enjoyable, meaningful and safe Purim.
Rabbi J Golker