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Thought for the Day: The Importance of Chazara

It was one Purim day 1996 sometime in the afternoon that I received a phone call from the specialist at University of Indiana to tell me that my cancer was cured.  Since that year, we have noted at the Purim s'uda that this is also a s'udas hoda'ah for me.  Even though "ein m'arvin simcha b'simacha" (we don't combine different simcha celebrations into one), yeish marbe hoda'a al hoda'a -- there is nothing wrong with finding additional reasons to acknowledge and appreciate our Creator.  In fact, I am probably the only recipient ever of the "Most Not Dead Award"; presented to me in 2002 by my wife and children.

The last few years we have made two s'udos -- a small one in the morning after k'rias megilla and another later in the afternoon with a larger group.  It is the morning s'uda that doubles as the s'udas hoda'ah.  Our custom is to learn over the last halacha in Mishna Brura, where this idea is discussed.  It it also a nice way to begin Purim day as the Rema ends with: v'leiv tov mishta tamid (being excited about the good that happens to others makes your life one big party -- free translation).  This year I was learning and translating the Mishna Brura word by word out loud with my wife and noticed something really interesting.  So interesting I stopped and said, "Uh oh..."  My wife got really interested then.

The Mishna Brura says that if one accepts on himself to make a s'udas hoda'ah for a personal neis that happened in Adar on a regular year, then in subsequent years the s'uda should be in the first Adar.  I've always figured that if I got the phone call on Purim, so I should make the s'uda on Purim.  My wife then said to me, in all innocence, "Haven't you learned that Mishna Brura before?"  I acknowledged that I had learned it more than once.  "So what happened?"

The short answer to that question is that I was lazy and didn't read it carefully.  The longer answer is that I have always learned that at our s'uda and it's early and I read it quickly because it was at our s'uda and... Ok, forget it; the short answer is the correct.  So next year leap year we will, bli neder, start making the s'udas hoda'a on the fourteenth of Adar I.  My wife found it so cool that every time you learn something you get more out of it.  She's good that way; always pointing out the positive.

I once asked R' Dovid Segal how important it is to learn with a chavrusa.  He said, "Between 50 and 100 percent."  Oh.  Live and learn... and change.

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