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Thought for the Day: Bein Baruch Mordechai and Arur Haman -- What Was the Question?

When I was young and stupid (as opposed to now, when I am no longer so young), I made some remark to one of my "older" co-workers about his elevated age (he was probably in his 40s).  He asked me if ever longed to be a teenager again.  "Argh! No way!"  "Right," he replied, "and I also don't want to be in my 20s again."  Getting older isn't just better than the alternative, it's really just plain good.  Besides the goodness of personal growth and deepened understanding of why we are here in this world and how to achieve our purpose, there is also the pleasure of the shared knowledge and world outlook with one's peer group.  That what the heightened pleasure of learning a R' Dessler on Purim; when my chavrusa said, "Ah!  To do that voodoo that you do so well!"  I knew exactly what he meant and we both knew we were getting the R' Dessler.

That last R' Dessler in the third volume of "Strive for Truth" (first section of second volume of Michtav Me'Eliyahu) addresses what was achieved at Purim with: la'y'hudim orah, simcha, sasson, va'y'kar/The Jews had light, rejoicing, joy, and glory.  Chazal explain that light means Torah, rejoicing means Sukkos, joy means bris mila, and glory means t'fillin.  The Maharal (Ohr Chadash) explains that Chazal mean: ohr/Torah refers to intellectual d'veikus, simcha/sukkos refers to spiritual d'veikus, sasson/bris mila refers to physical d'veikus, y'kar/t'fillin refers to the total d'veikus that is achieved when all of those are experienced together. R ' Dessler explains the Maharal's explanation (always appreciated).

The word "devek" in modern Hebrew means "glue", but d'veikus means to cleave, to adhere.  In order for d'veikus between any two entities, all foreign matter must be removed from between them and they must be aligned.  With limud ha'Torah we align our thought processes with HaKadosh Hu and remove the foreign ideas and thoughts that take us away.  We achieve the same thing spiritually by performing mitzvos, exemplified by Sukkos into which we throw are whole body.  We even change our bodies with bris mila.

Then there is t'fillin, binding together the intellectual, spiritual, and physical to achieve... Right, to achieve what, precisely?  Says R' Dessler, we are seeking to find our "I", our unique and critical contribution to the world.  We are each here because we have something to contribute to the beautiful reality that HaShem created.  Without each of our individual and absolutely unique contributions, the world will never be complete.

To achieve any stretch goal -- and perfection is certainly a stretch goal -- requires two things: dedication to the achievement itself and actively pushing away anything that interferes with that goal.  "Baruch Mordechai" is the positive; working toward the goal itself.  "Arur Haman" is the negative; pushing away interferences.  However, notes R' Dessler, the only reason I have distractions from any goal is because I have my own agenda.  When the agenda is to express myself the positive and negative become all one thing!  When I realign all of my efforts to expressing my unique contribution to reality -- which is really what drives everything I do -- then my agenda to become and eved HaShem and my agenda to achieve my own goals for satisfaction become one and the same.  Baruch Mordechai and Arur Haman become two sides of the same coin.  Purim is the celebration of that achievement; acceptance of the Torah with love.

There is a Russian expression: Once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts; you're dead.  Every one of those aches and sores is growing pains.  I earned them, and I enjoy them the way I enjoy the muscle ache after a good workout.  The more one realizes that his job really is to do that voodoo that you do so well, the more those delicious aches and those well earned achievements become one and the same thing.


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