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Thought for the Day: Why the Purim Miracle Convinced Us To Accept Oral Law Willingly

As we all know, there is a famous medrash that Klal Yisrael was initially forced to accept the Torah: Har Sinai was held over the heads of the entire nation, "Accept the Torah, then all is good; refuse, this is your grave."  (Obviously, of course, they said, "Yes, Sir!")  When did they accept the Torah willingly and with love?  At Purim, as we read in M'gillas Esther, "Kimlu v'kiblu ha'y'hudim"/the Jews fulfilled and accepted [the Torah] (Esther 9:27)  (The medrash is going on the logical absurdity of fulfilling before accepting.)

Then there is the other famous medrash that when Moshe Rabeinu proffered to Klal Yisrael (before the above incident, obviously) the opportunity to accept the Torah, that they answered "Everything that HaShem says, we will do and we will hear!" (Sh'mos 24:7), to which HaShem responded, "Who told My children the secret known only to the angels?"  That secret being that Klal Yisrael accepted with enthusiasm to immediately start doing without question, and then spend their lives researching the reasoning and deeper meanings of every mitzvah.  (The medrash is going on the logical absurdity of doing before hearing.)

There is a lot of beautiful Torah written on resolving this paradox.  The most famous answer (that is, the one I know) is from the Maharal,  Again, he has a lot of details, but at the end of the day and when the dust has settled, the basic idea is: At Har Sinai, the Jews accepted the Written Torah enthusiastically and with love, but had to be coerced into accepting the Oral Torah.  Then at Purim time, they accepted the Oral Torah also, this time enthusiastically and with love.

Here's a question that should have been obvious but never occurred to me: What changed at Purim to win Klal Yisrael over the Oral Law that was not accomplished by all the amazing miracles of y'tzi'as mitzrayim?  That's the question posed by Emes l'Yaakov at the end of parshas Ki Savo.  I read that question and almost fell off my chair.  "Heck yeah", I thought, "What the hey!?"  Those miracles at yitzi'as mitzrayim were awesome, stupendous, out of this world!

Exactly, answers Emes l'Yaakov... they all showed that HaShem had complete control of this world; at any moment reality could change on a dime.  That's the Written Torah; entirely from outside the world, beyond the grasp of human resoning.  Of course they accepted that.. HaShem is the Author of creation, it would be ludicrous but to anything but accept His Torah without question.  But the Oral Torah seems to be a collaborative.  The sages of all generation delve, dissect, debate, and discover.  Klal Yisrael was very nervous about accepting such a body of legislature.  With all the good intentions in the world, who says mistakes would't creep in?

Then came Purim.  No one event was in any way unnatural.  Even the cause and effect of each event and it's outcome,  totally predictable.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Until you look at the whole picture... then you see the Hand of HaShem carefully and precisely conducting each and every event, each and every encounter, each and every moment.  What looks like normal man made political intrigue is actually the playing out of HaShem's Will.  No chance for error.  When Klal Yisrael saw that, they realized that all the debate and process of the Oral Law is certainly man made, but the conclusions and dictates are pure Ratzon HaShem -- revelation of HaShem's Will.

The miracle and intent of Purim was not that Haman be deposed and Mordechai become viceroy.  The miracle and intent of Purim was to demonstrate to Klal Yisrael that their efforts to sincerely plumb the depths of Torah to discover the Mind of their Creator are guaranteed to succeed.

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