זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק כה:יז
Numerous times, the word machar (tomorrow) is mentioned in the context of mechiyas Amaleik (wiping out Amaleik). In parshas Beshalach – the very first time there is a confrontation with Amaleik – Moshe says to Yehoshua, “v’tzei hilacheim ba’Amaleik machar anochi nitzav al rosh ha’givah, go out and wage war against Amalek tomorrow…”. In Megillas Esther, when Esther is attempting to set up the downfall of Haman, she says, “yavoh ha’melech v’Haman el ha’mishteh asher eh’eseh lahem u’machar eh’eseh k’dvar ha’melech, the king and Haman should come to the party…tomorrow…”. She had already made one mishteh, but apparently she needed a mishteh that would be machar in order to clinch Haman’s downfall. Even when Haman tells his family about the party that was and the one that would be, the way he says it is, “af lo heiviah Esther ha’malka im ha’melech el ha’mishteh asher asasah ki im osi, v’gam l’machar ani karu lah im ha’melech, Esther brought no one other than me with the king to the party that she made, and even tomorrow I am invited by her with the king.” Upon the final defeat of Amaleik in the neis of Purim, the word machar appears again. Achashveirosh asks Esther what has been done so far and if she has any further request. She answers with the words, “im al ha’melech tov yinasein gam machar la’Yehudim asher b’Shushan la’asos k’das ha’yom v’es aseres bnei Haman yislu al ha’eitz, if it is ok with the king let tomorrow also be given to the Jews in Shushan to act as they did today…”. Even though the Yidden everywhere had wrought a massive destruction over Amaleik on the 13th of Adar, Esther determined that for the victory to be complete, they needed a machar.
The concept of machar stands at the foundation of Amaleik’s power of scorn. When there is an inner push to do something good or to make some type of improvement, this negative force comes along and pulls out the rug from the whole momentum by saying, “Ah, you’ll do it tomorrow!” What we can learn from Amaleik, though, about the efficacy of this tactic so that we can apply it for good. For example, if you are learning and something comes along that you feel like doing that would pull you away from the Gemara, say to yourself, “Ah, I’ll do it tomorrow!” This is the secret of the emphasis on machar in the war against Amaleik waged by Moshe Rabbeinu and Yehoshua, and by the defeat of Amaleik in the miracle of Purim. Klal Yisrael seizes this power of “machar” from Amaleik and uses it against them to clinch their downfall by applying it for good.
(From the recollections of the editor)
The Pachad Yitzchak emphasizes, based on the Maharal, another angle of machar – that the downfall of Amaleik is something that is necessarily machar, meaning outside of the structure of “today”. This can be understood by another statement of the Maharal that the whole reality of Geulah, the ultimate redemption, is something that transcends time as we know it. So, for example, the redemption from Mitzrayim was ba’chatzos ha’laylah (midnight). Really, explains Rav Yisrael Elya Weintraub zt”l, there is no actual point of chatzos laylah. It is a concept that transcends the current concept of time. Likewise, the redemption from Mitzrayim was b’chipazon (in haste). Matzah is also baked in a very hurried, rushed manner. This all emphasizes that the redemption from Mitzrayim transcended the general concept of the boundaries of time.
It is fascinating to note that in Shmoneh Esrei, the word meheirah (quickly) only appears in the context of the brachos that have to do with redemption. And when it comes to the bracha of V’la’malshinim, the word meheirah appears three times. The explanation is that the word meheirah in the context of Shmoneh Esrei is not being employed in the sense of “quickly, right away”; for, if that were the case, why wouldn’t we ask for knowledge and healing “quickly, right away”?! Rather, what meheirah in the Shmoneh Esrei context means is in a manner that transcends the normal standard of time-boundaries.
The eradication of evil – which is what the brachah of V’la’malshinim is all about – is primarily dependent on wiping out Amaleik. As stated, the downfall of Amaleik can only occur “machar” – in a manner of time-transcendence. That is why we reiterate and re-emphasize in this bracha the word meheirah. We are asking that this time-transcendent defeat of Amaleik come to fruition.
(Adapted from Maamarei Purim)
Auspiciousness of Rosh Ha’Shana
In the Beis Ha’Mikdash, on Rosh Ha’Shana, the Mishna says that the chatzotzros finished first, and the shofaros kept blowing, because mitzvas ha’yom is with the shofar. Really, this is pashut pshat in the pasuk that says, “yom teruah yihiyeh lachem”. Of course, this is a mitzvah that one must do with the physical actions of his body; chovos ha’eivarim. Together with this, though, is an avodas ha’nefesh which apparently is more than with any other mitzvah. The first aspect is the arousal to do teshuva as the Rambam writes. There is another amazing component to it, which is teffilah. Chazal call Rosh Ha’Shana a yoma d’tzlosah, a day of teffilah. Likewise, the Yerushalmi says on the pasuk, “v’Osi yom yom yidroshun” that the two days are referring to Rosh Ha’Shana and Hoshana Rabbah. The essential nature of these two days is teffilah and seeking out Hashem. Similarly, on the pasuk that says “panah el teffilas ha’ar’ar” (ar’ar means something which is all alone), the Maharsha says that it is referring to Rosh Ha’Shana and Yom Kippur.
When it comes to the rest of the year, halevai that we could say that after putting in tremendous exertion we manage to have kavanah in davening. Halevai. But these days, teffilah comes much easier. It goes. These days are extremely auspicious for being able to have kavanah, perhaps in particular when it comes to musaf of Rosh Ha’Shana.
However, you can’t just fall into it. It needs preparation. The best way to prepare – and this is agreed upon by all Batei Medrash – is by learning the sugyos. With the Tur and Beis Yosef, and eventually getting to the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brurah. Another aspect to this preparation is to look over the contents of the machzor. Chazal tell us that without review, divrei Torah can get dusty and rusty. So you take out the machzor ahead of time – it is not too early – to get off all the dust and rust. Aleinu, in particular, needs this rejuvenation, since we say it three times a day, every day.
(From audio recording)
Are malchuyos, zichronos, and shofaros d’Oraysah or d’Rabbanan?
The Mishna and Gemara in Rosh Ha’Shana 32a tells us about the chiyuv to have malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros. The Gemara darshens it on the pasuk, “shabbason zichron teruah”. Rashi al ha’Torah brings this derasha. The implication is that Rashi holds that it is a derasha gmurah m’d’Oraysoh. The Ramban al ha’Torah and in seifer ha’mitzvos takes issue with this. He points out the Gemara on 34b. There the Gemara asks, what is the chiddush that a person should opt to go to a city where there will only be tekias shofar over going to a city where there will be only davening – since, after all, tekias shofar is d’Oraysoh and davening is d’Rabbanan?! (The Gemara answers there that the chiddush is that even if one city will for sure have davening, and the other city you’re not sure if they’ll have shofar, the safeik for the kiyum of a d’Oraysah takes precedence over a vadai kiyum of a d’Rabbanan). So, you see mefurash, says the Ramban, that the seider ha’brachos of malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros is mi’d’Rabbanan, not like Rashi. Even though the Gemara (on 32a and 16a) employs expressions such as “Rachmana amar” and “amar Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu, imru l’fanai malchiyos”, it is just a manner of expression, but does not mean that it is d’Oraysah. Rather, it is like what Chazal say by hadlakas neiros Chanukah that we can say v’tzivanu since there is a mitzvah of “zekeinecha v’yomru lach”.
The teirutz for Rashi, I heard from my grandfather and saw in other Achronim as well, is that malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros is d’Oraysah when it is together with tekias shofar. Rashi is in fact mashma like this in numerous places. Throughout Shas (for example, here in Rosh Ha’Shana on 33b and in Arachin 10a), whenever the topic comes up, Rashi always goes out of his way emphasize that one set of tekios is for malchiyos, one for zichronos, and one for shofaros. Similarly, in explaining the shitah on 34a that holds only one set of tekios is d’Oraysah and the other two are d’Rabbanan, Rashi says that the reason they made the takanah to blow the other two sets is in order to make malchiyos, zichronos, and shofaros all be the same. What you see from this Rashi is that, according to this shitah, even before the takanah d’Rabbanan the blowing of the shofar was in the middle of musaf, and that the takanah was to make all the three brachos be the same. The clear implication from all these Rashi’s, then, is that the brachos and the tekios are one combined kiyum m’d’Oraysah, that each enhances the other (just that shofar is d’Oraysah even by itself, whereas the brachos are only d’Oraysah when together with the tekios – compiler’s elaboration -).
This explanation of Rashi fits very nicely with the Ritva’s explanation of “ba’meh? Ba’shofar” on 16a. He says that what that means is that the tekias shofar is together with each bracha. This echoes the statement of Rav Saadyah Gaon that each set of tekios is defined by the bracha that it accompanies. The tekios following malchiyos are an expression of being mamlich Hashem. The tekios following zichronos serve as the vehicle to bring our zikaron l’tovah before Hashem, and the bracha of shofaros is that since we blow shofar, we have a bracha going directly on that.
(From audio recording)
Just because you already made a kabbla (resolution) once doesn’t mean that you can’t make it again.
My father was always very against smoking. When I was a young boy, he would repeatedly warn me, prior to Purim, that although I may see some children smoking cigarettes on Purim, I was absolutely forbidden from doing such a thing. One time I asked him about a fake cigarette that was filled with flour. “Can I pretend smoke with such a thing?” I asked my father. He answered me as follows: “Essentially, it’s ok. But, I don’t think it’s worth it for you to do it. Because if I see you with something that looks like a cigarette in your mouth, if I think even for a moment that it is actually a real cigarette, I will punish you immediately without any hesitation!” Suffice it to say that I got the point loud and clear. I recall another example of his extremely negative attitude towards smoking. Not so long ago, an adult relative mentioned in the course of a conversation that, once, as a teenager, he had experimented with cigarettes and had smoked half of a cigarette. Even though that was the sum total of this relative’s entire experience with cigarettes, my father nevertheless expressed extreme incredulity at this revelation. (Reb Avrohom Twersky)