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Our Geulah: A Hint of the Future

By Rabbi Pinchos Hoffman

The future redemption of the Jewish people out of the difficult exile, as well as the arrival of Moshiach, will undoubtedly come with much hardship. Our sages have told as much. The only question is: Will the impending war with Gog and Magog be a physical hardship or more of a mental anguish? This is the topic of much discussion in the Gemara and Medrashim, and let us try to decipher this timeless riddle by attempting to understand a number of mysteries throughout Jewish history. 

1) Chazal teach us that in the future, the only Yom Tov that will remain for us to celebrate will the holiday of Purim. Our Sages teach that when Moshiach arrives, the festivals will cease to be observed, but Purim will continue to be observed. The Medrash in Mishlei derives this unusual conclusion from a statement in Megillas Esther, (9:28) “the memory of Purim will never cease from among their descendants.” Why is this so? What is so special about Purim that it will remain, while all the others will not? 

2) One of the basic reasons given for the length of the golus in Persia – seventy years – is due to the fact that Klal Yisroel did not observe the mitzvah of Shemita all throughout the times of the first Bais HaMikdash, which totaled seventy Shemitas that were missed. This is hard to fathom. How is possible that the Jews who witnessed an amazing amount of miracles in the Temple – within and without – would neglect such a basic and fundamental mitzvah such as Shemita? It would seem, that those days were not all that much different than the times we live in today, with the “selective” performance of mitzvos, constant battles between Charedim and Secularists, and the rest of the problems we must deal with today. 

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In order to understand this better, we must follow the timeline of Golus Mitzraim and its significance right up until the time of “kiymu v’kiblu” that occurred during the days of Purim. As was written in a different venue, the main purpose of Golus Mitzraim was for Klal Yisroel to gain the “Rechush Gadol” – the great inheritance that the Ribono shel Olam promised to Avraham Avinu – namely the holy Torah. But the Torah needed to be accepted willingly and with love, not under coercion. This was a problem for many, many years, since the prevalence of Avodah Zara and many other evil whims penetrated the Jewish nation thoroughly. As a result, Hashem had to send His people many hardships, pain and suffering during the slave labor and exile in Egyt, in order for the Jews to want to leave and ultimately accept the Torah. 

Of course, the Jews left Mitzraim and received the Torah, but if not for the fact that Hashem threatened the people by hanging Mount Sinai over their heads (Har Kagigis), they might not have done it. Thus, in reality, this was a forced acceptance of the Torah. The true and willing acceptance of the Torah didn’t happen until much later – during the timjes of Purim, when as a result of the impending holocaust that was to descend upon the Jews in 127 countries under Achashverosh and Haman, the people did Teshuvah and then – and only then – did they accept the Torah willingly. As Chazal tell us: “Kiymu V’kiblu” – Kiymu mah shekiblu kvar – they fulfilled (willingly) what they had previously accepted (unwillingly). 

It is no wonder that during the times of the first Bais HaMikdash, before the “willing acceptance” of the Torah had taken place, there were arguments and machlokes with regard to observance of certain mitzvos. Especially a mitzvah like Shemitah which requires an entire agricultural society to leave their fields fallow and head for the Batei Medrashim to sit and learn Torah for an entire year! Undoubtedly, this was very difficult and caused many people hardship. Hence, it is again no wonder why the people neglected this fundamental mitzvah. 

This secularist approach to mitzvos continued on until the days of Purim. The miracles that were performed under Mordechai and Esther in Shushan, brought about a new realization on the part of the Jewish people. They were facing extinction, a total holocaust that would wipe out the entire nation. The fact that the threat did not materialize proved to the people that Hashem was truly their Protector and that they must follow His Torah and ALL his mitzvos – even the ones that cause hardship – forever. This is the significance of the Purim holiday which will never be forgotten and celebrated for time immemorial. 

We will celebrate Purim as a reminder of this fact – that the mental anguish we will know before the advent of Moshiach and during the wars of Gog and Magog, will be overcome by our people and the actual threat of extinction will not materialize. May we all be zoche to see the coming of Moshiach speedily and in our days. Amen


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