Purim Will Never Cease

February 21, 2021

3 min read


Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10 )

Commenting on the verse, “And these days of Purim should never cease among the Jews” (Esther 9:28), the Midrash states that even when all the other festivals are discontinued, Purim will always remain. The commentaries give various interpretations on what this Midrash may mean but it is evident from this Midrash that Purim has extraordinary significance, and surpasses in importance even the Scriptural festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. What is it that gives Purim such great significance?

R' Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev explains that supernatural miracles, great as they may be, are of only a temporary duration. The salvation of the Israelites by the dividing of the waters of the Reed Sea was indeed an exceptional occurrence, but it was witnessed only by that generation, and for us it is a historical incident. We do not expect miracles of that type to occur.

The salvation of Purim, however, did not consist of any supernatural miracle. Every event could be seen as a perfectly natural happening. A king becomes intoxicated and in his drunken rage has the queen executed. He chooses a Jewess as his new queen, and she conceals her origin. Her uncle, who is in the royal court, discovers a palace intrigue to assassinate the king, and the queen reports this to the king, thereby saving his life. The anti-Semitic prime minister extracts a decree from the king to exterminate the Jews in his kingdom. The king is reminded that it was a Jew who saved his life. The queen turns the king's wrath against the prime minister, who is executed. The queen reveals her Jewish origin, her uncle is appointed as prime minister and the Jews are saved.

It is only when the entire sequence of events is put together that one sees the guiding Hand of God saving His people. In all likelihood, during the Purim episode, someone in shul related, “Did you hear what happened yesterday? The king was drunk and flew into a rage and had the queen executed!” A listener probably said, “I couldn't care less about what the king does. Politics is not my thing.” At no point did anyone realize that a miracle was in the making.

Miracles such as these are with us today. No laws of nature are suspended, but the guiding Hand of God causes “natural” events to occur in such a way that results in our salvation.

The realization that everything in the world is orchestrated by God is a fundamental principle of Judaism. This teaching of Purim should be with us 354 days of every year. As we say in the Amidah, “for Your miracles are with us every day.” This belief enables us to entrust our lives to the care of God, and should stimulate us to live our lives according to His commandments.

Next Steps