Purim Katan 5784 / 2024

Holiday #8 (252)

Purim Katan 5784

Feb. 22, sunset - Feb. 23 (23-24)

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The Power of Prayer on Purim Katan ("Little Purim")

THE Chidushei Harim (Rabbi Yitzchak-Meir Alter, the first Rebbe of Gur) introduced an innovative reason for the mitzvah of drinking much wine on Purim.

He told a story that happened in the times of the Baal Shem Tov. There was a terrible decree against the Jews; everybody prayed and did various mitzvot, but nothing helped and the decree stayed in place. Finally the Baal Shem Tov instructed one of his followers to go to a distant town and find a certain drunkard and bring him back to the Baal Shem Tov. The messenger was advised not to allow the drunkard to drink so that he would be sober when he came face to face with the Baal Shem Tov. When the drunkard was brought to the Baal Shem Tov, he asked the drunkard for a blessing that the decree be abolished. The drunkard did so and immediately the decree was annulled.

The Baal Shem Tov explained to his close followers that this person had done the great mitzvah of saving a girl, the mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim ("redeeming captives"), and the Heavenly Court was so moved that it was decreed that whatever this person would ask for would be granted immediately. But then in Heaven a big debate ensued: how can a simple person be given such unbelievable power of blessing; maybe he will use it for the wrong ends? So they decreed that he would be a drunkard all the time and not even realize this power that was given to him.


THE Chidushei Harim then cited a law of Purim: "Anyone who extends his hand, you must give him." This is true also regarding prayer: when we davven (pray) to G-d on Purim, He has to answer our requests. So to counter this unbelievable power of prayer, the Sages enacted the law of drinking much wine on Purim so that we can't focus and therefore won't use the day for praying for the wrong things. The Chidushei Harim added that if somebody feels that he wants to be smarter than the Sages -- and not drink, but pray and study all day long -- he is wrong for not listening to the Sages.

A mishnah in the tractate of Megillah (1:4) states that in a leap year (7 years out of every 19, when an extra month is added -- see "Maintaining the Cosmic Balance"), "There is no difference between the Adar I and Adar II except that in the first Adar] we are not obligated to read the Megillah nor give presents to the poor."

The power of prayer, however, remains exactly the same! Yet, in the first Adar the Sages did not enact an obligation to drink.

So here we have a day-Purim Katan, the 14th of Adar I in a leap year--that has has a unique and tremendous power of prayer not countered by an obligation to drink!

Let us use this occasion to pray to the Master of the Universe for all the right things. The collective Jewish people is living through difficult times and there are many things to pray for. May we all merit to see the arrival of Moshiach very soon.

Source: Edited by Yerachmiel Tilles for Festivals of the Full Moon from a speech by Rabbi Avraham Schorr about the power of prayer on Purim Katan, as forwarded in an email from R. Tuvia Natkin as downloaded from //TorahDownloads.com (The identity of the one who took these notes on the speech is unknown.)

[Rabbi Avraham Schorr (the son of the late Rav Gedalia Schorr, former Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas), is a prominent Rabbi in the Flatbush district of Brooklyn, NY and a much sought after speaker among Orthodox Jewish communities.]



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