I hope everyone is doing well and that you purim hachanos are well underway both preparing for the physical mitzvot of the day, and well as the proper mental preparations that must be made.
Reb Shlomo Carlebach tells an amazing story about Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin, that I would like to share . Known as Der Heiliger Ruzhiner , he was known to conduct his court with a real sense of Malchus to it. This amongst his great wisdom and torah insight, attracted thousands of Chasidim, making Ruzhin the largest and most influential dynasty in the southwest.This did not sit well with Tsar Nicolas I of Russia, who was said to be jealous of the Rebbe's wealth and influence. He particularly did not like it when word got back to him, that when the Rebbi came to town all the Jewish people would come out and greet the Rebbi with candles, song and dance. Turning each visit into huge spectacle and celebration. Therefore having felt very threatened by the power of the Rebbi he imprisoned him for nearly two years. In the end the chassidim were able to get the Rebbi out of jail and he fled to Austria.
Anyway, says Rav Shlomo, when the Rebbi was in jail on Purim he said the following amazing words, and cried out this amazing heartfelt teffillah from the depths of his soul. He said "Rebbono Shel Olam, I so badly want to give you mishloach manos, I want to give mishloach manos to every Jew. But there are no Jews around me. Therefore the only one I can give mishloach manos to, is you Hashem. But what do I have to give you. Hear I am alone in a jail cell with nothing. Therefore Hashem all I can offer you as mishloach manos are my tears, and all the tears of every Jew, as mishloach manos this year. But Hashem ,now you have to give me mishloach manos in return. And I pray to you, that we make a trade. I will give you all the tears from down hear, from all your children down here on earth, and in return you give me and all of klal yisroel, all the simcha in the world from above. And the Rebbi ends his tefillah with the words " WE HAD ENOUGH TEARS HASHEM, PLEASE GIVE US SIMCHA FROM ABOVE".
My sweetest friends, we all know that this has been a challenging year for for many of us. Each of us, has had to deal with challenges that have have pushed us, drained us, and really effected us in ways we may not have been challenged before. Each of us, in our own personal way. But more then that. It has been what seems like a tough year for klal yisroel as a whole. Unfortunately many situations have come up in our personal and communal lives that have forced us to reevaluate where we stand on many positions, and take a good hard look at our lives and ask , what are our priorities. Where are we focusing our energies and strengths, and what are we trying to achieve in this world.
As Purim is quickly approaching, and we are preparing our mishloach manos, getting ready to celebrate a holiday filled with complete joy and bliss, lets try together, to just stop for one second if we can. Lets stop, reflect, and use the teffilah of the Heliger Ruzhiner. Lets look back at all that has been going on in our own lives and in the greater world around us and say Hashem lets make a trade. Hashem being that Purim is the holiday of vinahapochu, where things can be flipped in a second, from bad to good, from sadness to joy, from darkness to light, lets trade. From Now on we give you our tears. From now on, we pour out of hearts to you, all the pain, all the tears, all the sadness, because we know we have no one else to rely on for salvation but you. Because we know that you bring the ultimate salvation. And in return, we ask for happiness. We ask for redemption. In return we ask for revach ,vihatzalah, refuah, yeshua, love, sweetness, and happiness, for all of klal yisroel.
We have a rule "Whoever stretches out their hand on Purim should be given tzedakah" (Talmud Yerushalmi, Megilah 1,4). The Baal Shem Tov says one should get up early Purim morning and say many prayers and entreaties before Hashem for anything he or his relatives need, because the day is a very special time and all the “worlds” are happy and biratzon, and whoever sticks out his hand we give”. This refers to those collecting money, though here it refers to us sticking our hand out to Hashem asking for His help. Remember my friends, Emunah is not just a saying or a feeling, Its a way of life.
May Hashem bless us that we should be able to live a life filled with it. Wishing you and all of klal yisroel nothing but happiness this amazing day, and hope to share some sweet torah's, niggunim, and yom tov joy with with all of you.
GUT PURIM GUT PURIM