Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Why do we hide our face on Purim?

by Aharon Rubin at Mystical Paths

Why do we hide our faces on Purim?

Providence has arranged that Purim is 30 days before the 14th of Nissan, the day the Torah describes as the beginning of Pesach, the day we clear out all chomets. Halochoh states that 30 days before a festival, we start learning about that festival. Thus, the Chasidic Masters understood that the light of the festival starts 30 days beforehand.

The rabbis teach that chomets signifies the yetser hora, our 'shadow' side. The yetser hora is symbolised by Amolek. On a certain level, removing the chomets before Pesach is connected with the removal of evil before the revelation of G-d's Glory at the time of Moshiach.

(The words of the first mishnoh in Pesochim אור לארבעה עשר בודקין את החמץ לאור הנר - 'the night of the 14th we seek out leaven by the light of the lamp' is gematriah the first posuq in the parshah about the elimination of Amoleq: זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק - 'Remember that which Amoleq did to you'.)

Thus, 30 days beforehand, we are engaged with the wiping out of Amolek. The 3 main elements or characteristics of Amoleik are: cruelness, brazenness and stinginess. These stand in direct contrast to the 3 innate characteristics of Yisroel: merciful, shamefaced, giving kindnesses. Thus on Purim, we perform 3 mitsvoth, corresponding to these 3 traits:

We give food presents and alms to whoever asks (giving kindnesses) and we hear the Megiloh. The Megiloh (according to the kabbalah) is the element of Torah, which corresponds to mercifulness. 

What about the third trait - modest and shamefaced? This is a reason why we dress up, putting on masks, to hide our face - the opposite of brazen-faced. 

By engaging in these 3 traits, to be merciful, shame-faced and giving kindness, we eradicate any of the other 3 traits we may have: cruelty [to anything or anyone except wicked people], brazenness and stinginess. 

Through this, we wipe out Amolek.


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