A Lesson on Purim from the writings of Reb Noson


We are going to discuss a lesson about Purim found in the writings of Reb Noson.

One of the main focuses of the lesson is called “Klipas Haman Amalek”. Literally translated this refers to the “husks” of Haman and Amalek. In our context this is the joint negative, spiritual force of Haman and Amalek. Haman is the Rasha or evil person who tried to annihilate the Jewish people during the rule of King Achashverosh. It is said that he descended from the evil nation of Amalek who attacked the Jewish people while they were travelling through the desert.

Reb Noson explains that this spiritual force was actually the culprit for trying to cause the destruction of the Jewish people. Many times a Jew is trying to pray and this force attacks him telling him, don’t bother praying, you prayed so many times already and G-d didn’t listen to you. Why bother? Or one may think that the situation is already beyond the realm of hope and that prayer cannot help at this point. Such thoughts turn a Jew away from praying. Because of the lack of prayer in the world, both the personal exile of this Jew and the state of exile of the Jewish nation as a whole become prolonged. This extended exile causes the Jew to despair even more and forget about putting strength into his prayers altogether.

This vicious cycle would never end if it were not for the Great Tzaddikim that Hashem sends us. They teach us that G-d loves and waits for us to pray. That even the smallest single prayer is heard and helps.

This theme can be seen throughout the story of Purim.

The Jewish people believed that they were going to be redeemed after 70 years. Many of the great Jews miscalculated the time of this redemption including Daniel the prophet. “Klipas Haman Amalek” used this to attack the Jews telling them, “You see your G-d does not listen to you anymore. He didn’t even bother redeeming you. Why pray to Him?” This is why Haman made himself into an idol and commanded everyone to bow down to him.

This is the power of Amalek throughout the generations. It says in the Torah “ Zachor es asher asah lecha amalek… asher karcha baderech”, “Remember that which Amalek did to you… that they met you on the way.”

Karcha can also be translated as cooled you on the way. They seek to cool us from our prayers.

However, G-d sent us Mordechai – Mori D’chayi, which can be translated as “a pleasant smell.” He refused to bow down to Haman. He told the Jews to fast and pray. He encouraged the Jews and taught us that G-d wants to hear from us, our prayers are pleasant smelling to Him. Perhaps we still need to pray more, but every prayer that was said, has been heard. Let us continue and strengthen ourselves in prayer and we will surely be redeemed and this terrible decree will be renounced.

Esther represents the Jewish People. She went down to the palace of Achashverosh, a place filled with idols and was taken under the spiritual influence of his evil reign. The Gemara says at this point her “Ruach Hakodesh” or Divine Inspiration left her. She screamed out “keyli keyli, lama azavtani – My G-d, my G-d, why have you abandoned me.” Even when we have involved ourselves in bad situations, and are surrounded by idols, we can always scream out and be saved.

Today we find ourselves in a similar predicament, both personally and as a nation. But we and our ancestors have screamed and screamed for thousands of years. Surely, if we will hold on only a little longer and scream just a bit more, we will also be redeemed.

A freylechen Purim

Yossi Katz
Breslov Research Institute
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