The Zohar tells us that Yom Kippur, the most spiritual day of the year, is really, Yom k’Purim, which means “a day like Purim.” (Tikunei Zohar 21: 57b)
The essence of this connection is that the two days are actually similar. On both days, a Jew can experience spiritual elevation and closeness to G-d, and on both days there is a tremendous potential for t’shuvah. What can be obtained on Yom Kippur by fasting, praying, and abstaining from the physical world, can be obtained on Purim, though at a higher level, by serving G-d b’simchah within the physical world.
Chazal explain that the difference between the days of the Persian exile and Matan Torah is that by Har Sinai, Hashem held a figurative mountain over our heads, forcing us into acceptance. By Purim, however, we willingly and wholeheartedly accepted the Torah, with love and simchah.
When the Jews left Mitzrayim, they were surrounded by open miracles. Not only did they witness the Ten Plagues and the Splitting of the Sea, but they had the Clouds of Glory, the manna, and Miriam’s well. Hashem was with them and showering them with open expressions of Divine Love.
When the Jews accepted the Torah at Har Sinai, Chazal tell us that Hashem held a mountain over their heads. The Gemara offers many interpretations of what exactly that mountain was. One is that they were showered with such an intense expression of Divine Love that they couldn’t refuse. But regardless, the point is that there was such a strong over-powering revelation of Hashem that we basically had no choice but to accept the Torah.
By the Persian exile, there weren’t any open miracles, no manna, nor Clouds of Glory. In fact, it seemed as if Hashem had abandoned them. They were steeped in yei’ush, and it was this very yei’ush that led to their going to Achashveirosh’s feast.
When Esther HaMalkah called the Jews together for the fast, a miracle happened – a miracle so big that the open revelations at K’rias Yom Suf and Har Sinai paled in comparison.
Instead of falling further into their depression, all the Jewish people as one – men, women, and children, young and old – strengthened themselves. They reaffirmed their emunah in Hashem even though His Presence was hidden, and even though they were not surrounded by miraculous events. Most importantly, they did this from a place of simchah.
We know that Hashem runs His world midah k’neged midah, measure for measure. Purim is a day of simchah because the Jews were b’simchah, doing t’shuvah, praying for mercy, and fasting at a time when all seemed lost and hopeless. It’s for this that they were rewarded. Simchah is an inner light and peace, a sense of clarity, and connection to truth. It is knowledge of Hashem that penetrated the heart. For this reason, we can be crying, begging Hashem for mercy, and still be b’simchah, because our tears and petitions are only an expression of our emunah that everything Hashem does is for the good, that Hashem is listening to our requests, that He will give us exactly what we need, and that Hashem has infinite ways to bring a y’shuah – one that can come in a instant.
When we are b’simchah, the whole world could seem to be crashing down around us, turned on its head, and hopeless. Storms could be raging, but we don’t budge. We are not moved from the truth we know in our hearts, nor from our connection to Hashem. Instead, we see every experience as an opportunity to grow spiritually, gain clarity and wisdom, and ultimately come closer to Hashem.
May we all be zocheh to feel Hashem’s closeness, to know that everything – even the most difficult, hopeless situations – can be turned around, and to reach a level of true inner simchah. And of course, may we merit to see the coming of Mashiach, bimheirah b’yameinu!
(Material was previously published on www.ShiratMiriam.com.)
List of People Who Need a R’fuah Sh’leimah
(a complete recovery)
Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.
Rachamim ben Sa’eda Mazal
Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah
Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel
Chaim ben Malkah
Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel
Rav Shmuel Zalman ben Chanah
Yerachmiel Daniel ben Tovah Basha
Rafael Moshe Yehuda ben Feiga Necha
Chaim Meir Binyamin ben Chanah Sarah
Pinchas ben Feiga Dinah
David Israel ben Rivkah
Tzvi ben Miriam Rachel
Yitzchak Mordechai ben Rose Nizha
Refael Avraham ben Ivonne
Moshe ben Chasyah Hadassah
Meshulam David ben Alta Hendel
Yisachar Dov ben Chayah Brachah
Yosef ben Basyah
Yeshayahu Yosef ben Zari
Nissan ben Shoshanah
Chayah Sarah Brachah bas Miriam Shifrah
Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel
Esther Hadassah bas Devorah
Shirah bas Devorah Leah
Adinah Aidel bas Sheina Mindel
Tinokes bas Adinah Aidel
Malkah bas Allegre
Yehudis bas Rivkah
Ruchamah Rinah Basyah bas Shifrah Rus
Tehilah Hadassah bas Elanah
Mazal bas Malkah
Malkah bas Nechamah
Miriam bas Rachel
Tziporah Stellah bas Shirin
Miriam bas Rachel
Tziporah Yeta bas Yehudis
Rachel bas Hindah Raizel
Efrat Tehilah bas Nina
Tinokes bas Efrat Tehilah