This Shabbos we announce the coming of the month of Adar. The Gemara (Taanis 29a) says that when Adar enters we should increase our simcha (happiness). A simple explanation for this rule is that we should be happier as we recall the great salvation Klal Yisrael experienced this month in the days of Mordechai and Esther.
However, Rashi (on ibid.) explains that we should be happy because Purim and Pesach were days of miracles. Rashi does not mention “salvation,” only “miracles.” This is perplexing. One would think that the salvation alone would be reason to rejoice, even if it occurred in a completely unmiraculous fashion.
Yet, if we are happy due to the salvation, why would the Gemara obligate us to increase our joy at the beginning of the month as opposed to the day of the salvation itself, Purim? Perhaps this problem is what motivated Rashi to explain the Gemara in a different light.
According to the opening line of the famous song Shoshanas Yaakov, Klal Yisrael was extremely happy when they saw “techeiles Mordechai.” What is “techeiles Mordechai”?
In the sixth perek of the Megillah, we read that Haman was ordered, in a reversal of his own intentions, to dress Mordechai in royalty and parade him around Shushan on the royal horse pronouncing, “So shall be done to the one whom the king wishes to honor.” The pasuk following the description of this event states that Mordechai returned to the “shaar ha’ir – the city gate.” Rashi explains that Mordechai put his sackcloth back on. The prominent horse ride was not a salvation. Klal Yisrael remained in grave danger; the decree had not yet been rescinded.
The “techeiles Mordechai” that we refer to in Shoshanas Yaakov which caused Klal Yisrael to be extremely happy was the royal attire Mordechai wore during this illustrious parade. Why were his clothing reason for Klal Yisrael to rejoice if the decree was still in place? The author of Shoshanas Yaakov should have stated that they were happy as a result of the ultimate salvation, not the honor Mordechai received during a parade.
To answer this question, let us ask one more. The beracha of Al Hatzadikkim in Shemoneh Esrei ends with the words: “mish’an u’mivtach l’tzadikkim.” What is the meaning of the word “mish’an”? In Siddur HaGra, the Vilna Gaon explains that before Hashem sends a salvation He sends a mish’an, a support, enabling us to strengthen our bitachon. The Gaon explains that with regard to the salvation from Haman, Hashem first showed Klal Yisrael a mish’an by parading Mordechai around in the streets in royal garb on the king’s horse. Hashem wished to send Klal Yisrael a message that He was with them and that they should strengthen their emunah and bitachon in Him and be mekabel the Torah.
The Vilna Gaon continues and says that the same sequence of events will occur before the final redemption as well. Hashem will send a mish’an to strengthen our bitachon in Him before the final redemption actually occurs.
Why does Hashem do this? Why is this necessary?
Hashem’s boundless kindness, which knows no limits, wants us to merit the salvations that we desperately need. Therefore, He sends a mish’an which can build our bitachon, enabling us to be zocheh to the kiyum of His promises.
This is the simcha that Shoshanas Yaakov depicts Klal Yisrael having when they saw Mordechai being paraded around the city by Haman. They understood that it was a sign from Hashem that He was with them and that He would save them from the decree hanging over them. In the story of the Megillah, the mish’an achieved its purpose and Klal Yisrael strengthened their bitachon.
Has Hashem already sent us our mish’an? Is it possible that we are missing it? Over the last 70 years, our nation has experienced a tremendous uplifting, both in ruchniyus and gashmiyus. And more recently, the current administration has displayed a more than amicable relationship towards the Jewish people and Israel. One has to wonder if these don’t constitute the mish’an, which should strengthen our emunah in preparation for the pending redemption.
Shoshanas Yaakov continues: “v’sikvasam bechol dor vador” – we must keep this emunah in each generation. On Purim we remember this emunah, which makes us joyous. May we continue to experience the simcha of emunah and witness the ultimate redemption. Amen.