Purim is one of those days that’s over before you know it. All the weeks of preparation culminate in a day full of excitement and joy. We all make sure to fulfill the various mitzvos of the day, but there is one aspect that many miss: the opportunity to turn to Hashem and pour out their hearts in prayer. The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. Siman 694:3) tells us that on Purim, “Kol haposhet yad nosnim lo – we must give tzedakah to whoever stretches out his hand.” The seforim say that the same is true, to a certain extent, regarding Hashem. On this day He is very close to us and listens to all our requests. Why is Purim such a special day for tefillah?
Lihodea Shekol Kovecha Lo Yeivoshu
In Shoshanas Yaakov it says that we read the Megillah “Lehodea shekol kovecha lo yeivoshu, vilo yeikolmu lanetzach, kol hachosim boch – To make it known that all those who put their hope in You will not be embarrassed, and those who put their trust in You will not be disgraced eternally.” Where in the story of Purim do we see that it is worthwhile to put our trust in Hashem?
Furthermore, the Rambam (in his introduction to the listing of mitzvos based on the order of the Yad Hachazaka) seems to give a different reason for why we read the Megillah: “…in order to make it known to the future generations that it is true what He promised us in the Torah: ‘For who is a great nation that has G-d close to them like Hashem our G-d, whenever we call out to Him.’” In other words, we read the Megillah to publicize that Hashem listens to the prayers of our nation. Are these two separate reasons or one in the same?
Bitachon and Tefillah
When we think about the mitzvah of tefillah, there is an obvious question: It is clear that Hashem knows exactly what we need better than we ourselves know. So why do we have to ask Him for anything?
The Chazon Ish says that emunah, faith, means that a person knows clearly that Hashem created and runs the world. Bitachon, trust, means that the person actually lives according to that belief. It is not enough to have emunah, we have to live that way. That is where tefillah comes into the picture.
Let us observe our friend Yossi. Yossi knows that his livelihood comes solely from Hashem, but he also knows that one is required to do proper hishtadlus and take action to attain his livelihood. So he puts his Jewish brain to work and opens a business. His ingenuity and persistence pay off and his business begins to prosper. More branches, Internet sales, exporting, importing… he soon finds himself doing quite well. Slowly he forgets that he is just fulfilling an obligation of the Torah and starts to pat himself on the back. He forgets that parnassah really comes from Hashem, and that is the greatest tragedy. Hashem may need to remind Yossi that He is the true source of his livelihood – Yossi may experience a sudden loss or perhaps even poverty.
To prevent this type of scenario from happening, we are commanded to daven for all our needs on a daily basis. When we ask Hashem for livelihood in the blessing of bareich aleinu, it should come from the depths of our heart. How many people have suddenly lost their secure job? How many flourishing companies have gone bankrupt? The more we turn to Him for all our needs, the more we will remember that He is the source of our sustenance, and the more we will put our trust in Him. Living with the understanding that our jobs are just an avenue for Hashem to give to us will strengthen our bitachon.