Purim: Where All Extremes Meet

The Rebbe: “Haman can be transformed into a positive influence greater than Mordechai”

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The utmost joy of Purim came after severely challenging times. Haman’s downfall was followed by Mordechai’s rise. No wonder that Purim is associated with a level of transcendence so high that there is no difference between “Cursed is Haman” and “Blessed be Mordechai”. The toughest times (‘Haman’) can be transformed into a positive influence – even greater than ‘Mordechai’, because haShem is always here, running the world for our benefit.

From the Rebbe’s explanations:

– Purim represents a great process of transformation, demonstrating how even within the period of exile, great miracles can transpire on behalf of the Jews. Furthermore, Purim is associated with a level of transcendence so high that there is no difference between “Cursed is Haman” and “Blessed be Mordechai,” implying that Haman can be transformed into a positive influence greater than Mordechai.

« A person should drink on Purim until the point where he can’t tell the difference between « Blessed is Mordechai » and « Cursed is Haman ». (Talmud – Megillah 7b; Code of Jewish Law 695:2)

The latter concept is reflected in the fact that the Hebrew phrase meaning “Cursed is Haman” begins with an ‘Alef’, the first letter of the Alef-beis. The Hebrew phrase meaning, “Blessed be Mordechai,” by contrast, begins with a ‘Beis’, the second letter.

This brings us back to the narrative of the Creation. The Torah itself begins with a ‘Beis’, the first letter of the word bereishis. A ‘beis’ represents perfection within the natural order.

The ‘Alef’, by contrast, represents a state of perfection which is above the natural order.

(And since ‘Alef’ is the first of the letters of the Alef-beis, it also endows all the other letters with a dimension of this unlimited quality).

Thus “cursed is Haman,” reflects a descent for the purpose of ascent. From Haman, a drastic descent, we ascend to a great peak, an infinite level above that of “Blessed be Mordechai.”

The ultimate expression of these concepts will be revealed with the coming of Mashiach. Indeed, a similar process of drastic ascent will be seen in regard to Mashiach himself as reflected in the verse:

“… From behind the nursing ewes He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people and Israel His heritage.” (Psalms 78:71)

Based on the Rebbe’s talk on the Eve of Shushan Purim Katan, 5752 (1992). Free translation.

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