Women On Purim [#6109]

Question:

1) What is a woman’s avodah on Purim? What specific points should a women focus on Purim?

2) And what should a woman on Purim focus on especially if it’s difficult for a woman to feel the holiness of Purim, when it seems that only the men can be happy on Purim, because only the men become drunk and they say Divrei Torah, and the women feel left out from all of this? How can a woman truly feel on Purim that “The miracle of Purim came about through women”, and “In the merit of the righteous women the Jewish people are redeemed”? How can a woman become connected to Queen Esther on Purim?

3) And especially if a woman is afraid for her husband and children on Purim – which is the case for many women on Purim, who unfortunately don’t enjoy Purim and they wish for it to be over already, so everyone can return to normal again…in such situations, how can a woman be happy on Purim, in spite of all the chaos around her?

Answer:

There are a lot of aspects to Purim. The halachah of intoxication applies only to men, and the parameters of this halachah is explained by the Poskim. But there are many other aspects of Purim as well which apply to both men and women. Here are some of those points to think about, and each person should try to do them on his or her own level, according to his or her personal capabilities – and not based on any reasons influenced by factors that are either social, or emotional, or family-based, because there are many times where people act based solely on “what’s normal”, and this uproots any serenity and joy that they could have on Purim.

1) Consider the aspect of reading the Megillah on Purim. Both men and women are obligated to hear the Megillah on Purim. And on a more inner level, both men and women can reflect on the events in the Megillah and see how there was Divine Providence laced throughout this story, because the word “Megillas Esther” means to “reveal” the “hidden”, to turn the concealment (hester) into giluy (revelation of Hashem’s Divine Providence). A person can go through all of the details in the Purim story, from beginning until end, and he can see how it was all an unfolding process of Hashem’s Divine Providence – as opposed to a bunch of random details that have no connection to each other.

On an even deeper level, each person, whether man or woman, on his or her own level, can see Hashem’s inner mode of conduct hidden in the Creation, as explained in sefer Daas Tevunos, and how every event in the world can be seen through the lens of Hashem’s carefully planned Divine Providence, His goodness, and the revelation of His Oneness.

2) Consider the mitzvah of sending Mishloach Manos on Purim. The purpose of this mitzvah is to increase love and friendship. On the obligatory level, everyone is obligated to send two portions of food to someone. On an inner level, one should also think about whom he will make happy by giving Mishloach Manos to. Then one should think, “What can I put into this Mishloach Manos package which will make the other person happy? What would that person really enjoy?” One should put thought into how much Mishloach Manos to send, what the quality of it should be like, how nice it should look, and what kind of nice messages he can send with it. Everyone should do this only according to her personal capabilities, and not to over-do it.

Even more so, when giving the Mishloach Manos, it should not just be an act of giving motivated by logic alone, but it should be given from the depth of one’s heart, with love and joy, to make the other person happy.

Included in this aspect (gladdening other people on Purim) is to make the children happy, with costumes and the like. But again, one should do this only within her actual capabilities, and only if she can do it with joy.

3) Consider also the mitzvah to give Matanos L’Evyonim (gifts to the poor) on Purim. One should look for a person who needs it the most, and who would be the happiest to receive it – and one should strive to give Matanos L’Evyonim specifically to this kind of person. A woman usually needs to ask her husband about whom she may give Matanos L’Evyonim to, mainly so that her husband should agree with her decision.

4) Regarding the seudah of Purim, try to serve good food to each person who is dining by you, fitted to each person’s particular tastes. The main point of the seudah on Purim is to think about and discuss Purim-related matters and what Purim is all about, and to stay away from words that disparage people, which only awaken the most impure forces in one’s soul.

5) The purpose of the day of Purim is to reach a deep place in one’s soul that is above one’s daas (logical reasoning and understanding). For men, whose main mitzvah is to learn Torah, their main work on this world is to develop the power of their logic throughout the year, by studying Torah. That is why men need the intoxicating effects of wine (or the dulling effect of sleep) in order to “nullify” their logical understanding and reach a place that goes beyond logical understanding. However, women, who are exempt from Torah study, are therefore closer to the concept of nullifying their understanding and to more easily reach a place that goes beyond logical understanding. This is the point known as temimus (non-intellectual simplicity or earnestness).

Thus the main avodah of the day of Purim is, “Be wholesome with Hashem your G-d”, to walk with Him in temimus (simplicity), without any intellectual thinking. It is about sensing His unlimited love for us, just as the people in the time of Achashveirosh re-accepted the Torah out of their great love of Hashem that they saw through the miracles of Purim. It is about feeling how He always give to us, out of His great love for us, by saving us from trouble, and by bestowing good upon us. From this understanding, we can come to feel the sweetness and pleasantness of being close to Him. This is the root of true simchah on Purim, because by feeling close to Hashem a person feels physically lighter, in the body in general and specifically in the feet, and that is why one can easily sing and dance on Purim – just as by the song of Miriam.

And that is why the miracles on Purim happened precisely through women [Esther]. It is because women are closer to this temimus (simplicity and earnestness). Men need to drink as a means to reach this place of temimus, whereas women are closer to reaching it, without the means of drinking. It only requires a little bit of reflecting and calm silence, and to enter into the deepest place of one’s soul – each person on her own level.