Torah, Avodah & Mikrah Megillah

unnamed (3)This week’s parsha, Parshas Tetzaveh, is replete with details and commands related to the fashioning of the priestly garments, which were worn by the kohanim when they served in the Sanctuary, as a symbol of honor and glory (Ex.28:2).

One of the garments worn by the Kohen Gadol was the מְעִיל, the robe, woven entirely of turquoise-colored wool.  Hanging from the hem of the robe were seventy-two golden bells and seventy-two woven pomegranates, alternating with one another.  When Aharon entered to serve in the Sanctuary the sound of the bells would be heard, וְנִשְׁמַע קוֹלוֹ (Ex.28:35), as they would be heard when he went out.

The Ba’al HaTurim (ibid) teaches that the word וְנִשְׁמַע appears three times in Tanach.  (I) Here in our verse  וְהָיָה עַל-אַהֲרֹן, לְשָׁרֵת; וְנִשְׁמַע קוֹלוֹ בְּבֹאוֹ אֶל-הַקֹּדֶש, It will be upon Aharon to serve, and its sound shall be heard when he enters the Sanctuary; (II) (In the narrative of the giving of the Torah, the pasuk says) וַיֹּאמְרוּ, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר הַ’ נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע, And the people said, all that Hashem has said, we will do and we will (hear) listen (Ex.24:7); (III) And in Esther 1:20, the verse says: וְנִשְׁמַע פִּתְגָם הַמֶּלֶךְ …כִּי רַבָּה הִיא, Then the king’s decree will be heard…for it is great.

Notes the Ba’al HaTurim: This reflects the teaching of Chazal (Megillah 3b) – If there is a conflict between the reading of Megillas Esther and the study of Torah, the reading of Megillas Esther takes precedence; between the reading of Megillas Esther and the Temple service, the reading of Megillas Esther takes precedence.

Accordingly, the Ba’al HaTurim notes that this teaching is reflected in these three verses: The verse, “Everything that Hashem has said, we will do and we will listen” refers to Torah study; while the verse, “Its sound shall be heard” refers to the Temple service.  Yet, even then, “The king’s decree” – i.e.: the reading of the Megillah – “will be heard…for it is great” – וְנִשְׁמַע פִּתְגָם הַמֶּלֶךְ …כִּי רַבָּה הִיא – which implies that Mikrah Megillah is greater than, and takes precedence over, both Torah study and Temple service.

As we prepare to read of the attack of Amalek this Shabos, and to celebrate the holiday of Purim, let us all – from young to old, from infants to women – appreciate the beauty, importance and message of the Scroll of Esther.  The message that Divine salvation can come in the blink of an eye; the message that what you see is not always what you get; the message that though our enemies desire to slay us, we will always, ultimately, triumph.

כַּיָּמִים, אֲשֶׁר-נָחוּ בָהֶם הַיְּהוּדִים מֵאֹיְבֵיהֶם, וְהַחֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר נֶהְפַּךְ לָהֶם מִיָּגוֹן לְשִׂמְחָה, וּמֵאֵבֶל לְיוֹם טוֹב; לַעֲשׂוֹת אוֹתָם, יְמֵי מִשְׁתֶּה וְשִׂמְחָה – As the days when the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month that was overturned for them from sorrow to joy, from mourning to Yom Tov; to do these days as ones of feasting and rejoicing (Esther 9:22).

May we merit Hashem’s revealed salvation, as did the Jews of Shushan so long ago, as our collective pain turns from sorrow to joy, from mourning to gladness, amen v’amen.

Wishing you all a good Shabos,
Michal

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