Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Four Parshiyos: What's The Connection?

Various seforim try to understand the connection between the four parshiyos that we read this time of year. I would like to offer the following mehalach that I had previously developed.

Haman Buys The Jews

The Yalkut writes that Haman came to Achashveirosh with an offer of 10,000-kikar kesef in order to kill the Jews. The Yalkut explains that Haman wanted to buy the Jews from Achashveirosh and the 10,000-kikar kesef represented the value of 600,000 Jews. (The Maharal (Ohr Chadosh) and the Chizkuni (Parshas Pekudei) give two different explanations how this adds up). What does it mean that Haman wanted to buy the Jews? What was he trying to accomplish. We know that the B'nei Yisroel are not limited by the laws of nature. This is the meaning behind "ain mazal l'Yisroel". Perhaps we can say that Haman wanted to show that the B’nei Yisroel are bound by the laws of nature. To be bound by nature means you can be quantified. If you can be quantified, then that means you can be bought. I can’t buy something that transcends time and space, since there is no way to put a price tag on it. If I can price an object that means the object is limited. Haman’s intention was to show that B’nei Yisroel fall under the rules of nature and are bound by the mazalos. However, the gemara in Megilla says that HKBH responded to Haman's plan by stating “k’var hikdimu shekalim l’shkalav”. The B’nei Yisroel had already given shekalim thru the machatzis hashekel and this was enough to overturn Haman’s plan. What is the meaning behind this?

The Meaning Of The Machatzis HaShekel

One of the purposes of bringing the shekalim was so that Klal Yisroel would not be counted directly. The reason for this is because when you count an object, you are giving that object limitations. You are saying this object is quantifiable and is constrained by the laws of nature. If Klal Yisroel would be counted, that would in effect be saying that Klal Yisrael is limited. This would go against the very essence of what Klal Yisroel is about. What HKBH was telling Haman was that the B’nei Yisroel already showed they transcend time and space by the fact that they are not counted directly, but rather through the shekalim. The shekalim represent the idea that B’nei Yisroel are above the mazalos and nothing Haman can do will change that. Haman’s shekalim won’t work to limit the B’nei Yisroel since they have already shown through their own shekalim that they are l’ma’alah min hateva.

The Link Between The Four Parshiyos

We can now begin to explain the connection between the daled parshiyos. First we read parshas shekalim. As we explained the shekalim represent the idea that B’nei Yisroel can’t be counted and are above time and space. This is the koach that gives us the ability to defeat Haman and Amaleik. This is why immediately after parshas shekalim we read parshas zachor. Once we have the koach of being above teva (shekalim) we can defeat Amaleik (zachor). Finally the last two parshiyos we read are parshas para and parshas hachodesh. Within the bechina of being l’maaleh min hateva, there are two ways that this idea shows itself. One way is in how HKBH acts towards us by saving us when b’derech hateva we should be destroyed. There is no rhyme or reason why we should be here other than the fact that we defy natural law. This derech is represented by parshas para. The para aduma is a chok whose laws make no sense. The fact that the one who makes others tahor becomes tamai defies logic. Why should this be so? The answer is that the para aduma is a chok and above the rules of nature. The second way in which the concept of “ain mazal l’Yisroel” is apparent is in the way we can control the laws of nature. Parshas Hachodesh begins with a commandment that the sanhedrin has to sanctify the new month. Chazal tell us that even if the sanhedrin makes a mistake regarding wich day is Rosh Chodesh, , the month sill starts based on the psak of the sanhedrin. We see from here that as a nation we have the ability to change nature to the extent that we can even go against nature in determining when the month begins. Both parshas para and parshas hachodesh represent the idea of "ain mazal l'Yisroel" and therefore they are read after parshas shekalim and parshas zachor.

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