Purim’s light actually comes from the 8th millenia
Chazal teach us that all the Jewish festivals will be nullified, save for the holiday of Purim.
This is extremely difficult to understand. How can it be that Purim, which is a chag (festival) that was decreed by the Sages and prophets, should be higher, spiritually, than all the festivals that were decreed in the Torah?
There are a few different answers to this question, which really get to the depth of what’s going on. In a book called Sefer HaDaat that was written by the Baal HaLeshem, he tells us a wondrous thing:
It’s known that the time of geula, of redemption, is often referred to as the ‘seven thousandth’, or the time of the seventh millennia.
But the Baal HaLeshem tells us that the light of Purim comes from the eighth millennia.
The way the world is run is going to change
The whole point of the Purim story, and of Megillat Esther, practically, revolves around the end of one era, and the beginning of another, new one. The whole situation with Mordechai and Esther, and Haman and Achashverosh, occurred towards the very end of the Babylonian exile.
Haman was hung in the Hebrew year 3405, and five years later they started work to rebuild the Second Temple. So practically speaking, there was a huge change in Am Yisrael’s circumstances at the very end of the Babylonian exile.
Let’s take a brief look at what happened:
When the Second Temple was rebuilt, the whole way the world was being governed changed spiritually changed. The people who were responsible for this huge change, and who set it in motion, were the Anshei Knesset HaGadolah¸or Men of the Great Assembly.
The moment they nullified the inclination to worship idols, they actually changed the whole order of the world, and the way it was being governed spiritually.
Up until that point, there was prophecy and Divine revelation. But when the Men of the Great Assembly got rid of the desire to worship idols, they also ended up nullifying the ability for Am Yisrael to receive prophecy. And so a new era began, which was called the epoch of the Oral Torah, which started to reveal the wisdom hidden within the Oral Torah.
If you look closely, you’ll find that the Oral Torah that we possess today, which includes Mishnayot, the Gemara, the Midrashim, the holy Zohar and the Baraisas, all this only came about from the period of the Second Temple, and on.
We don’t have any Oral Torah from the time of the First Temple.
Of course, Am Yisrael were still learning the Oral Torah then, but not in the same way that they started learning it after the Second Temple was rebuilt. And all of this came about because prophecy was cancelled out, which meant that the whole way the world was being run changed, and the era of chochma, or wisdom, began.
The test of Amalek
The whole story of Mordechai and Esther takes place in this intermediary time, when one era was being replaced by the next. The holy books tell us an important rule related to this matter, namely: Every time that Am Yisrael needs to enter a completely new spiritual reality, before that can happen they have to undergo a big test and process of clarification at the hands of Amalek.
Amalek always shows up before these big spiritual changes take place.
The first time that happened was before the giving of the Torah – ‘and Amalek came’. The second time occurred during the war between King Shaul and Agag, the Amalekite king, which set the stage for the revelation of two very big spiritual changes:
Firstly, shortly afterwards we got the Davidic monarchy, the eternal kingship of Am Yisrael, and then the first temple was built in Jerusalem. The third time the nation had to undergo a trial and clarification process at the hands of Amalek is described in the Megilla, and this describes the period of time directly before when the Second Temple was rebuilt.
A new era for Am Yisrael
The fourth and last time this test occurs is happening right now. It began back in the days of the Shoah, when the Nazis (yismach shemam) proved themselves to be ‘pure’ Amalekites – but straight after the holocaust, another new era began for Am Yisrael.
Today, the clarification process we have to endure vis-à-vis the klipa (evil husk) of Amalek is internal. It’s all the trials and difficulties we are experiencing because of our lusts and desires, and with our bad middot (character traits), like getting involved in machloket (controversies and disagreements), or by getting angry, or by harboring harsh judgments against other people.
We all really hope that we are now in the final few moments of this test and clarification process, but nevertheless,
it’s precisely this that is preparing us for geula, and for the re-building of the Third Temple.
Translated from Rav Ofer Erez’s writings in the Ohr HaDaat newsletter, #117.