A Taste of Torah – Vayikra/Zachor

Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman

All for One and One for All

As we approach the holiday of Purim, we can sense in the air a feeling of camaraderie and friendship that this holiday teaches us. The acts of giving Shaloch Manos (giving gifts to people) and taking care of the poor are designed to create a feeling of Achdus (unity) among us. Yet, we find a puzzling Halacha (law) related to the observance of this holiday.

The Talmud (oral law) in tractate Megillah states that one reads the Megillah on different dates depending on one’s location. Most of us celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar. However, individuals who live in a walled city celebrate Purim on the 15th and in some cases, the Talmud tells us at different times in history there were people who even read the Megillah on the 11th, 12th, or 13th of Adar. It makes one wonder why a holiday that represents Achdus does not have everyone celebrating the holiday at the same time.

Rabbi Zev Leff, (the Rav of Moshav Mattityahu and Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva Gedolah Mattityahu) a renowned lecturer and educator, explains the true understanding of being a unified people. Achdus does not mean that everyone does the same thing at the same time. Rather, Achdus means that I am happy for you with what you are doing, and you, in turn, are happy for me with what I am doing.  Achdus is respecting each other’s differences and appreciating people for whom they truly are. We are all created in the image of G-d and have something to contribute to society. Thank G-d, we are fortunate to live in a wonderful unified community. Let us all strengthen our respect and admiration for our fellow Jews. We must transmit this message to our children, and G-d willing, we will merit the ultimate reward of the final redemption and rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh (Temple) in our times.