PurimBurst, 2001 / 5761
Sarah Yehudit Schneider
Inspired by R. Tsadok HaKohen (רסיסי לילה לב, נב)
And the king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won his grace and favor more than any of the other maidens; so that he set the royal crown (כתר מלכות) upon her head and made her queen…(Esther 2:17).
As the world nears its end of days, Israel (like Esther) prepares to inherit it’s own crown, its culminating glory, its messianic kingdom. And then, with quiet grace, it will assume its mystic role as queen to the holy King of kings.
As below so above. A child is born with a halo of soul-lights that can’t fit inside due to its state of immaturity. As the child grows, matures and wisens these soul lights gradually integrate into its personality. Eventually, in the course of its life, nearly all the lights that had previously surrounded the infant now fit inside and shine through the eyes of the venerable elder. The last lights to enter are those called crown. In the sefirotic scheme crown is the innermost root of the soul. When the crown (כתר) comes in, the kingdom (מלכות) of heaven finally dwells below (כתר מלכות). An embodied crown marks an enlightened soul.
Exactly so in the macrocosm. The entire Jewish people comprise a single entity called Knesset Yisrael, the Greater Community of Israel. Each individual is but a cell in this larger collective Adam. Knesset Yisrael was born when it crossed the Red Sea, and over the next 3,317 years it has grown, matured and hopefully wisened. Now as we approach the end of days our own crown of lights is soon to enter. This will bring an entirely new capacity of consciousness, called the messianic era, distinguished by a deeply integrated knowing that G-d is one and good and all there is, and that Israel is His bride.
- Tsadok explains that whenever a new awareness enters the nation of Israel, it stimulates a projection of contrary assertions among the nations. Their denials cast doubt on the original truth. Is it a heavenly revelation, or a delusion of grandeur?
Amalek (the archenemy of Israel) has the same numerical equivalent as ספק (doubt) for that, precisely, is his expertise. Inside each nation is a spark of Amalek that masterminds its psychic battle with Israel, its media blitz of lies and half-truths that cripple the brain’s ability to recognize truth. Thus, says R. Tsadok, the mind cannot defeat Amalek, only the heart with its mysterious capacity for knowing truths that cannot be proved. This is especially so in their final battle over the crown. Israel asserts that G-d chose them as proprietors of His Holy Land, Holy City, and Holy Mount. While any G-d serving citizen may dwell there, the people of Israel are its divinely designated heirs. The nations assert that G-d chose them as proprietors of these same holy environs, that they are its legal guardians. On the surface, both claims have equal merit. It’s one word against the other. Yet in truth, one is the crown princess, the other a pretender to the throne.
How does the real heiress prove her identity when an imposter has stolen her story? Not by words, for whatever she says the usurper claims the same. Not with guns, for everyone knows that might does not make right. Not with a vote, for the issue is truth, not popular opinion.
The strategy is simple, says R. Tsadok, for lies are a surface phenomenon. They only prosper in regions far from the core of Infinite Light. Amalek keeps the crowd enthralled, their eyes glued to the surface where appearances rule and there’s no way to tell a mask from a face.
The difference between truth and lie can only be seen by looking in, away from the surface, to the heart (Shmot 3:3,4). And it takes a heart to know a heart. And even more, to know when there is no heart. Truth has a root that draws its light from the central core of Infinite Light and that is its heart. Lies, says the Talmud, are “towers floating in air.” They are not plugged into the core. They have false roots, which means they have no heart.
And so, says R. Tsadok, Amalek crumbles before a knowing heart. Truth yearns to be seen and even scrutinized, for that is what sets it free. A lie, when fathomed disintegrates, for as soon as awareness hits layers deeper than its false root, it ceases.
As long as the battlefront stays on the surface, with words and claims and counterclaims; as long as the task is to prove to others the truth of her appeal, the princess cannot win. But as soon as she shifts her focus inward, tracing her truth to its root and planting her feet firmly there, the princess cannot lose. Amalek has no defense against a knowing heart. He cannot fight where he does not exist.
Knowing is an active force in the universe. It alters the landscape of energies and events in exact proportion to its depth of integration. Yet, knowing is only thus potent if it is absolutely impervious to external censure. It must be completely self-referenced, looking only to G-d and Torah for its validation.
On Purim the lights of knowing beyond knowing (עד דלא ידע…) shine from the crown and stream through the world. Let them fill your mind and heart and even the spaces between the molecules of your being with the deeply integrated knowing that YOU ARE A CELL IN THE COLLECTIVE COMMUNITY OF ISRAEL, A DIVINELY APPOINTED GUARDIAN OF THE HOLY LAND, A CROWN PRINCESS TO THE KING OF KINGS, A SPARK OF THE SHEKHINAH HERSELF. Dance, kiss the ground, shout, thank the Lord; there is no greater blessing than this. May the strength and joy born from this knowing “find grace in the King’s eyes. May he set the royal crown (כתר מלכות) upon [our] head and make [us] queen.”