PurimBurst, 1989 / 5749
Sarah Yehudit Schneider

Based on a teaching by Rav Yitzchok Ginsburgh

The question of WHAT TO BE ON PURIM is not just for children![1] It is the secret of conscious determination–the power of vision to define reality.

Modern science teaches that the world exists as a pattern of possibilities, all of which are equally real (though not equally probable)… until one actually “happens.”  In that moment, when one leaps into actualization, the others dissolve and that option emerges as the root, out of which a whole other network of possibilities arise.  This new pattern is similar to the first, but with different options relating to its unique set of circumstances.

Casting lots (purim)[2] is one way of “forcing reality’s hand”–of pulling an option into the world and making it the real one.  While this method acknowledges the basic truth of reality’s uncertainty, it is unconscious determination, for its method of selection is passive.  The secret of Purim is to raise the truth of uncertainty to its highest level, and use faith to create the future by letting its vision shape the unfolding pattern of life’s possibilities.  This is conscious determination and it develops through four levels: Faith, Will, Vision, and Realization.

  • The first step is to strengthen and clarify faith. The tool for this work is meditation.  One ponders the fact that HaShem (so-to-speak) “craves” the perfection of His creation,[3] a condition that will be experienced by us as a pleasure surpassing all earthly delights.  The goal of this meditation is to know that nothing can prevent HaShem from accomplishing His Will, and that His success is our pleasure.
  • When faith clarifies it prompts a desire for the perfection that it knows will be. A weak will signals a weakness of faith.
  • This desire then stimulates the mind to envision the future–to imagine the experiential details of the realization of one’s perfection and life’s truth.
  • Finally, the outer eyes bear witness that Faith has born its fruit. The vision has now become real.  It could not be otherwise.  Faith and will are the most potent forces in the universe, as the Talmud says, “Nothing can stand in the face of Will.”

On Purim (the day of lots) a Jew is allowed (even encouraged) to weight the dice — to manipulate the probabilities by deciding, WHAT YOU WANT TO BE.  You can be what you want…and in the end you will become whatever you decide to be.

A Related Chassidic Tale

On Purim, the “Spola Grandfather” (a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov) would organize a special game.  Certain chassidim, carefully chosen and directed by him, would disguise themselves, one as the “King of Purim,” the others as his princes and counselors.  They would sit together in solemn session, in counsel or in judgment, discussing weighty matters, all the time making resolutions and decisions. Sometimes the “Grandfather” himself took part in the masquerade.

The chassidim say that these games had a powerful effect on the world with repercussions throughout the heavens.  They say that these Purim edicts were potent to avert doom or the threat of doom decreed for Israel.

[1] There is a custom to dress up in costumes on Purim, See Eliyahu Kitov, Book of Our Heritage, II: 90.

[2] Purim (the name of this holiday) means literally lots.

[3] Midrash Tanchama, Nasso 7:1.  “The purpose of the creation of this world is that the Holy One desired to have an abode in the lower worlds.”


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