Weekly Inspiration

Light and Gladness, Joy and Honor!
March 2nd, 2023
Light and Gladness, Joy and Honor!

How exactly did Hashem speak to the noviim? How did Avraham Avinu hear Hashem’s voice? What did it sound like? Or maybe it was not audible. 

Moshe Rabbeinu saw a burning bush, but how did Hashem’s voice reach Moshe? Hashem identified Himself, but how did the voice sound to Moshe? Was it audible? 

In Megilas Esther there is no mention of Hashem, but the flow of events makes His Presence absolutely clear. Purim is the quintessential holiday of golus, in that Hashem’s Presence is completely hidden … but at the same time completely clear. 

I heard a fascinating shiur from Rabbi Motti Neuburger about the mishkan: how the aron represents the written Torah and the menorah represents the oral Torah. The aron is remote; no one basically is allowed in the kodshei kodashim. The oral Torah is immutable. 

But the menorah is accessible, and the kohanim would tend to it every day. The oral Torah is in our hands, accessible. It brings the Written Torah close to us so we know how to live it. Through the oral Law, we mold our conduct to fit the law of Hashem. This is the Torah we bring with us into golus in order to survive. 

There is a possuk which really speaks to me. “The heavens declare the glory of G-d and the expanse of the sky tells of His handiwork.  … There is no speech and there are no words; their sound is unheard [but the extent of Hashem’s work] goes forth throughout the world and [His] words reach the farthest ends of the land ….” (Tehillim 19)

We look at this magnificent world, from the ant beneath the earth to the expanse of the Milky Way, and we see in everything the incomparable power of Hashem. But no sound is heard. Although the planets make no sound and the galaxies are silent, they are all guided by an invisible hand and an invisible will. 

The Presence of Hashem is in every atom of the universe and yet He is hidden in the most profound way. This is what Megilas Esther brings out, an existence in which Hashem is totally hidden but totally there! 

When I wrote From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul, I saw the magnificent tapestry which Hashem had created for me. On any one day, at any one second, I perhaps did not see the Presence of Hashem, but when I put on paper the entire sequence of events that constituted my life, the beautiful pattern in which Hashem had supported me at every step and given me everything I needed, it all became clear. Even when I was full of anguish, I saw how vital that anguish was because – through it – I cried out to Hashem and that is how I finally found him. The anguish saved me! I went through every lifestyle I could think of, and then, at the exact moment when there was nowhere left for me to search … at that second Hashem introduced me and my wife to Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, who opened the door to Torah. Then light flooded out the darkness. 

That, my friends, is the story of life. Minute by minute it may look dark, but If we look back over the puzzle of life we will see that each piece fits precisely in its place. It becomes clear that Hashem is guiding us and holding our hand. There is no darkness; there is only light. As the Megillah says, “the Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor …” 

That is why we can say “Gam zu l’tova … even this is for the best” in every situation. Hashem knows what He is doing. When someone dies, we say “Baruch dayan ha emes … G-d is the True Judge.” He sees from the perspective of eternity. 

There is a bracha in Shemoneh Esreh which appears simple, but I believe is actually complex. Concerning the Holiness of Hashem’s Name, it says, “You are holy and Your Name is holy?” What is the difference between Hashem and His Name? 

What is this bracha telling us? 

I like to think about it this way: Hashem is like the written Torah, totally beyond us and immutable. But His Name is ours! It is on earth, like the oral Torah. We can make Him part of us! His Name is accessible! They say that the most important word in a bracha is “ata … You!” We can speak directly to Hashem! Can you imagine! What a gift! 

This is Purim! This is the Megillah!

Hashem may be invisible, but He is right here within every atom of space and every second of time. Dovid ha Melech tells us the formula to use when we are surrounded by evil forces: “B’shaim Hashem … with the Name of G-d I cut them down!” (Tehillim 118) The Name of 

G-d is our power! That is how we will bring Moshiach and usher in the Geulah Shelemah! That is how we will merit “light and gladness and joy and honor!”

May we see the complete Redemption soon in our days!


Aron: Holy Ark
Bracha: Blessing
Golus: Exile
Kodshei Kadoshim: Holy of Holies, the innermost part of the Holy Temple
Noviim: Prophets (Singular: Novi)
Possuk: Sentence in the Torah
Shemoneh Esreh: Standing prayer said at least three times every day


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