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How to Read the Newspaper & the Websites

Learning from the Megillah how to Understand World Events. A Wild King Throws a Feast for 187 Days, But What Does It Got To Do with the Jewish Mission?

35 min

Class Summary:

In a book famous for its conciseness, the story of Esther stands apart as one of the most detailed and intriguing in the entire Torah. It reads like a novel, filled with suspense, mystery and drama, where events in the opening of the narrative are understood only at its conclusion. The story opens with an unexplained, outrageous and over extravagant affair, thrown by a party-animal of a king, and slowly develops into a breathtaking rollercoaster of sinister plots, unlikely heroes, hilarious ironies, and ultimately, inspiring salvation. The book of Esther, in so many ways, charts the cycle of Jewish history in Diaspora, and provides direction and answers to many contemporary questions.

This class will analyze a Talmudic debate regarding how much of the story we must read on Purim in order to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing Megillah, and the verdict, that we must read the entire book. Why would there be a religious obligation to listen on Purim to the story of a Persian King’s feast? Of how he executed his queen? These are interesting historical stories, but why the obligation to listen to them on Purim? Why is it that we fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the Megillah only if we learn of the detailed designs at the King’s 187-day party?

The class explains how the Megillah teaches us to view world-events. The story of Purim is not that G-d saves the Jews from annihilation. It is a much deeper story: that the lavish feast of a mighty King is part of a vast plan that leads to the objective of existence. The Megilah teaches us about the role of a Jew in a vast universe.

Please leave your comment below!

  • הח

    הרב חיים -13 years ago

    א גרויסן ישר כח
    רק לאחרונה גיליתי אוצר זה.
    ומאז נעשה שימוש רב ביותר.
    בשיעור, בדרשה, ובחברותא

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  • KT

    Kayo, Tokyo -13 years ago

    Hospitalization lead to the great revelation
    Baruch HaShem

    I was hospitalized to a psychiatric hospital. I am in the process of rehabilitation. However, because of this, I have been able to study at The.Yeshiva.net for 2 years and it has been a great salvation. Beehi Bimi Achashverosh... I do not know what meritorious thing I ever had to receive this gift from Above.

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  • KT

    Kayo, Tokyo -13 years ago

    Schizo let to a Chassidus
    Baruch HaShem

    I am a Japanese planning to convert in Israel. 21 years ago, I went the United State to study in a college. I wanted to study at a University in Japan, but Japanese entrance exams for universities were very difficult and I chose to go to the US. In California, I date with a Jewish boyfriend. He was Jewish, but secular. However, I became schizophrenia, needed to come back to Japan and left the boyfriend. If I did not become schizophrenia, I would have stayed with the boyfriend because of the very Egotistic thinking I had that time. If I stayed with him without the illness, I think my life as well as his life would be much difficult than now. Since then, I had the influence of the ex Jewish boyfriend when I looked at Judaism. However, 12 years later, I met Chabad. Now 21 years later, I study Chassidus at the Yeshiva.net and Chabad.org, and Beis Chabad Japan learning what is true Yiddish Kait is. Thanks to the English I learned in the US, it is very easy to understand the classes. I am sure that He sent me to the US to study English so that I can learn Yiddish Kait easily as I do today. I still have schizophrenia, but I believe this was necessary to counter my strong Ego. And even with it, I still choose a life to be a Chasid.

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  • SSB

    Sarah Szajnbrum Bohadana -13 years ago

    B"H

    So moving,so brilliant,so clever!

    Thank you!

    Kol tuv!

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  • S

    Sholom -13 years ago

    thanks
    Brilliant. Thank you.

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  • M

    Marvin -13 years ago

    missed opportunity
    hello Rabbi,
    there is a missed opportunity here. the egyptians, inspired by a handful of tech savvy individuals on facebook with laptops, started a revolution. they wanted democracy for thier own people. the demonstations were not anti american, not anti israel. why not take a moment to celebrate, and encourage others to the same? this is a historic moment.

    israel's existence is always in question, as you know. one can look at any of her borders to see the potential of wrong doing. yet, at this time, the will of the people of egypt has overturned a dictator. this will inspire others to do the same in the middle east, and around the world.

    regarding assimilation:
    bob dylan and serge gainsborgh both changed their Jewish last names and became the most important songwriters of their countries. what's interesting is one may assimilate without knowing. or without question.
    example: Jews who are orthodox dress in a particular way based on a dress code. moses, king solomon and king david did not wear three piece suits, oversize hats and had long beards. if they did, i don't know about it. it's fine with me, but i don't feel someone has a closer line to God because of this assimilated dress code. one may not only try to fit in the secular world through assimilation, but to the religious world as well.

    thank you for your attention.

    blessings,
    marvin etzioni

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  • YY

    Y Yaffee -13 years ago

    The Best Advice
    Regarding the importance and protection of getting a letter in sefer
    torah for every Jew the rebbe quoted this pasuk from the nevuah of the Keitz in Daniel 12:1 וּבָעֵת
    הַהִיא יִמָּלֵט עַמְּךָ, כָּל-הַנִּמְצָא כָּתוּב בַּסֵּפֶר The context of
    the pesukim 11:40-12:3 is describing what is happening now in the middle east and the world

    The rebbe says really a whole farbrengen should be made about this!! The
    Rebbe said despite it being an eis Tzara for the world and the Jews we
    should not be afraid because hashem does not sleep and malach michole is our
    defender in the heavenly court but we should work to ensure that everyone
    has a letter in the sefer torah!(hisvadyus shabbas mikeitz chanukah 5742 vol 2 pg 622)
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/...


    some of the meforshim identify the protaganists this way
    King of North=Christian world (democracy etc) King of South =Islamic World. Mitzrayim= Egypt. Lubim =Libyan. Kush=Africa (Sudan etc.) east and west =Iran and Iraq eretz hatzvi =israel edom moav head of the children of amon =Jordan
    the pesukim daniel 11:42-12:
    מ ובעת קץ, יתנגח עמו מלך הנגב, וישתער עליו מלך הצפון ברכב ובפרשים, ובאניות רבות; ובא בארצות, ושטף ועבר. מא ובא בארץ הצבי, ורבות יכשלו; ואלה, ימלטו מידו--אדום ומואב, וראשית בני עמון. מב וישלח ידו, בארצות; וארץ מצרים, לא תהיה לפליטה. מג ומשל, במכמני הזהב והכסף, ובכל, חמדות מצרים--ולבים וכשים, במצעדיו. מד ושמעות יבהלהו, ממזרח ומצפון; ויצא בחמא גדלה, להשמיד ולהחרים רבים. מה ויטע אהלי אפדנו, בין ימים להר-צבי-קדש; ובא, עד-קצו, ואין עוזר, לו.
    א ובעת ההיא יעמד מיכאל השר הגדול, העמד על-בני עמך, והיתה עת צרה, אשר לא-נהיתה מהיות גוי עד העת ההיא; ובעת ההיא ימלט עמך, כל-הנמצא כתוב בספר. ב ורבים, מישני אדמת-עפר יקיצו; אלה לחיי עולם, ואלה לחרפות לדראון עולם. {ס}
    ג והמשכלים--יזהרו, כזהר הרקיע; ומצדיקי, הרבים, ככוכבים, לעולם ועד. {פ}

    41. And he will come into the land of beauty, and many will stumble,
    and these will escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the choice of the
    children of Ammon. מא.
    42. And he will stretch forth his hand upon lands, and the land of
    Egypt will not survive. מב.
    43. And he will rule over the treasures of the gold and silver and
    over all the precious things of Egypt, and the Lybians and the Cushites will
    be at his steps. מג.
    44. And tidings will terrify him from the east and from the north, and
    he will go forth in great wrath to destroy and to exterminate many. מד.
    45. And he will pitch his palatial tents between the seas and the
    beautiful holy mountain, and he will come to his end, and no one will help
    him.
    1. Now at that time, Michael, the great prince, who stands over
    the children of your people, will be silent, and it will be a time of
    distress that never was since a nation existed until that time, and at that
    time, your people will escape, everyone who is found inscribed in the book.
    א.
    2. And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken-these
    for eternal life, and those for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence. ב.
    3. And the wise will shine like the brightness of the sky, and
    those who bring the multitudes to righteousness like the stars forever and
    ever.

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  • C

    CL -13 years ago

    i loved
    Loved the article. I can just hear you talking. Just heard u at cheder dinner in LA.

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  • A

    asher -13 years ago

    nice
    nice article thanks alot.

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  • N

    Nicholas -13 years ago

    thanks
    good stuff, thanks Rabbi!

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  • CK

    Choni Kihleel -13 years ago

    Why was Shabtai Tzvi historically so vilified?
    We have a concept well established in the Talmud that a "Shoteh" (an insane person) is not responsible for his behavior. So why was Shabtai Tzvi historically so vilified? It seems to me that it would be like vilifying a person committed to an insane asylum for not observing the Torah.

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  • C

    chava -13 years ago

    Shabsai Tzi 3 Audio
    At www.baisshmuel.com the audio for the third Shabsai Tzvi class by Yossi Jacobson can be listened to.

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • C

    Chana -13 years ago

    The good thing was that it showed how much the Jewish people wanted Moshiah. If only we had such widespread enthusiasm now, Moshiah would come. Amein.

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  • M

    menachem -13 years ago

    Great Series -- Eagerly Awaiting 3rd part
    This series is great. I can't wait for the 3rd part to come out.

    Rabbi Paltiel has a complimentary shiur on the roots of the Chassidic Misnagdic conflict on The Torah Learning Project:
    http://www.torahlp.com/audi...

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  • WIT3P

    WHEN IS THE 3 part?! -14 years ago

    WHEN IS THE 3 part?!
    WHEN IS THE 3 part?!

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  • Y

    Yona -14 years ago

    I'm very curious about the third part, how Chassidus brought the Jewish people to a place they are protected from this kind of phenomenon.

    When do you think to publish it?

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  • S

    Shimon -14 years ago

    What is the message
    Dear R. Jacobson,

    Your lectures generally impress me in their content and even more so in their power to inspire me to act positively. This set of classes has impressive content, but the message confuses me. I don't find the detailed description of this horrific event very inspirational. What are we supposed to get out of this? Maybe this will become clear in the third installment. I am particularly curious what good end justifies the long horrific description in these first two classes. May we merit to see revealed G-d's infinite light that will transform even these events as the Rebbe zts'l describes in the discourse קץ שם לחושך

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  • C

    Chaim -14 years ago

    MP3 soon?

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  • M

    mp3 -14 years ago

    mp3
    I drive a lot and I would love to listen to ore than the 1 weekly lecture mp3 posted, could the audios also go up as a mp3?

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  • S

    Suri -14 years ago

    We can't get enough
    Thank you again for this second lesson. My boys went to bed early so they could listen to this. I am so grateful that my sons can hear a great lesson from a speaker that keeps them captivated. May Hashem give you the strength to continue your holy work.

    I am looking forward for this to be put on MP3.

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  • M

    mp3 -14 years ago

    mp3
    will you be putting up an mp3 for this and the prior class

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  • AG

    Avrohom Gershon -15 years ago

    How to read a newspaper
    Thank you for the shiur. It had a profound message. However, (and probably I am missing something) but now that I know that everything going on in the world is for the Jews, it's still mostly hindsight. How indeed should we read the newspaper? Are we able to see today in the news how it is good for the Jews? Like the present meltdown of the economy. It is clearly supernatural, and we have to have emunah, but should we be reading the newspaper every day like we're doing Chitas because it's G-d at work? In 1840 did any Jew cheer at the end of the opium war? Should we be reading the newspaper at all?

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  • LC

    Lazer Calderon -15 years ago

    Great message but there is more to the story
    I truly enjoyed your shiur and I wanted to add a thought I heard this week from Rabbi Yitchok Berkowitz consistent with your theme. The purim story actually started earlier and ended later. It started with the initial reconstruction of the 2nd Beis Hamikdash. The construction halted when antisemites told the King of Persia that a 2nd Beis Hamikdash would be bad for bad for Persia. In order to start construction again, these anti semites had to go. But how and why should an antisemite like Achasveroch want to get rid of them. So we have the Purim story with all of its twists and turns and now how to avoid a decree to anihilate the Jews, Chas V'shalom but to issue a new decree to get rid of the anti-semites. Now, no decree against the Jews and more, no opposition to building the 2nd Beis haMikdash. Add to this the Medrash that Esther had a son with Achaverosh named Daryvish who permitted the construction continued and we see that the entire Purim story had an second purpose, the construction of the 2nd Beis HaMikdash. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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  • A

    Anonymous -15 years ago

    Thank you for the passionate delivery. Funny that for so many years I had a struggle with this Esther story… especially the assimilation part; not addressing the intermarriage aspect, the reasoning behind it and behind the lack of not addressing it, and moreover the way we all need to hear it, celebrate it and in a way glorify it every year. I guess it’s just a small part of the big picture. In truth, the Purim story is about the existence and the importance of Interdependency in our world.
    How fundamental it is for our understanding that it's not only about our own existence but also about others, it is about the importance of otherness and therefore how to relate and behave towards it.
    “If we see dependent relationship, no ignorance will arise. Therefore, with a great deal of effort, we should try to realize dependent relationship” (“Treatise of four hundred verses”).
    Maybe I got the message totally wrong but what I got out of your class just reinforced my deep belief that especially us Jews, we must not only recognize the importance of the “otherness” and the “global story” as an essential part of this world’s purpose, G-d’s wish and creation , but as a result of this recognition we must accept and respect each and every element of this world that’s “external” in our eyes to our own lives, traditions, religion and so on. Because after all it’s all “one holistic universe”.

    What I do think wasn’t expressed (and again, maybe I just didn’t hear/understand that part, and it was expressed and therefore my apologies) is that although on one hand the Purim story demonstrate the “for us the world was created,” so we could fulfill our mission and G-d’s wish and this should eliminate any inferiority complexes or feelings of isolation within us, the massage doesn’t stop there. We must also express respect and acknowledgment of the importance of “the global story” -- all the other elements this world composed of, in order to avoid developing superiority complex within us which will lead to separation, hatred, anti-Semitism and so on. The Purim story should be a humbling one and not stop at the “ feeling important” ego soothing part. Again I am a great believer in the “You are, therefore I am” -- symbiotic relationships. Recognizing the interdependency will eliminate ignorance and promote harmony in the world.

    You know what, now that I’m thinking about it, we Jews have an unbelievable responsibility to demonstrate this concept and teach the world respect & acceptance despite what we are, where we’re from and what we believe in. That after all we are all one, from the same source, made by the same creator and the bottom line is that it’s a One Holistic Universe. We might have different “Jobs” on this earth, but we are all interdependent. ( I would even go further to say, that this demonstrate that we are all equally important! After all what importance Ester have if not for the existence of Achsverosh.)

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  • B

    boruch -15 years ago

    this is a beautiful idea

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  • Y

    Yitzchak -15 years ago

    To Mr. Estrin
    I once heard that Leibel Estrin had a conversation with the Lubavitcher Rebbe about the theme of this class -- accepting the idea that all of existance is for the Jewish people. Is this the same Leibel like the one writing above? If yes, Leibel please tell us the story.

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  • LE

    Leibel Estrin -15 years ago

    the relevance to the past
    Yasher koach on the sicha. May you go from strength to strength!

    What is also fascinating is how the story of Purim is connected to and directly affects events that happened thousands of years before Purim! According to the Sde Chemed (and others, the entire episode of Esther is to "repair" the error committed by Adam and Chava (Eve)! Consider the following:

    A. First of all, the story of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge revolves and evolves around food and clothes. In essence, Adam and Chava eat forbidden food and must wear special clothes.

    B. Thematically, the story of Purim revolves and evolves around forbidden food and clothes. (Achashveiros feast) and clothes (Mordechi dresses in sackcloth and then later the King's garments--which could correspond to the Midrash that says that G-d made garments for Adam and Chava.)

    Then the process of repair starts:

    A. Chava is convinced by the snake to do something.
    B. Esther must convince Achashvairos to do something.

    A. The snake "convinced" Chava to eat and she and Adam ate.
    B. Esther fasts, and tells Mordechai to fast, and they and all Jews fast.

    A. Chava was responsible for the future of the Jewish people.
    B. Esther was responsible for the future of the people, because they all lived in under her husband's rule.

    A. Where do we find Haman mentioned in the Torah?
    B. Hashem asks Chava and Adam did you eat from HaMin HaEitz -

    A. Aitz is the same gematria as Memuchan.

    I am sure that there are many other similarities.

    Leibel

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  • A

    Avigayil -15 years ago

    Question
    How do I explain the Rashi you quote בראשית בשביל התורה ובשביל ישראל שנקראו ראשית
    to a secular person?

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  • A

    Avrohom -15 years ago

    Wow. Yasher Koach.

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  • B

    Ber -15 years ago

    Amazing
    Wow! This is an amazing shuir. Absolutely great. Special thank you to David and Eda.

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  • Y

    Yitzchak -15 years ago

    To Joseph
    Yes but even deeper: that the Jew must understand that G-d's system is that He has a vast world "running" all for the individual event of Purim. So when the Jew sees the vastness of the world and politics, they ought not to feel isolated, lonely and out of "touch" with reality, as he\she must know that G-d rules the world in this fashion -- decades in advance He is setting in motion an entire series of events resulting in a single moment of salvation.

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  • M

    Miri -15 years ago

    Great way to start Purim.
    zeyer shein! Thank you Rabbi Jacobson.

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  • J

    Joseph -15 years ago

    Please explain
    Did I understand the class correctly, that the novel idea of the Megillah is that even the non-Jewish stories are part of a Jewish story? That the party of the king and the story of Vashti is indespensible to the Purim miracle, and thus the Jew ought to understand that the whole world and all of the world events were created for him to serve G-d?

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  • E

    Elki -15 years ago

    Thank you.
    I'm still in the throes of the shiur, but I want to express gratitude first to David & Eda Schottenstein for sponsoring this wonderful experience and a speedy recovery to James E. Philips. And,of course, Rabbi Jacobson, because of your class I participated in a Purim farbrengen.

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  • I

    Isaac -15 years ago

    Inspiring
    A very powerful and moving message. I was wondering about all of the details of the Vashti story in the Book of Esther. But now the lesson is clear: The Megillah is teaching us that all of the seemingly disconnected events in the world, events which seem completely alien to Jews and Torah -- yet upon deeper reflection, they are all part of the Purim story. The feast of Achasverosh is also a Jewish story, in its true essence.

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  • J

    joe -15 years ago

    Thank you for the wonderful shiur
    a freilichen purim

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Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • March 9, 2009
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  • 13 Adar 5769
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  • 2179 views

Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein In the loving memory ofAlta Shula Swerdlov And in honor of the birth of their daughter Yetta Alta Shula, "Aliyah" Schottenstein

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