Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles
The Shivelei Pinchas notes that the essence of Purim is found in one extra letter in the Megilah, “Layehudim l’abdam,” “to destroy the Jews”, which is spelled with an extra yud. Haman’s goal was to take away our “pintele Yid”-the aspect of holiness within us that is eternal. That deep spark came to the fore when Mordechai told Hasach “Parshat hakesef,”-the story of the king’s money. Kesef from the root word kisufim-yearning, hints at a Jew’s deepest longing which is to connect with Hashem. This is what Haman wanted to destroy. As a descendant of Amalek, the paragon of evil, he understood that for holiness to be decimated completely, it must be uprooted at its core.
Purim is about focusing in on our inner souls. “Nichnas yayin yatza sod.”-When wine goes in, secrets are revealed. In this state, our externals are stripped and we can see what really matters to us. Is our essential being one of wanting to do Hashem’s will or do we find our enjoyment in the outside world? What brings us happiness? What is our focus? What speaks to us? The sin of the Jews was that they took pleasure in the feast. They found joy in a realm outside Torah. Purim is tapping into the Oneness of Hashem, it is rededicating ourselves to Torah and to becoming ovdei Hashem. The Pachad Yitzchak points out that Purim is like Yom Kippur. However while Yom Kippur is connected with remorse, Purim is not. On Yom Kippur we tell Hashem, “Sin is not my true essence, I will repent. On Purim we proclaim, “This is me, under all the outer trappings I am one with Hashem.”
Happiness is a critical factor in Judaism. Therefore it is prominently highlighted on Purim. People who look for happiness from an external source, will find their simcha limited. Happiness needs to be connected to something internal. Love leads to simcha. Knowledge and understanding enhances love. Therefore to acquire self-love, we must know clearly who we are. In this way we can come to love Hashem. Ahavat Hashem will then lead to profound happiness. There is no greater simcha than recognizing that we are children of the King. Each of us has a unique relationship with Hashem made up of our individual life situation, trials, and challenges. Purim is the climax when we ask ourselves, “Do I feel a personal bond with Hashem?” Purim is experiencing the joy of kabalat haTorah, the marriage with Hashem, the fact that He tailor designs everything in our lives to help us reach our purpose. Our challenge on Purim is to experience a day of tremendous physical enjoyment and direct that joy to the most essential joy of Kiymu v’kiblu. There is no greater happiness than being a Jew.
The Netivot Sholom notes that when the king asks Esther, Mah bakashaseich, “What is your request”, it is really Hashem questioning us, “What is it you need to be more successful in serving Me?” Purim is a day when the heavenly vaults are open. We can ask Hashem for the gift to be a better eved Hashem. Taanit Esther is a time to introspect, a time to focus on what is really important in our lives. Once we have that perspective, we can then proceed to the simcha of Purim with the realization that we are the beloved children of Hashem. May all our prayers be answered l’tova.