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Purim: How the Final Redemption Will Play Out

The Talmud says Israel's redemption will come quickly, but stage after stage.

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Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Adar II 7 5782
translated by Hillel Fendel

The Sages teach that Israel's final Redemption will follow the path of the Purim redemption. King David's spirit of holiness (ruach hakodesh) inspired him to write Psalm 22 in connection with Purim. It begins with the words ayelet hashachar, referring to the rise of the morning star. Ayelet is like ayalah, a doe that jumps from place to place – and this is precisely how the Purim redemption developed: with jumps from one situation to another, from the danger of total destruction to a state of salvation and joy.

Just like the sun rises very gradually from within the darkness, so too Israel was redeemed with stops and starts from within the depths of the dark Exile to a great light of salvation and dawn. One might think that because there were no open miracles in the process, such as the Splitting of the Sea, perhaps Israel's salvation on Purim was simply a natural course of events, with no Divine providence. Therefore this Psalm comes to teach and remind us of the wondrous speed and purposeful direction – even though it did not appear that way at the time – in which the events of the Purim salvation took place, like a doe jumping from place to place.

When we read the Scroll of Esther, we see that everything happened fast: When Queen Esther requested to invite King Ahashverosh and Haman to a feast, the king ordered his servants to "rush Haman over here" (Esther 5,5). And then when Haman advised the king how to honor a favored servant – thinking it was himself – by having him ride on the royal horse and giving him other honors, the king said to him, "Quick, take the royal garb and horse as you said and do that honor for Mordechai the Jew" (5,10). Then, when Haman returned home, mourning over his humiliation, the king's servants came and "hurriedly brought Haman to the banquet prepared by Esther" (6,14). Everything happened hastily, showing that the G-d of Israel was the author of the events of redemption. From the depths of the darkness, with one big jump Israel went out to great light: "The Jews had light and happiness and joy and honor" (8,16).

The Jerusalem Talmud teaches:

R. Chiya Rabba and R. Shimon bar Chalafta were walking in the Arbel Valley before dawn, and they saw the first signs of the sun’s rays – the ayelet hashachar – beginning to appear on the horizon. R. Chiya turned to R. Shimon and said: “This depicts the Redemption of Israel: It begins little by little (kim'a kim'a), and then gets increasingly greater…"

And so it was in the beginning [of the Purim salvation]: "Mordechai was sitting in the king's gate" and then "Haman took the royal garb and the horse…" and then "Mordechai returned to the king's gate" and then "Mordechai returned to the king's gate" and then "Mordechai went out from the king with royal garb" and then "the Jews had light and joy…" (B’rachot 1,1)

The Maharal of Prague, in the introduction to his work on Purim on the Scroll of Esther entitled Ohr Chadash, explains that since the Redemption is from G-d, it does not happen all at once, but rather in stages – because it is impossible to rise up to the highest level of Redemption in one time. This is why the Sages likened it to a doe that advances by jumping quickly, one jump after another. The Redemption, too: Since it begins from Israel's lowest point in its Exile, and will ultimately reach the highest level, it must come gradually, and cannot happen all at once.

On the other hand, the jumps happen quickly, one after the other. This is how it was during the times of Mordechai and Esther: There were several stages, occurring consecutively and quickly. In fact, everything was reversed and the redemption was completed within one day! "It was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over their enemies" (9,1).

That is to say, based on these words of the Sages, and according with the Maharal's explanation, we learn that the future Redemption can also happen with dizzying speed, stage after stage.

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