Blessed and Cursed
Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer
On Purim, it is taught, one should become so intoxicated that one cannot tell the
difference between “blessed is Mordecai” and “cursed is Haman.” Our tradition hasexplained this dictum in many ways.
Some take it literally. They drink so much on Purim that they become “dead drunk;”
they pass out, become unconscious, and, even if not quite unconscious, in their stupor theycannot tell the difference between “blessed is Mordecai” and “cursed is Haman.” This is thelevel of the World of Assiyah
, the World of Action, the level of doing
, the body level.
Some examine it in the light of gematria
, numerology. The Hebrew expression
, blessed is Mordecai) has a gematria (letter by letter) of 2 +200 + 6 + 20 + 40 + 200 + 4 + 20 + 10 = 502. The expression 0/% 9&9!
,cursed is Haman) has a gematria of 1 + 200 + 6 + 200 + 5 + 40 + 50 = 502. The Kabbalistictradition teaches us that two words or two expressions which have the same gematria are,on some level and in some way, equivalent. By gematria
, then, there is no differencebetween “blessed is Mordecai” and “cursed is Haman.” This is higher than the level of doing
;this is the World of Yetzirah
, the World of Formation, the level of knowing
, the mind level.
Then there are those – in the East, we would call this the discipline of bhakti
devotion – who are so wholly G*d-intoxicated that they are conscious of nothing but G*d.
G*d is infinite, and this world – the spiritual as much as the physical – is finite, and so thereis no difference, from a Cosmic perspective, between the best of us and the worst of us;compared to the Infinite, the small and the vast are equally tiny. To the G*d-intoxicated,there really is no difference between “blessed is Mordecai” and “cursed is Haman.” This isa still higher level; this is the World of B’riyah
, the World of Creation, the level of feeling
, theheart level.
The Baal Shem Tov, however, proposes a higher level still. Beyond getting so drunk
that we cannot tell the difference, beyond the gematrial
analysis that reveals their essentialidentity, beyond even the G*d-intoxication that transcends all differences and distinctions,the Baal Shem Tov tells us to learn, from Haman’s diligence, his beautiful one-pointedconcentration, his single-minded devotion, to perform enthusiastically the will of Mordecai.
And this is the World of Atzilut
, the World of Emanation, the level of being
, the soul level, thehighest level of all.
May we soon come to experience the joy of Purim on every level.
Blessed and Cursed Copyright 2004 Rabbi Zev- Hayyim Feyer
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