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We are all familiar with chai, the Hebrew word for life. Chai has a numeric value of eighteen, which is why it is common for Jews to donate to charity in multiples of eighteen. The Talmud tells us that charity saves us from premature death.[1] When we donate in multiples …

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Home » Purim, Tetzaveh

Tetzaveh Purim: The Connection

Submitted by on February 27, 2006 – 3:11 amNo Comment | 827 views

The Jew and the Olive

The first verse of our Parsha reads, “And you (Moshe) shall instruct the children of Israel and they shall take olive oil to you.” Why must we take our olive oil to Moshe?

Olives are a metaphor for the Jewish people. In the words of our sages, just as oil is extracted when the olive is compressed so does the Jew reveal his oil when he is oppressed. Oil refers to the inner resolve of our Neshama (soul) that emerges in times of challenge.

The Wick and the Flame

However, oil alone cannot produce light, it requires a wick and a flame. The wick is the Jew and the flame is Torah. Moshe, as the source of Torah, is able to touch the flame to the oil and wick. This is why we, the wick, are instructed to bring our inner resolve, the oil, to Moshe, the source of Torah.

We are a stubborn nation. When our position is challenged we tend to cling tenaciously. We produce plenty of oil but without a flame the oil is useless. Our resolve must be inspired by Torah, our fight must be directed by Torah and our loyalty must be exclusively to Torah.

Purim

The story of Purim showcased this inner quality. Haman threatened to annihilate the Jewish people. Faced with this challenge the Jewish people revealed their oil. Mordechai gathered twenty-two thousand children and taught them Torah. They did not cry, they did not fight, they simply studied Torah. To be sure, Mordechai engaged in diplomatic efforts behind the scenes but he placed greater faith in his Torah study  than his diplomacy.

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