When we speak about Esther, we immediately think about the story of Purim and how she was the main protagonist of the story. It was in her merit that the entire Jewish People was saved and so, she received the honor of having an entire book of Tanachin her name.
We all know the story of Purim, some people know more or less the main lessons, but very few know the Kabbalistic secrets that this festival and its heroine teach us. As it turns out, the sages say in MassechetMegillah that Purim is the only festival that will not be cancelled in the Olam HaBah (World to Come).
Let’s delve in it.
The Heights of Purim
On a simple sense, Purim is held as the highest of the festivals, because even Yom Kippur is interpretedby the sages in Hebrew to be Ki (like) Pur (=Purim), meaning it resembles it, but doesn’t reach its level. The Rash’ash (Rabbi Shalom Sharabi) based on the Zohar, teaches us that Purim has the energy of the Sephira of Netzach which not only means victory as we saw in the previous article, but also eternity. In this sense, when the entire Creation is elevated and all the lights of the other festivals are nullified, Purim remains forever.
The festival of Purim also has 2 tremendously high lights, which in Kabbalistic terms are called “YesodD’Chokhmah” and “Malkhut D’Binah”. Both these lights, which came from the 8th Millenium (for comparison, we are in the 6th Millenium, year 5782) according to the Kabbalist Shemen Sasson (R’ SassonParsiado) were vested in Mordechai and Esther accordingly, in order to bring about the great salvation. And, as we know, in Jewish thought, history is a cyclical running of events, which means these lights are available to us every year on the appointed time of Purim.
Drinking to convert evil to light
We’d be remiss not to write on the very strange Mitzvah of drinking until one cannot differentiate between “blessed is Mordechai” and “cursed is Haman”. In no other place in Jewish observance do we find that we need to get drunk. But herein lies the greatness of Purim and Esther.
In Sha’ar HaKavanot (Gate of Mystical Intentions), the Arizal writes that the way to perform the Berurim (sifting of the sparks), is by indeed getting drunk. When we are in that state, we can reach to the deepest levels, to the most impure klipot (husks) and extract from them their sparks. The way to know whether one is inebriated enough is by thinking (but not saying out loud) in a convoluted way (the opposite “blessed is Mordechai” and “cursed is Haman”). However we can only do that when these incredibly holy lights we spoke of are available, on Purim. It is well known also from the Kavanot (mystical intentions) that on this very special day all the gates of Heaven are open and the supremely elevated 50th Gate of Understanding and the lights of Keter (crown) are available to us.
What Esther teaches us
Esther was a tremendously holy woman, who could dress up in Ruach HaKodesh (holy spirit). All her moves were incredibly well calculated and based on divine inspiration. One would be excused for wondering whether she was really intimated with the evil king Achashverosh, who, as a top idolater of his time, also acted according to the Sitrah Achrah’s (the other side, evil) benefit.
However, in Etz Chaim, we learn from Rav Chaim Vital that Esther made use of a certain demoness in her shape to avoid being intimate with Achashverosh. For many many years since the beginning of the story of Purim, Esther used this demoness in order to avoid being polluted by him. We learn from this how Hashem protects the righteous and truly looks out for them.
The story of Esther teaches us many things, but perhaps the most important is how far a woman can go to protect the Jewish People, how much she can be rewarded and how Hashem truly values that.
Esther and Mordechai are currently buried in Iran, where the old kingdom of Persia was located. Unfortunately, we cannot go there yet, but there are many places inside of Israel where we can, like Binyamin, son of Yaakov, from whose tribe Esther and Mordechai descend from. May we derive inspiration from Esther and receive all the great blessings we can on Purim.