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Why don´t we recite Hallel on Purim?

By: הרב רונן נויברט

"The students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai asked him: "Why did the Jews of the generation of Purim deserve to be placed under an edict of destruction?" He told them: "You know the answer." They told him....

 


Why don't we recite Hallel on Purim? - Rav Ronen Neuwirth


 


"The students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai asked him: "Why did the Jews of the generation of Purim deserve to be placed under an edict of destruction?" He told them: "You know the answer." They told him: "Because they went to enjoy the party of Ahasuerus" (Megilah 12a).  Indeed, had they eaten a non-kosher food at such a party, it would have been understood why is the punishment so severe. However, Chazal on the same Gemara, state that this feast was strictly kosher, as follows (Ibid.) : "והשתיה כדת אין אונס" - "And the drinking was according to the law; no one was forced".  What was this law? Said Rabbi Channan...the law of the Torah...."No one was forced" - said Rabbi Elazar: that teaches us that each and every one of them received wine of his own nation. " לעשות כרצון איש ואיש"  - "they each should do according to their own desire." Said Rabba: According to the desire of Mordechai and Haman...."  According to Chazal, the Jews participating this feast of Ahasuerus, ate only kosher food and drank Kosher wine exclusively. Even more so, Mordechai was the Mashgiach or Rav Hamachshir.  If that is the case, what was so wrong about the fact that they were participating the feast? After all, they didn't compromise on the Kashrut at all!!!


 


Rabbi Yosef Karo, in his mysterious book Magid Meisharim (Vayakhel), tries to resolve this problem. Certainly, everything was strictly kosher. Nevertheless, something was wrong - absolutely wrong. They enjoyed the food of this wicked (Ahasuerus) while dwelling outside of Eretz Yisrael, as Chazal maintain in the Midrash (Avoda Zara 8a): "R. Ishmael says: Israelites who reside outside Eretz Yisrael serve idols even though in pure innocence. If, for example, an idolater gives a banquet for his son and invites all the Jews in his town, then, even though they eat of their own and drink of their own and their own attendant waits on them, Scripture regards them as if they had eaten of the sacrifices to dead idols".


 


This sin of partaking this feast is the sin of getting used to the Galut (exile) and moreover, idealizing the Galut. Chazal indicate that on the same feast, Ahasuerus was using the vessels of Beit Hamikdash - "והשקות בכלי זהב וכלים מכלים שונים"- "And they gave them drink in vessels of gold-various  vessels." Those vessels were stolen from the Beit HaMikdash. But the Jews had no problem eating there, since it was kosher, strictly kosher. They had found a substitute for Beit Hamikdash and for Eretz Yisrael. They probably had many kosher restaurants, and we can assume that they had many fancy shuls, yet apparently they had forgotten that they were still in the Galut. Their primary citizenship and identity was Persian, and perhaps, they sang the Persian anthem with more כוונה  than their Jewish-Israeli anthem. They had become Jewish Persians instead of being proud Israeli-Jews!!!


 


This is precisely the reason why even after all the miracles which occurred on our behalf in the era of Esther and Mordechai, we did not merit to recite Hallel on Purim. The Gemara (Megillah 14a and Erachin 10b) discusses this issue and the conclusion of Chazal is that Hallel is not recited over miracles that took place outside Eretz Yisrael. Furthermore, the salvation then was not complete, since the Jews remained subjects of Ahasuerus. "אכתי עבדי אחשורוש אנן". Rashi explains that even though we were rescued from execution we weren't saved from the Galut. Although they were granted life, continued life in the Galut is not a good enough reason to recite Hallel. This is the tragedy of this deliverance. Even after the sins, the decrees and the salvation, the Jews did not internalize the message. Instead of taking advantage of the moment and returning to Eretz Yisrael, they preferred to dwell in this Galut with all the peace and prosperity they've found in Persia. This missing Hallel, however, will find its place ultimately in another festival of our salvation where we will be celebrating not only the deliverance from destruction but also the return to Eretz Yisrael - our Independence Day...       .