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Bending and Bowing

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 1/3/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

Bending and Bowing

Why did Binyomin merit to have the Beis Hamikdash in his portion?


We are taught that Mordechai is a גלגל, reincarnation, of Yaakov and Haman of Esav.[1] This is hinted to in that which it states by Yaakov and Esav,הצילני נא מיד...עשו, which contain the initials המן.[2] The Chida[3] explains this is what Yaakov requested from Hashem when he said הצילני נא מיד...עשו, now it is Esav but in the future when I am Mordechai it will be Haman, save me!


Since Yaakov bowed to Esav, Mordechai doesn’t bow to Haman as a rectification. Where did Mordechai get this strength from? He is a descendant from Binyomin.[4] Binyomin was the only one not born when Yaakov bowed to Esav.[5] As a result he wasn’t affected by Yaakov’s bowing. Therefore, Mordechai had the power to withstand and refrain from bowing to Haman.


  In light of what we mentioned we can grasp why the Beis Hamikdash is in the portion of Binyomin as it is the place of completely nullifying oneself to Hashem. Since Binyomin did not bow to Esav, he merited to have the portion of land where bowing takes place, the Beis Hamikdash. The Pasuk in the Megila teaches that it is called פורים ע"ש הפור because of the lottery, גרל.[6] Reversing these letters, we notice it spells רגל, foot, that which represents bowing, nullifying oneself.[7]


The following is some of that which we do on Purim which comes from what occurred when Yaakov received the Brachos:

1) How did Yaakov receive the Brachos? Through dressing like Esav. This is one of the reasons given as to why we wear a mask, costume, on Purim.

2) Just as receiving the Brachos was done through a meal, we too have Seudas Purim.[8]

3) Just as by the Brachos it says ויבא לו יין וישת, he drank wine, so too on Purim we drink wine.[9]

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Corresponding to what it says in the Megila והמן נופל על המטה, Haman had fallen onto the bed (Esther 7:8), it says by Yaakov ויתחזק ישראל וישב על המטה, Yaakov exerted himself and sat up on the bed (Breishis 48:2).

[2] Breishis 32:12. Also, Haman said וכל זה איננו שוה לי. Similarly, Esav said in regard to the Bechor, הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכרה, look, I will die, why do I need this birthright (Breishis 25:32).

[3] Pninai Hachida, Breishis 33:3.

[4] Esther 2:5. We know Esav, the ancestor of Haman, excelled in honoring his parents as Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel said no one honored his father more than him besides Esav (Devarim Rabba 1:15). So who is the one who brings about the miracle of Purim? Esther, the one who doesn’t have parents and therefore has no deficiency in כבוד אב ואם.

[5] It is because Yaakov bowed to Esav that throughout history we needed to ‘bow’ to the nations of the world in that we please them and the like.

[6] Esther 9:26, 24.

[7] Similarly, it is called שלש רגלים as we submit ourselves to Hashem by the Beis Hamikdash at that time.

[8] This is in contrast to Chanuka (see Mishna Brura 670:6). Breishis 27:19, 25.

[9] Breishis 27:25. Although most women don’t drink wine on Purim (as is the opinion of R’ Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg. see Shevet Halevi 10:18:2), there are those who say they should. But only a little, not a lot since that would be a disgrace as in Kesubos 65a (Chazon Ovadia, Purim, p. 176. Also see Orchos Rabbanu volume 3, p. 96, שו"ת רבבות אפרים, 4:173:10,53). Incidentally, if we add the Gematria of יין (70) toנקבה  (157) we arrive at a total which equals זכר (227). This symbolizes that if she drinks she becomes like a male in that she becomes an extrovert (see Kidushin 2b). This is contrary to the ideal way of a woman as in כל כבודה...פנחמה (see Tehillim 45:14).

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