The gemarain Megillah (2a) discusses the scenarios of how the Megillah can beread on different days of the month, depending on where a person lives. Certain cities read it on the fourteenth,while others read it on the fifteenth. The deciding factor in the gemarais whether or not the city in which one lives in was a walled city from thedays of Yehoshua ben Nun or not. If it was then you read it onthe fifteenth and if not, on the fourteenth.
The Rishonimask a question. Why is the deciding factor of when we lein the Megillahdependent on whether the city was walled or not from the times of Yehoshuben Nun? If you were to tell me that it made a difference whetherthe city was walled from the times of Mordechai and Esther I wouldunderstand that. But why would Yehoshua play any significant role as towhen we lein the Megillah? What seems to be the connectionbetween Yehoshua and Purim?
Rishonim answer that Yehoshua was actuallythe first person that spearheaded the war against Amalek, as we know fromparshas Beshalach. Since the whole yom tov of Purim symbolizesthe eradication of Amalek, we wanted that this mechias Amalek shouldbe associated with Yehoshua. Meiri adds that it is for thisreason the name Yehoshua should always be associated with Amalek.
However,if we delve into this a bit further we can see that Hashem specificallyinstructed that Moshe tell Yehoshua to start the war. Why was it thatYehoshua was chosen to lead and wage war against Amalek?
Meshech Chochma(Ki savo) saysthat the gemara (Bava Basra 123b) states that ‘Amalek’sdownfall will only come through the descendants of Rochel.’ Says the Mechilta in parshas Beshalach‘let Amalek-which are kifuey tova (they fail to recognize the kindnessand good people do for them) come, and let them fight the nationwhich are kifuey tova’ (because we didn’t appreciate the Torah and whatHashem had done for us). Says R’ Meir Simcha, who was the personthat represented the ultimate middah of not bearing a grudge more thananyone else in the world? Yosef hatzadik. The pasuk testifies that Yosefpaid back his brothers ‘tova tachas ra’ah.’ He repaid them with kindnessrather than with revenge. Pshat is that the strength of hakaras hatov,and recognizing the good, is what is going to overpower Amalek fightingus. Yosef was the ultimate of such a person-one who is a maker tova-andit was for this reason that Yehoshua was specifically chosen, a descendantof Rochel. He was representingthe shevatim who represented hakaras hatov.
R’ ShloimeFisher addsthat this is why parshas Ki Seitzei ends with the story of Amalek,and why the first chapter in Ki Savo begins with Bikurim-hakaras hatov.It teaches us that the only way to counter act Amalek is by not being a kafuytov. That’s why davka Yehoshua was chosen because he was from shevetBinyomin-from the descendants of Rochel-and we needed that power ofhakaras hatov to overpower the kifuey tova: Amalek. Amalek’sability to defeat klal Yisroel is only when bnei Yisroel fails torecognize the kindness of others.
This canalso explain why Mordechai had such success in never bowing down and inconstantly defeating Haman, over all other yidden. Being that hewas from shevet Binyomin he had this advantage over others ofbeing a descendant of Rochel imeinu, portraying this middah of hakarashatov that ultimately overpowered Haman.
This ideais also true for a person on an individual level. Amalek represents theroot for all bad in the world. How can a person overcome bad and the yetzer hara?Through hakaras hatov; when a person stops and recognizes all thekindness that Hashem does for him, that will assist one in any struggle theymay have throughout their life. Malbim says ‘v’ani b’rov chasdecha avohbeisecha’ means that by recognizing the chessed is how I willget into Hashems house. Afterwards, ‘eshtachaveh el heichel kodshecha’-then,I can bow in fear. The corridor for getting into Hashem’s house isthrough hakaras hatov.
On the yomtov of Purim we should try to internalize this middah of hakarashatov towards the Ribono Shel Olam. Realize how lucky and fortunate we are to livein this country that lets us celebrate our holidays without persecution. Let usrise to the occasion and celebrate it the proper way.
A FREILICHEN PURIM