Prepare for Success
Prepare yourself for a totally new and improved Purim, like you have never experienced before! Includes a detailed guide to how to prepare properly.
Posted on 06.03.20
Everything goes according to the preparation. We see this truth before tests in school, work presentations, court cases, and many more real life situations. Another fantastic example of this rule is Shabbat: If you prepare yourself for Shabbat (in addition to the necessary physical preparations) with a lesson to give over at the Shabbat table, stories, etc. – your Shabbat will be totally different, and far more uplifting, than a Shabbat that you “throw yourself into” exhausted and unprepared.
The bigger and more important the thing is, the more intensive the preparations must be!
We are coming up a gigantic day, as we say in Hebrew: “Not every day is like Purim!” For such a big day, we need real preparations. For a day with such incredible potential, we want to be ready for it – not throw ourselves into it, or even worse, be thrown underneath it… You cannot stand to lose this day!
Therefore, let’s review the important things we need to prepare for this day, and how to manage this extremely busy day properly.
Revealing the Light
Reading Megillat Esther is the essential mitzvah of the day, and according to Jewish law, we must be careful to listen to every single word. Besides this, the Megillah reading is a special time for spiritual awakening – and all of the light of Purim is dependent on this. This is a secret of why it is called the Megillah – because it migale – reveals – the huge light of Purim.
Unfortunately, this truth is “switched around,” and making a lot of noise around Haman’s name is made to be the most important. Therefore, it is critically important to hear the Megillah in a place where people appreciate the importance of the reading, and there will not be anything to distract us from hearing the Megillah properly.
Additionally, it is important to thank Hashem for everything that happens in the Megillah. We do not say Hallel on Purim, which is interesting, since on every other holiday including Chanukah, we do say Hallel. This is because the Megillah is in place of Hallel! Is it possible to say Hallel and not thank Hashem?! Therefore, if you don’t thank Hashem for everything that happens in the story, you have not fulfilled the requirement of Megillah properly!
I hope it is unnecessary to add that in this light, it is absolutely and totally forbidden to use any sort of fireworks, firecrackers, and the like on Purim, even if it isn’t during the time of the reading. First off, they are dangerous, and therefore forbidden. Additionally, they are forbidden because they bother and upset others, and can cause real suffering to the many people who suffer from PTSD in addition. It is sad that on such a holy day, people are busy with sins instead of snatching up mitzvot.
The Order of the Day
We are busy with so many mitzvot on Purim, it can be difficult to know how to prioritize and manage it all. Therefore, we need to be wise in order to not waste even one single precious moment of Purim.
The very best thing is to prepare in advance kosher food to give as mishloach manot – real food and not just snacks and candies. The matanot levyonim – gifts to the poor – should also be prepared before the big day. The Purim meals and the house should also be prepared in advance as much as possible.
Purim night is set aside for prayer. We go from the Megillah to a fast meal, and right to sleep! Anyone who drinks one sip of alcohol on Purim night has no clue what Purim is! Now, wake up as early as you can – preferably at halachic midnight – to pray. If you can manage 6 hours of personal prayer before morning prayers, that’s preferable, but the key is to set aside the time to pray – FIRST!
Every day we must do at least one hour of personal prayer, which includes a spiritual accounting (cheshbon nefesh) and personal requests. On Purim, this is taken to another level! Purim is the only day that every second of the 24 hours of Purim is a special time for accepting prayers in Heaven. Anyone who puts out his hand, give him – only on Purim does anyone who requests get charity, without checking first if they are deserving. G-d does the same for us too! Whatever you request is granted, without the usual “checking the books” to see whether or not you deserve it! On such a day, we must make sure to pray and bring down the salvations we so desperately need!
Make a list of the important things in your life you want to pray about, and pray on each one 30 minutes. The rule of “Anyone who lengthens his prayer, his prayer is never returned empty-handed” is true the entire year, but all the more so on Purim! Be careful to pray following my rules of praying with desire and happiness, and not complaining.
Now, comes Shacharit (preferably at dawn) and reading the Megillah again. From the Megillah, run right into distributing the Mishloach Manot, as fast as you can, plus the gifts to the poor. Now, run home and learn Torah! In addition to the fact that we must learn Torah every single day, there is a special concept to learn Torah on Purim, when we received the Torah again with love.
Purim Afternoon and the Festive Meal
Finally, in the afternoon we pray Mincha early, and off to the Purim feast. The feast is a time to dance and sing to Hashem, and praise Hashem with happiness! Drinking is supposed to enhance this truth, not distract from it (more on that below). The time of the feast is the strongest of all for prayers to be answered. Spend these precious hours just serving Hashem with happiness, and throw in a prayer here and there. Also remember Blessing after Meals at the end of the feast is especially special for bringing down abundant income – make sure to say it with special concentration, word by word.
The key is: Purim is not a day to waste on empty festivities and silliness. It is a day to be filled to the brim with Torah, prayer and mitzvot! We can gain so much on this special and holy day – why waste it on stupidity and sins?!
Now that I have explained the overview of the day, I want to focus on an extremely misunderstood aspect of the day – drinking.
The salvation of Purim came through wine at Esther’s feast, and therefore the mitzvah to drink on Purim is fulfilled only through wine at the Purim feast!!! Absolutely no other alcoholic beverage is allowed, and at no other time other than the feast!
We also must drink while remembering our basic rules: the need for preparation, and the essential rule to not upset or hurt anyone and in this way sin against others on this holy day. Therefore, I wrote a Prayer to Be Said before Drinking Wine on Purim – and you must read it before every single cup! Drinking is dangerous. We must prepare ourselves very well so that our drinking brings us to life and not to death, to mitzvot and not to sins, to holiness and not to impurity, to singing and not to forbidden or unclean speech, to dancing and not to vomiting, to holy knowledge and not to frivolity – to cling to Hashem and not to separate from Hashem in a drunken stupor!
Let me repeat: There is a mitzvah to be happy on Purim. There is no mitzvah to become drunk! Becoming drunk is to lose your holy daat (knowledge), and without daat, you are an animal on two legs. On the other hand, happiness is the incredible daat of emuna! The point of drinking on Purim is to bring you up to an awesome level of holy daat and emuna – not to bring you down to humiliating and embarrassing behavior.
Do not let yourself become intoxicated to the point that you lose control of yourself, G-d forbid. That is absolutely forbidden every day of the year, including Purim. The point is to reveal the secret of your true desire to come close to Hashem, not drown in alcohol. If that means you drink only one cup, or none at all – so be it!
Prepare for Success
Start praying already now for Hashem to help you maximize this special day, and not waste even one second of it. Beg Hashem to help you drink with holiness. Ask Hashem to enable you to “win big” in the form of mitzvot and salvations, and not to lose with even the smallest sin, and especially not to hurt or upset anyone in even the slightest way. Pray to be saved from Klipat Haman Amalek – the spiritual force of Haman Amalek, which is the source of all the evil in the world: complaining, arrogance, heresy and more. Beg Hashem to merit the holiness of Mordechai and Esther. Ask Hashem for the strength to fill every moment with holy actions.
One last important preparation – your children! We must prepare already in advance how we are going to properly guard them on Purim. The more holiness, the more danger – and the spiritual dangers outside posed to our children on Purim are formidable. It is absolutely forbidden to leave your children without proper supervision on Purim! They cannot be allowed to wander around outside alone under any circumstances. Rather, prepare now how you can involve them in activities, work with them and pray with them, and make it so fun in the house that they don’t even give the street outside a second thought.
Hashem should enable us to prepare properly in order for us to receive the light of Purim, which is the light of the Redemption. Hashem should hear our prayers on this holy day, and we should have only good news, salvations, miracles and consolations – for each one of us individually, and for the Jewish people as a whole. Amen!
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