"And you shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart . .
Three times a day we recite this verse, an effective reminder
to ourselves to develop a feeling of unbounded love for our
Creator. Loving Hashem is part and parcel of being a Torah
Jew. Previously, we discussed the simchah of Adar that
stems from the love with which the Jews reaccepted the Torah
during Purim. Now we will examine more thoroughly Purim's
connection to ahavas Hashem.
Our Own Miracles
As we mentioned in our previous article, at the time of the
first Purim, the Jews decided to reaccept the Torah, in
response to the unprecedented miracle Hashem performed for
them. The Nesivos in Megillas Setorim reveals the far-
reaching effects of this matchless love. He says that their
love was so strong that it became the basis for all miracles
that the Jewish people have experienced since that time.
In other words, the Jewish people, individually and
collectively, merit their miracles as a result of their
loving reacceptance of the Torah. Their unparalleled feeling
of indebtedness to Hashem elicited His boundless appreciation
for them, displayed by His continuous miraculous involvement
in their lives.
We are familiar with the miracles the Jews have experienced
as a people throughout history, but some may wonder what
miracles we experience as individuals in our days. At times
we find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to
overcome, but somehow we make it through them. Whenever we
overcome such difficulties, we should realize that Hashem's
helping hand led us through those trying times. This
unexpected involvement is really a hidden miracle from
Hashem. With a little thought, we can gain greater
recognition of Hashem's involvement in our lives.
The Merit of the Purim Miracle
As we mentioned above, the Purim miracle is the source of all
miracles the Jewish people experience. We know that Hashem is
exceptionally kind to us in the merit of our ancestors, but
why are we credited for simply descending from noble
Hashem views us as their descendants whenever we reflect or
emulate their meritorious deeds. For example, our main focus
on Rosh Hashanah is directed towards Akeidas Yitzchok.
We ask Hashem to remember Yitzchok's binding as the
concluding merit of the Zichronos brochoh. We blow the
shofar so that Hashem will remember us in the light of
The message here is for us to internalize Yitzchok's
devotion. If we do so, then Hashem credits us with Yitzchok's
meritorious act. In other words, when we sincerely dedicate
our lives to Hashem and mirror our ancestors' lives, Hashem
remembers us as their children who deserve His special grace
In this vein, the Nesivos tells us that when we appreciate
and internalize the message of Purim, Hashem will respond and
do miracles for us throughout the year. What is this Purim
message we seek to internalize?
It is the acceptance of the Torah out of love of Hashem. When
we reflect the meritorious act of the Jewish people in
Shushan, we are credited with their unprecedented outpouring
of love for Hashem. Purim should develop within us a strong
desire to display boundless love for Hashem, thereby granting
us Hashem's loving response. Let's take a look at how we can
Developing Ahavas Hashem--A Reflection
The famous verse in Mishlei (27:19) states, "As water
reflects one face to another so does the heart of a man to
another." This principle applies as well to Hashem's
association with His people.
In truth, our ahavas Hashem stems from Hashem's love
for us. Following the above principle, Hashem's boundless
love for Klal Yisroel should generate our boundless
love for Him. Let us examine this through the Purim
We find ourselves in a time of hester ponim. In our
daily experiences, Hashem may seem hidden from us. However,
Hashem is always with us. In Vayikra, after strong
words of reproof, Hashem comforted Bnei Yisroel and
told them that even though there will be times that He will
hide Himself from them, "Lo me'astim velo ge'altim
lechalosom." I have not despised them nor spurned them to
destroy them. No matter how far we have strayed from the ways
of the Torah, Hashem has promised never to cast us off. True,
when we act in ways that demonstrate our aversion for
Hashem's involvement in our lives, He responds by becoming
uninvolved in our lives. But He never despises us.
This was the situation the Jews had reached at the beginning
of Megillas Esther. They were indifferent to Hashem's
personal involvement. But after the hidden miracles of Purim,
they yearned for that connection. Once they sensed His love
for them, they pledged to reciprocate to the best of their
This is the lesson of Purim. How much do we care about
Hashem? When we see Him as our loving Father, we can be a
loving son. When we sense Hashem's love for us, we should
seek to reflect that love. In theory, our love for Hashem
should equal His for us. Of course, His love is infinite, so
we cannot compare, but we can at least attempt to do our best
to match the love that He shows us.
Serving Hashem with Love
We have two ways of relating to Hashem: through fear and
love. Yirah, a sense of awe for our Creator, causes us
to refrain from evil. But ahavoh, our love for our
Creator helps us to avoid even nearing the realm of sin.
For example, if one finds himself in a challenging
predicament, he probably lacked enough concern to ensure
distance for himself from that sin in the first place.
On Yom Kippur, we say, "Al cheit shechotonu lefonecho
be'oness ueverotzon." We ask forgiveness for sins that we
Are we held responsible for accidental transgressions? The
answer is yes, because we could have avoided approaching the
transgression had we been more concerned.
For example, someone accidentally leaned against the light
switch on Shabbos and turned it on. If Shabbos had been
foremost in his mind, he would have made certain not to lean
anywhere close to the switch.
Yom Kippur awakens in us our love for Hashem. On that day, we
sense Hashem's boundless kindness, and pledge to perform His
mitzvos with full dedication. And, as we know, Yom Kippur is
Yom KePurim -- a day like Purim. Purim also contains this
opportunity to develop our love for Hashem.
The outpouring of love that Hashem showed us on Purim can
awaken within us our love for Him. Our first step should be
to reiterate our Yom Kippur pledge and to commit ourselves to
avoid even nearing the realm of sin. But Purim extends far
beyond this. Purim demands that we take our new dedication
and build our joyful love of Hashem with it.
Simcha Stems from Love
The Ramchal, in the sefer Mesillas Yeshorim, teaches
that a major aspect of ahavas Hashem is simcha.
Indeed Purim, the day of Simcha, is the perfect
time to develop our ahavas Hashem.
One of the best ways to demonstrate our love for Hashem is to
increase the joy with which we perform mitzvos. When we
understand that serving Hashem is a privilege, we will do His
We can apply this Purim lesson to every day of the year.
Twice a day, we recite the second segment of Krias
Shema which states, "Ule'ovdo bechol levavechem
uvechol nafshechem. And to serve Him with all your heart
and all your soul." What does it mean to serve Hashem with
Chazal answer this question by telling us, Eizehu avodoh
shebelev, zu tefilloh (Taanis 2a). Prayer is the perfect
service of the heart. Prayer is a wonderful means to display
our enthusiastic service of Hashem.
For example, the brochoh we say numerous times a day,
Asher Yotzar, presents a great opportunity to focus on
Hashem's wondrous design of the human body. The Chofetz Chaim
teaches us that when we recite this blessing sincerely and
recognize how Hashem is constantly protecting us from
illness, then Hashem will shield us from poor health.
We see here the reciprocal relationship we have with Hashem,
one reflecting the other. The more we appreciate Hashem's
kindness and favor, the more we deserve to receive His
Another propitious time to serve Hashem with joy is during
the Modim prayer of Shemoneh Esrei. The
Yerushalmi says that one who reaches Modim and
simply realizes why he is bowing down deserves tremendous
credit. What an excellent opportunity to dwell on the endless
miracles Hashem bestows on us. "Ve'al nisecho shebechol
yom imonu ve'al nifle'osecho vesovosecho shebechol
For example, our blood travels through an extensive maze of
capillaries perfectly designed to bring blood to and from the
heart. Our lungs pump air into the body, filter out the
oxygen and other elements we need and dispel the unwanted
components. When we appreciate Hashem's design of the human
body and the many other wonders of the world, we show our
love for Him and also increase it.
The siddur and bencher are full of expressions
of love and gratitude. If we concentrate, we have countless
opportunities to convey our love for Hashem.
As we have said, Purim is a time to appreciate Hashem's
miracles in our daily lives. Purim can inspire us to
recognize Hashem's miracles every day of our lives. And when
we appreciate His involvement in our lives, He will
correspondingly become more involved with us. This in turn
increases our opportunities to thank Hashem, and the virtuous
In summary, the simcha of Purim is the simcha
that comes from true ahavas Hashem. And we carry
that love and joy with us throughout the year, thus meriting
Hashem's reciprocal show of love expressed in all the hidden
miracles He performs for us.