Megilah 2 - 8
- The days in Adar when the megilah is read and the sources in Megilat Esther for this variety
- The cities with walls dating back to Yehoshua or to Achashverosh
- The double letters of the alphabet and the Targum translation
- An unseen source of fear and what to do about it
- Putting asideTemple service and Torah study to hear megilah reading
- Qualifications for consideration as a walled city
- Obligation of women and the need to read megilah both by night and by day
- Why the villagers can read earlier than those in the cities
- What happens when Adar 14th is on Erev Shabbat (Friday) or on Shabbat
- When a minyan is needed for megilah reading
- Things that are postponed if they clash with Shabbat
- Festival sacrifices of individuals on Shabbat and Yom Tov
- Working on Purim
- Tiberias, Tzippori and Caesarea
- How learning is acquired and how to relate to a sinner enjoying prosperity
- When there are two months of Adar
- Esther's request for the megilah to become Scripture
- Proofs that the megilah was written with ruach hakodesh (Divine inspiration)
- The mishloach manot (sending of Purim gifts) and Purim feasts of some Sages
- Comparison of Shabbat and Yom Tov restrictions and Shabbat and Yom Kippur severity
- Comparison of vows, of the two-time zav and the three-time zav, and of the two-stages of metzora
Drink to Think
- Megilah 7b
"A man should drink so much on Purim," rules the Sage Rava, "that he is no longer aware of the difference between 'cursed be Haman' and 'blessed be Mordechai'."
It has always been traditional for Jews celebrating the miracle of Purim to sing those words of praise for the hero of the megilah and of condemnation for the villain. Is the drinking then intended to blur the difference between appreciation and denunciation?
Perhaps the message here is that anyone who is rescued by Heaven from danger must be thankful not only for the salvation but also for the experience that preceded it. As the beneficiary of Providential grace which gave him life, he has reached a higher level of recognizing and appreciating Heaven's power and mercy.
"Blessed be Mordechai" is an expression of our joy at being rescued through the emissary of Divine intervention, while "Cursed be Haman" recalls the genocidal threat which aroused an entire nation to repentance.
Joyfully drinking on Purim should therefore lead a Jew to thinking about what we gained — not only from being saved through Mordechai, but also for how we grew spiritually through experiencing the threat of Haman.
The purpose of drink is then to think, and not merely to get drunk.
What the Sages Say
"If someone tells you he made a strenuous effort but did not succeed, don't believe him; that he succeeded without a strenuous effort, don't believe him; believe him only when he tells you that he made that effort and succeeded. But this is true only in regard to success in learning Torah. In matters of business everything depends on Heavenly help."
- Rabbi Yitzchak - Megilah 6b