Love of the Land

For the week ending 7 December 2002 / 2 Tevet 5763

Mordechai Roofs and Shacks

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

We all know about Mordechai from the account in Megillat Esther about his central role in the Purim miracle. Little is known however about the role he played many years later upon arriving in Eretz Yisrael.

According to the commentary of Rashi (Mesechta Menachot 64b) he was the hero of another drama which took place centuries later. A civil war resulted in the destruction of all the grain in the vicinity of Jerusalem. A call was issued if anyone knew where barley could be acquired for the Omer offering in the Beit Hamikdash on the second day of the Pesach festival. A mute Jew placed one hand on a roof and another on a shack. It took Mordechais brilliance to decipher the message. Gagot is Hebrew for roofs and tzerifin for shacks. A search was made, and barley was indeed found in a remote spot called Gagot Tzerifin and the Omer was duly offered.

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