Thursday, February 21, 2019



Quebec man told his $13.5M winning lottery ticket void because he was seven seconds late
The Canadian Press, January 29, 2015

MONTREAL -- A lot can happen in seven seconds. Just ask the Quebec man who says that brief period cost him $13.5 million.
Joel Ifergan bought two lottery tickets in May 2008 -- but the one with the eventual winning combination popped out of the terminal seven seconds after the 9 p.m. deadline…
As the 9 p.m. deadline loomed on May 23, 2008, Ifergan made the purchase: the first ticket came in before the deadline but the ticket with the fateful numbers burped out seven seconds after the cut-off.
Ifergan alleged the transaction was concluded on time and that both tickets were in the system at 8:59:47. What cost him, he says, is the 10 seconds it takes for a ticket to emerge...
Ifergan was out for ice cream and made a split-second decision that evening to buy a few Quick Pick tickets at a local convenience store.
The owner informed Ifergan the second ticket was for the following week and asked if he wanted to keep it. He replied in the affirmative.
Asked on Thursday why he waited until the last minute, he replied: "I'm entitled to."
"Football games are won with the last-second field goal, basketball games are won with a desperation shot," he said.

One of the recurring themes in Megillas Esther is hurriedness. The Megilla makes note of the fact that many of the events that transpire, happen in a frenzied rush:
·         “And they hurried to her cosmetics and her portion…”[2]
·         “The runners went out in haste based on the word of the king, and the law was given throughout Shushan the capital”[3]
·         “Rush Haman to fulfill the word of Esther”[4]
·         “The king said to Haman, ‘hurry, take the clothes and the horse like you have spoken, and do as such to Mordechai the Jew…’”[5]
·         “They were still speaking with him, and the emissaries of the king arrived, and they rushed Haman to the party that Esther made.”[6]
There seems to be an undercurrent of impatience and quickness throughout the story.
The Megilla also relates that Haman’s intention was “to confuse them and to destroy them.”[7] Haman wanted to cause the Jews to become so frightened that they would lose their equilibrium. When people are swept away in a tumult of fear and panic, they are unable to accomplish anything productive. Haman was confident that they would be so frightened that they would not be able to mass together in prayer or figure out a logical strategy to impede his nefarious plan.
The greatness of what occurred is that the Jewish nation did not fall prey to his diabolical scheme. They humbled themselves before Mordechai and followed his instruction even when it seemed outlandish, accepting that all men, women, and young children fast for three days and nights. That adherence is what allowed the salvation to occur.
Part of the hilarious irony of the story, is that there indeed was someone who was destroyed by being swept away by being hurried and harried. Haman, the progenitor of that plan, was brought down by his own scheme. The gemara relates that Haman had an unparalleled ability of persuasion. He could talk his way out of anything or convince anyone of anything. Throughout the opening chapters of the Megilla, Haman played Achashverosh like a puppet, convincing him to do his bidding. Vashti was killed because of Haman and Achashverosh signed a decree of genocide because of Haman.[8]   
Haman had everything he could have wanted, except for one old Jew who refused to bow before him. His wife and advisors suggested that he build huge gallows to hang Mordechai on. Haman was so excited by the idea, that he had the gallows built even before consulting with the king. When the construction was completed, he impulsively decided to stand in the courtyard of the king in the dead of night, in the hope that the king would notice him and summon him.
When that actually occurred, Haman was overjoyed with how everything played into his hands. When the king asked Haman how he could honor someone he felt indebted to, Haman launched into a description of a parade befitting his arrogance and conceit.
It’s amazing to think about what Haman’s final day was like. At the moment that he was speaking with the king in the middle of the night, he was at the pinnacle of his greatness. The last thing he lacked – Mordechai’s submission - was about to be obliterated, and he was absolutely sure that the king was about to accord him unprecedented honor. A moment later events started happening with such fury that Haman never had a moment to catch up with what was going on, before he was hanging on the gallows.
Within a few hours Haman was parading the archenemy that he wanted to have killed through the streets. By the time he arrived home, he was humiliated, and his daughter was dead. Before he could sit down, he was whisked off to the palace to Esther’s second party with the king. He barely made himself comfortable there when Esther revealed her identity and accused Haman of personal attack.[9] The king stormed off in fury, only to return to see what he perceived as Haman attacking Esther. The nail in the coffin came immediately after when Charvona directed the king’s attention to the gallows Haman constructed, which the king was never informed about. Moments later, Haman was hanging from those gallows.
If at any point during those last hours, Haman had a few minutes to think and to get a word in edgewise, he would have connived his way out and figured out how to absolve himself and cast the blame upon someone else. Part of the miracle was that he never had that opportunity. He wanted to destroy the Jews by robbing them of their equilibrium and causing them to panic, but that was exactly what destroyed him!

We are taught that zerizus – alacrity, is a very important component and trait in serving Hashem.[10] If so, we must understand the difference between the virtue of zerizus and the deleterious trait of behala[11].
The difference lies in whether one’s acts are thought out or if they are done impulsively. When one acts on a whim because he is swept away by emotions which cause him to act without thinking through all the ramifications of his actions, that is behala and pezizus (wildness). Zerizus however, is the result of reflection and understanding the importance of an endeavor. That insight generates a rush of excitement and a desire to perform at the earliest possible time. Zerizus is the result of a decision or conclusion reached with peace of mind, while pezizus is mindless rushing that results from not weighing all options.
The sin of the golden calf was the result of pezizus and behala. Moshe Rabbeinu had informed the nation that he would return after forty days. The nation thought the forty days began immediately when he ascended the mountain, not realizing that that first day was not counted. When Moshe didn’t return on the fortieth day following their (mis)calculation, they panicked. Instead of asking for direction, they demanded immediate action based on what they felt was the proper course. The results were disastrous. Chur was killed, the golden calf was created, the luchos were shattered, and the nation was almost wiped-out.
The ultimate contrast to that tragic encounter, was the Purim story. At that time, they didn’t allow their strong emotions to overpower them. They fasted, prayed, and repented as per Mordechai and Esther’s instruction. After Haman’s death, they waited patiently for eleven months until they struck down their enemies in self-defense on the day Haman had designated for their demise. Not one Jew provoked an earlier attack, despite the fear they felt from the decree which had never been completely nullified.
The gemara[12] states that although there was some level of coercion when the nation accepted the Torah at Sinai[13], “they returned to accept it (the Torah) during the days of Achashverosh”. After the incredible salvation and turnabout that occurred at the time of Purim, the nation felt a newfound connection with Hashem, and reaccepted the Torah with love and complete dedication.
It seems strange that the gemara would say that they reaccepted the Torah ‘during the days of Achashverosh’. While it’s historically true that Achashverosh was the king, how is that connected to their reacceptance of the Torah? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for it to say that they reaccepted the Torah during the days of Mordechai and Esther? Wasn’t it Mordechai and Esther who were the catalysts of the national wave of teshuva that brought about the reacceptance of the Torah? 
Perhaps the answer is that when the salvation occurred, the nation could have reasoned that now that Haman was dead and their enemies vanquished, it wouldn’t be long before the prophecy of Yirimyahu would be fulfilled[14] and the Bais Hamikdash will finally be rebuilt. When that occurred, they would then reaccept the Torah upon themselves fully, and rededicate themselves to the Torah and its values. They could have rationalized that it wasn’t worth investing so much effort at that point, when the completion of the redemption was imminent.
The problem with such an attitude is that inspiration is like a fleeting candle. If it doesn’t ignite another spark, it will quickly fizzle out. Had the nation waited until things would improve even more, it’s possible that their incredible rededication to Torah would never have occurred. Their greatness was that they reaccepted the Torah during the days of Achashveirosh. They didn’t wait until after he was no longer king, in the hope that his successor would allow them to return to Yerushalayim (as he in fact did). They acted based on their emotional inspiration and didn’t allow it to fade.
The great celebration of Purim is the result of those who grabbed the moment. They did not act out of haste or impetuousness, but rather out of calculated excitement and passion.  The zerizus they demonstrated was a core component of the celebration and the intense joy that resulted.  
The disastrous sin of the golden calf was a result of impulsive emotions run wild; the celebration of Purim is the result of intellectually based emotions overflowing. The difference between them is the difference between tragedy and triumph.

“Rush Haman to fulfill the word of Esther”
“They returned to accept it during the days of Achashverosh”

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW
Rebbe/Guidance Counselor – Heichal HaTorah
Principal – Ohr Naftoli- New Windsor

[1] The following is the lecture I delivered at Kehillat New Hempstead, Parshas Ki Sisa 5778
[2] Esther 2:9
[3] Esther 3:15; see also 8:14
[4] Esther 5:5
[5] Esther 6:10
[6] Esther 6:14
[7] Esther 9:24
[8] Both decrees were inane. Achashverosh did not have any royal blood, so his only legitimacy to the throne was because he married Vashti, a princess. Killing her robbed him of that connection to royalty. Agreeing to genocide was also politically foolish because it can cause other minorities to become afraid that they will be next, which would cause them to rebel. As the king of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, rebellions were always simmering just beneath the surface. 
[9] Rav Yonasan Eybschitz notes that Haman wore a small idol around his neck. The divine Presence will not reside in a place of idolatry. Therefore, at the first party Esther did not sense the divine Presence and so she asked Achashverosh and Haman to return the next day. Before the parade, Haman removed his idol, with the intent of putting it back on before the party. But because he was hurried out by the king’s emissaries, he never had the chance. Therefore, at the second party Esther felt the divine Presence with her and that gave her the confidence to incriminate Haman.
[10] For example, the Torah notes that Avrohom ‘woke up early’ to perform the akeidah.
[11] ‘behala’ is the vernacular used in the megillah for hurrying in all of the aforementioned examples. But as opposed to zerizus, behala connotes hurriedness from panic and confusion.
[12] Shabbos 81a
[13] G-d held Har Sinai above their heads and warned that if they didn’t accept the Torah, they would be buried there
[14] That the exile would last seventy years after which the Bais Hamikdash would be rebuilt


Post a Comment