Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Was Haman Good for the Jews
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 07:51:40 PM
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During the Festival of Purim we recite the Al Hanissim prayer. This prayer reads, “and for the miracles and for the salvations and for the mighty deeds and for the victories and for the battles which You performed for our ancestors in those days, and also at this time”.

In this declaration of thanks to G-d, we use many expressions of gratitude for the miracles and salvations that G-d performed for us. However, why do we end the phrase thanking G-d for the battles? I can understand thanking G-d for the victories FROM the battles, but why should we thank Him for the actual battles themselves? Why is that also a gratitude and appreciation?

Perhaps an inherent outcome of fighting the battles in life, is that we are forced to grow. Fighting battles brings out the best in us. Only when the going gets tough, do the tough get going. That is why the month of Purim is called אדר. The word אדר is an abbreviation for אין דבר רע which means “there is nothing ALL bad”.

The Talmud in Megillah explains that Haman did more for the Tshuvah Movement than CHABAD and all of the 48 Prophets in TANACH. The Jews of Babylon and Persia were assimilating and refused to heed the rebuke of the Prophets. When Haman comes along with his Final Solution all the Jews become CHEREDI! Perhaps that is why we name a cookie after Haman.

Whatever challenges and hardships we are each individually facing, whether they be familial, inter-personal or communal, they have been uniquely given to us, carefully designed by G-d, to enhance and facilitate our spiritual growth. It is only through our struggles, that we can grow, progress, and realize our full spiritual potential.

On Purim, we thank G-d for our victories, but we also thank Him for our battles and struggles, for through them we can progress to reach our maximal spiritual potential. As the Mishnah in Avot teaches, “according to the pain is the gain”. In other words, NO PAIN NO GAIN!

Therefore, this Purim, let us all focus not only on our victories but also on the battles in our personal lives.

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