God vs The Multiverse

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Purim Song (Part 4: More Svara)

We'll now discuss the מחלוקת as to whether or not the events of the Purim story demand הלל.

רב נחמן held that there is an obligation to recite הלל which is fulfilled through the reading of the מגילה, while רבא argued that that there is no obligation, in so far as we were still servants of אחשורוש even after the salvation.

רב נחמן: The events of the Purim story had a greater relative change in the state of the Jews than that of the redemption from Egypt.  By the redemption from Egypt we were saved from servitude to freedom, but by Purim we were saved from death to life. It is therefore a קל וחומר that there should be הלל on Purim.

רבא: It is true that the miracle of Purim itself produced a greater relative change in the state of the people, and we are therefore obligated to publicize and memorialize these events just as the events of the redemption were publicized by the אז ישיר.  However, on an absolute level, the result of the Purim story was lacking as we remained servants of אחשורוש.  This state of servitude is מעכב (prevents) the full expression of praise which is found in הלל.

Thus, the מחלוקת is whether or not the objective state of servitude is מעכב the recitation of הלל which would be necessitated by the great change in our status (from death to life) brought about by the salvation.

In the next post we'll try to analyze the novel position of רב נחמן, that the reading of the מגילה is a viable substitute for the singing of praise that is normally fulfilled through the singing of הלל.

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