On Walls

Friday, 15 March, 2019 - 1:12 pm


...For He strengthened the bars of your gates; He blessed your children within it. Book Of Psalms 147:13

Dear Friend,

As last minute preparations are underway for the fun-for-the-whole-family Chabad at Beekman-Sutton 1980's Themed Purim Party, I am reminded of a defining moment of that decade, the fall of the Berlin wall, uniting east and west, bringing together families torn from each other, and bringing a glimmer of peace and hope to a turbulent time.

In the Jewish experience, walls are meant to unite, not divide. While the Berlin Wall usually evokes negative associations, the Walls of Jerusalem bring to mind sanctity, holiness and unity. In fact, the very existence of surrounding city walls gives us a lesser known, though  very special, holiday, the Purim Of Walled Cities, otherwise known as Shushan Purim, a "post game" Purim celebrated on the following day, only in cities that are surrounded by walls. 

Why the special celebration for walled cities? And what makes a wall celebrated or ignominious? For starters, we ask: what is within the wall and what is without? What is the function of the wall: to insert unnecessary division among people- or to protect those within from danger?  Danger- whether posed by people, contraband, or a Trojan horse seeking to threaten a precious heritage or culture of sanctity- makes the walls that surround a shelter; a precious entity.

The Rebbe would often emphasize the magic of the "walls of Shushan" by noting that the Purim decree of annihilation was designated for Jewish people--only. An obvious loophole for anyone living in that era would be to jump ship and abandon their faith. But in all the detailed retelling of the Purim story, we find not even ONE instance of this; their wall of faith, despite all pressure and danger, was rock solid; impenetrable.

Raizy and I Iook forward to greeting you at the festive Purim party this Wednesday. May we be blessed, always, that any wall that separates us from a loved one, or a deep heart's desire, come tumblin' (tumblin') down...

With warm regards and blessings for Purim joy and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shmuel A. Metzger

PS: Not on the subject of walls: the menu for Purim in the 80's is spectacular and catered by kosher Mexican restaurant Carlos and Gabby's... RSVP now so we can prepare properly! 


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