In Slabodka I had two rebbes, zichronom livrocha, and boruch Hashem they were both inspirations to me. I will describe to you how different their behavior was on Purim.
On Purim it was a minhag of the bnei hayeshiva to go to all the roshei yeshiva and menahalim of the yeshiva. We went to the homes of the roshei yeshiva and to the mashgiach and we went to all the important people of the yeshiva. And these two rebbes of mine were different in the way they behaved on Purim. Pay attention, because the ways of tzaddikim we have to learn; both of them are ways in avodas Hashem.
One rebbe—I won’t tell names—when he sat at the head of the table and the yeshiva people were dancing around the table, he was watching to see who was a little wild, and those were the ones he gave wine or a glass of schnapps to. He poured fuel on the fire in order it should burn more brightly!
The other rebbe was an old misnaged type; a cold misnaged. When we were dancing around his table, he looked at the boys suspiciously to see if somebody was ungeshikert, intoxicated, and anyone who was drunk and a little wild, his face turned unhappy and sour. That was the other rebbe.
Now, which rebbe I followed you can understand yourself! The rebbe’s face that was sour, that’s the one I followed. And this rebbe said two separate schmoozen. One schmooze was that you shouldn’t get drunk on Purim; you should drink but don’t get drunk. Because gedolah deiah – how great it is to have daas! It means Awareness of Hashem. It’s always good to have daas. You drink עד דלא ידע – until you don’t know. עד means עד ולא עד בכלל; it means just before you lose your deiah, that’s when you stop. You should drink עד דלא ידע – until you don’t know. When you reach that stage, you’re yotzei already the mitzvah, more than that – stop. That was one schmooze; that whatever you do, you shouldn’t lose your deiah on Purim.
Because Purim is a time of deiah; Purim is time to gain Daas Hashem, Awareness of Hashem. נודע השם משפט עשה בפעל כפיו נוקש רשע – Hashem becomes known when He does justice; when the wicked is ensnared in the work of his hands. So when Haman was hung on the same eitz that he made for Mordechai, it was בפועל כפיו, it was the work of his own hands, נוקש רשע, that ensnared the rasha, and that’s when נודע השם – that’s when you get daas Hashem awareness of Hashem. That’s when you get real emunah. When you see בור כרה ויחפרהו ויפול בשחת יפעל, that the wicked falls into the same pit that he himself made for somebody else, that’s when people get daas of Hashem.
So Purim is a time to recognize Hakodosh Boruch Hu from what happened on Purim and to be mifarseim the nes, to publicize what Hashem did for us. And therefore Purim is not a time to lose your deiah, no. On Purim you have to have deiah, you have to acquire deiah. Only you drink up till then, as we said before, in order to get more hislahavus in deiah; more enthusiasm in this knowledge of Hashem.
However, the other time we went to him he said as follows: Since Purim is a time for deiah, therefore we have to know that there’s a rule that the Mesillas Yesharim teaches us: החיצוניות מעוררת את הפנימיות – The outward acts of a person awaken up the inner thoughts. By doing certain outward actions, you stimulate your inner machshovos, your emotions.
“Therefore,” he said, “on Purim when we dance—we were dancing around his table—every stamp you make on the floor—the floor was shaking from that—every stamp you make, you have to know that you’re stamping emunah into your neshama.”
Don’t think it’s not so! You may be thinking also of a good time; why not? You like the exhilaration of dancing; you can let go on Purim. But if you’re doing it with a little bit of lisheim shomayim, you have to know that you’re imprinting emunah onto your neshama. That’s what you’re doing. “Every klop that you knock with your foot,” he told us, “you’re knocking the emunah into your neshama more clearly.”
From the Rav’s Purim Mesiba, תשמ״ה, March 7th 1985