Rav Avigdor Miller on Purim vs. Mattan Torah



When the Am Yisroel experienced the neis of Purim, so it says, קיימו מה שקבלו כבר, that they they accepted the whole Torah again only this time it was willingly. Did the generation in the time of Mordechai actually become better than our forefathers were at Matan Torah?


The answer is no. But you have to understand that the difference is as follows: There is no question that the generation of Matan Torah was far superior to any generation that ever existed – don’t make any mistake about that. The generation that went out of Mitzrayim was the best generation that ever lived. Moshe Rabbeinu had a tremendous influence on them and so did Aharon. And Miriam was the teacher of the women and בזכות נשים צדקניות נגאלו אבותינו ממצרים – the women were very great in Mitzrayim. When we went out of Mitzrayim, it was a generation that knew Hashem! They were the dor de’ah — what they learned when they saw the makkos transformed their minds; they became so elevated. ויראו העם את השם – They feared Hashem. ויאמינו בהשם – They had full belief in Hashem, ובמשה עבדו – and in His servant Moshe.

And when it says that at Har Sinai they were elevated it means that רובם מגיעים אל הנבואה – most of them became neviim at that moment when they heard word of Hashem. We have no concept of the greatness of that generation. It may seem like an exaggeration to you because you have been taught in cheder to despise that generation. והם לא ידעו דרכי you say. Don’t make any mistake about it; they were ones who knew darkei Hashem more than anyone – only they were criticized because they should have known more according to their opportunities. But they were extremely great.

However, as great as they were, no experience in history equaled that of the Jews in the time of Haman because they were sentenced to certain death. That’s a big difference. In Mitzrayim they weren’t sentenced to death. זכרנו את הדגה, they said. It means they lived, they survived. It wasn’t the very best form of existence, but they lived. But here, by Haman, they knew that imminent death was waiting for them and there was no way out! You cannot turn back the king’s decree. They were finished!

And therefore the change that took place in them was more fundamental – not because afterwards they became more pure and more noble than the generation that listened to Moshe Rabbeinu’s words. No; the people who saw Moshe Rabbeinu were unequaled. But the transformation in the days of Haman was so immediate that nothing compared to it.

I’ll give you a mashal. Let’s say somebody lives a normal life and he lives with the rules of health; he eats properly, he exercises properly, he takes care of his body. So this man is a model of perfect health. Now suppose somebody else neglects his health and now he becomes deadly ill. And in order to save his life the physician gives him an injection of a very extreme medicine and he saves his life. Now he’s back to life again! So the experience is unequaled; he was on the verge of death and now he was brought back to life. But at the end he is not healthier than the other party. The first one who lived a normal existence is much more sound in body than the second one. And therefore although after the story of Purim our generation was rejuvenated — we had a shot, a real shot in the arm – we were reborn! But in no way did we resemble the dor that received the Torah; no question about that.
TAPE # 731