Hide and Seek

One of the striking features of Megillas Esther is the omission of name of HKBH. Although many megillos have the word “HaMelech” at the top of each column, which merely hints to the King of Kings, Hashem is not mentioned directly. He is of course puppeteering from above and orchestrating the remarkable series of events in this gripping story.

Rav Elimelech Biderman, a popular Mashpia in Eretz Yisrael, offers a fascinating insight which alludes to this.

The first Mishna in Megilla tells us that the Megilla can only be read on the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of Adar but not on the 10th or 16th. Rav Biderman notes that the gematria of the days where the megilla can be read (11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) add up to 65 which is the gematria of the “Adnus” Name of Hashem (ADNY) which represents Hashem relating to us through nature but not overt miracles. The days when the megillah cannot be read (10 and 16) add up to 26 which is the (YHVH) Name of Hashem which represents more direct involvement through miracles.

Purim did not involve the splitting of a sea, 10 makkos or oil burning super-naturally. Rather, it involved normal daily events that unfolded in a natural way. However, when taking a step back and seeing the whole picture, one clearly sees the “Yad Hashem”.

That is why the gemoro in Megilla (16b) tells us that a megilla needs “sirtut”, a sharp almost hidden line drawn by the sofer with his knife, upon which the words of the Megilla are written. This represents the idea that the Purim story is following a hidden but pre-ordained script.

In a related vein, one of the striking features of parshas Tetzaveh is the omission of the name of Moshe Rabbeinu. As the Ba’al HaTurim notes, from the time of Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth until the very last sedra in the Torah, this is the only sedra where his name does not appear.

Many explanations are given. One very creative and interesting explanation is that Moshe does in fact appear, but only very subtly.

Each letter has a nigleh (revealed) and nister (hidden) part. For example, the א is the revealed part of the letter “aleph” but the ל and the ף are hidden.

So too with the word משה, the letters מ, ש and ה are revealed but the letters ם of מ, ין of ש and  אof ה are hidden. The gematria of the hidden letters of the name of משה add up to 101 which are the number of pesukim in the parsha. A subtle reference to Moshe Rabbeinu. He is there, but only behind the scenes.

One of the messages of Purim and parshas Tetzaveh therefore, is to look behind what meets the eye. To recognise that Hashem runs the world and that there is a script. This itself should give us comfort in these uncertain times and prompt us to dig deep into ourselves to consider what role we have to play in this universal performance.


Wishing you all a freilichen Purim and a wonderful Shabbos.


Rabbi Golker is the Menahel of Hasmonean High School. To listen to his shiurim, go to TorahAnytime.com or JewishPodcasts.Org