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|Many secrets of Purim are found in the writings of Rav Isaac Luria, “The Ari,” the preeminent 16th century kabbalist.
The Ari speaks of the idea of yuli. Before a physical thing becomes manifest, it goes through a spiritual level called yuli. The Ari explains that the only way to transform any negative thing in your life is by taking it back to this state, to its perfect state – its original conception. How often do you put your ‘issues’ to rest, only to find them pop up again? The Ari explains that on Purim, you have the opportunity to transform negativity at its source so that it ceases to plague you – forever.
“You can transform any negativity.”
During this 24-hour time period known as Purim, you can leave the world where you live 364 days of the year and go to the level of yuli. When you reach it, you can transform any negativity in your body, your mind, and in your soul.
A way to visualize this process is to consider an expensive but ugly silver necklace. The silver is valuable but it is an unpleasant form. You decide you want to make something nice out of it, so you melt it down – into an undifferentiated state – and then you create something beautiful out of it.
This is what you can do on Purim. Take any negativity that you have, take it all the way back to yuli, and transform the ugliness into something beautiful.
The 5 Connections of Purim
It’s all about Desire!
As you learn in Kabbalah 1 course – desire is everything. To reveal the most Light on Purim, you have to understand what you want to do and go for it.
Think about all the things you want to take back – the negative things you’ve done, all the petty arguments, the jealous thoughts, the self-doubting, whatever it is for (and everyone’s got something.) Focusing on your ‘garbage’ increases the likelihood that it will be converted into ‘gifts’ on the night of Purim.
The Zohar says that the biggest negativity is doubt – the struggle to deal with the unknown and the uncertain. When you remove doubt, anything is achievable. Purim is your vaccination against doubt.
Connection 1 – The Whole Megillah
Before the drinking and masquerading, you participate in a group reading of what is known as the Megillah (Book) of Esther.
Throughout the reading, you’ll notice that the reader says the name Haman loudly, and then pauses. Haman is a code for any darkness you have caused in your life by acting on your negative thoughts – specifically doubt. Every time Haman is announced, you can meditate on Caf Hei Taf, the eighth Name of the 72 Names of God. This Name reveals Light into the dark corners of your life. Every time you hear Haman, meditate on these three letters and think about one core negativity that you want to eliminate from your life.
Connection 2 – Masquerade Party
The Zohar says that a person needs to drink enough on Purim that he doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. Yes, on this night alcohol is actually a spiritual tool used to elevate your consciousness to a point where you see everything upside down. It allows you to trick your Satan, allows you to go to the seed level of your garbage, so you can convert it into a gift.
So why not drink every night? The Zohar explains that different windows in time require various tools to connect. Simply put, this is the one night where alcohol is one of the main tools.
The masquerade is another tool to trick ourselves. Ironically, by covering ourselves up with a mask, we let our guard down, revealing our true selves.
A meal is also held during the day of Purim, in which the following connection is held.
Connection 3 – Gift Giving
Unity. The Light of Purim can’t flow into our lives without unity. On the morning following the masquerade party, we gather together for a feast and afterwards to give gifts to one another (If you celebrate at a Kabbalah Centre near you, the actual gifts are provided for you.) The purpose of this exercise is to generate a feeling of love amongst us, so that we can activate the unique energy available during this window in time.
Connection 4 – Charity to the Poor
The fourth connection also involves gift giving. However, this time, we are advised to give charity anonymously to the poor, or Matanot La’evyonim, which literally means “gifts to the poor” and not charity. Again, we introduce the concept of sharing without ego to establish our vessel for unity for the year to come.
Connection 5 – Half a Shekel
On Purim, we also take part in machatzit hashkel, or giving three silver coins to charity. Our consciousness during this action should be to see more than ‘half,’ the picture, to see further than we usually see with our limited senses. When we really see, we understand cause and effect more clearly, we understand why things happen to us and we refrain from judging others because we can see the whole picture.
3 WAYS TO GIVE ON PURIM
Charity (TZEDAKA)- The kabbalists recommended giving charity, tzedaka on Purim. The Ari explains that Purim is the one day of the year to give without hesitation or calculation to anyone that asks for your assistance or charity. The reason being that when we act this way on Purim, the universe acts this way towards us in return because the gates of abundance are completely open.
Half a Shekel (MACHATZIT HASHKEL)- On Purim, we take part in the Half a Shekel (machatzit hashkel) connection, where we give a set amount of $10 per person, the value of a half a silver coin. Our consciousness during this action should be to see more than just half the picture, to see further than what is possible with our limited senses. When we see the big picture, we understand cause and effect more clearly. We understand why things happen for us, not to us, We can ask for assistance in letting go of control and maintaining certainty in the Creator’s desire to assist us.
Gifts to the Poor (MATANOT LA’EVYONIM)- The kabbalists explain that this is different than charity. Normally when we give charity it’s to help or fill a lack in someone’s life. The consciousness of Purim is to connect to a reality beyond any lack, where there is no one person above or better than the other. Everything we give is a gift and pure sharing simply for the sake of sharing itself. The ultimate consciousness behind giving is feeling that it is a merit to give, without any ego involved. This introduces the concept of sharing without ego to establish our vessel for unity for the year to come.