Prologue:        It is a most personal Mitzva. Remember what Amalek did to YOU. Recall it experience it and be prepared to obliterate the Amalekite name from the world. And, as such, we read Parshat Zachor once a year. But why is the command given to the individual? Why does the Torah not recall what Amalek did to the collective (Lachem) Jewish nation and choose to focus on the personal attack (Asher Asa Lecha)? After all, wasn't Amalek's deed one that affected the entire nation?

Rav Yitzchak Meir of Gur once noted that the difference between Lecha and Lachem is the group you find yourself in. When a person is in a strong group committed to strong Jewish values, then it is difficult to pull him out and attack him. When threats to the Jewish soul have lingered, they have begun by attacking the fringe, those members of the community who feel that they do not belong. When a person was within the Israelite camp, he was protected from Amalek by the Ananim and by the people he was with. When he was alone, he was open to attack.

The lesson of Amalek is one that cuts to the heart of the Jewish community. When we reach in and unite with our people then our whole is greater than the sum of its parts and we are indestructible. However, when we use an exclusionary policy of relating, we lose those on the fringe. Hence, the antidote toAmalek is Purim. When Amalek attacks, we declare, as Esther did, Leich Knos Et KOL HaYehudim, gather all Jews together, even the ones who do not normally come to Shul. We respond with gifts to one another and to the poor in order to bring our community closer together. When we stand united we are strong. When divided, we might not be able to withstand the fall.


The Complete Kaddish: When to recite on Purim night


Tosafos (Megillah 4a "Posak") notes that after Maariv on Purim night, one recites a Kaddish Shalemand then reads the Megillah. Following the final Beracha to the Megilla, the congregation recites V'Ata Kadosh . The style is dramatically different from daily practice and the practice on Motzai Shabbos when we delay the full kaddish until after U'Va L'Tziyon. Why the difference?

The Mogen Avraham (693:1) notes that the matter is indeed, a Machlokes as to whether one should recite a half kaddish or a full one. However, according to the prevailing opinion, why the Kaddish before V'ata Kadosh?

Rav Soloveitchik is cited as noting that one approach might be based in understanding the connection between the Full Kaddish and U'Va l'Tzion. It seems that we normally delay the recitation of Kaddish Shalem until after u'Va l'Tziyon beause normally U'Va L'Tziyon is considered a part of the tefillah. When we recite Tiskabel Tzlohosan, we are asking Hashem to accept the Tefilla and as such should complete it before making the request.

But what exactly is the significance of U'Va L'tziyon to prayer?

The Rambam (Hil Tefilla 5:13) notes that one of the eight things that aren't essential to prayer but certainly enhance it, is Hishtachavaya (bowing). He explains that the bowing of one's head onto the ground and reciting all of the Tachanunim one wishes, is not essential but does enhance Tefillah. Rav Soloveitchik added that U'Va L'Tziyon seems to fit this requirement and thus, would be the end of Tachanun. He noted that U'Va L'Tziyon should be recited sitting (See Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 132:5-7) like Tachanun and that Tefillin should not be removed until after it is recited, like Tefillah, indicating that U'Va L'Tziyon is like Tachanun and likely the end of it.

The Rav added that this might be why we do not recite U'Va L'tziyon on the mornings of Shabbos and Yom Tov. Since we do not recite Tachanun on those days, it would be wrong to recite the end of that Tefillah then. The only reason we even say it at Mincha is to make up for the lack of its recital in the morning. Thus in those instances the U'Va L'Tziyon is not for Tachanun purposes. It is for Kedusha purposes (since, we DO have a Kedusha contained within it).

On Purim night we recite V'Ata Kadosh not as a tachanun as well. Instead it is a statement of recognition that although we are small components in Hashem's universe, He certainly pays close attention to us. In the same way that we have seen (through the Megillah) that He has watched over us, we declare that we are sure He will in the future (see further Mesorah XVIII: 59). That statement of recognition is not connected to the Maariv Tefillah. Rather, it is a connection to the Megillah. Accordingly, the Kadddish should be recited in full prior to the Megillah to conclude the Tefillah of Maariv.