“Initially, all our beginnings were from Passover. This is why all the Mitzvos commemorate our exodus from Egypt, but now…”
The Rebbe didn’t finish the sentence, but its completion seems obvious from the context. He probably meant to say “but now all the beginnings are from Purim”. But the fact that he didn’t finish the thought clearly indicates that there is some deeper meaning here. That deeper meaning is subject to interpretation. (There is a lot of oral Breslov tradition which points to Rebbe Nachman being a major piece of the world’s redemption from here).
I’d like to take a stab at explaining why all our beginnings are now from Purim. In a book entitled Kochvei Ohr by Rav Avraham Chazan, he describes how our initial redemption from Egypt was done in such haste and without our own efforts (אתערותא דלעילא). This quick exit left us unready for such an intimate relationship with Hashem, which of course led to mistake after mistake on our part and ultimately the destruction of our Holy Temple. On the other hand, the final redemption will have to come from our own efforts (אתערותא דלתתא).
How are we going to facilitate the redemption? Well if Rebbe Nachman indicates that the final redemption starts with Purim, let’s see if we can find our efforts in that story? The story is really a very simple one. The evil Haman, a descendant of Amalek, was an atheist. His poisonous ideas threatened our entire nation with obliteration. Mordechai the Tzaddik stood up to him with the most sincere belief in God, and aroused a great Teshuva movement among the people which led to their deliverance. Our only efforts in the Purim story was our yielding to the will of the Tzaddik, who refused to give up and infused us with belief in our own prayers even though they seemed futile in the face of our annihilation.
Maybe that’s what the Rebbe was alluding to? Atheism has taken over the world. I know the word ‘atheism’ sounds strong. You might think, “Nobody is really an atheist anymore. They just don’t know whether to believe or not”. But that uncertain ideology which is everywhere poisons all of our belief. Those doubts and cynicism ruin our simple faith in Hashem. All that we read and hear from people who don’t consider faith to be primary infiltrates our minds and leaves us bored in synagogue and lackadaisical in our performance of Mitzvos, because deep down we now also doubt whether they make much of a difference. This is Amalek’s battle in our times. It’s not the Germans of WWII or the Neo-Nazis of today. It’s in our minds. It’s our lack of conviction and our weak faith. We need to heed the advice of the tzaddikim and pray with sincerity. We must forget all the pessimism/sarcasm and start believing in our redemption. It’s gonna happen. We were never in as dire a position as we were in Shushan. When the King’s signet ring is removed, there’s no hope for survival. And our sages said that it was Hashem’s signet ring that was removed as well. Everything pointed to our extinction. But prayer brakes all the laws and creates new realities. Even our inconsequential, pathetic prayers make worlds of a difference. The Jews in Persia were just as forgone as we are today. As far as I know most people reading this blog haven’t spent the past 180 days in a mass drunken orgy, as they did. So how could their prayers be that great? But those prayers pierced the Heavens. I myself also doubt whether I can pray effectively or whether Hashem really listens to me, so I know what you’re thinking. But this is exactly what Purim is teaching us. Our prayers are as effective as ever. Not only are they effective, but we can pray those effective prayers. Even us. That’s the great joy of Purim and that’s why everything starts from Purim. Because this time it’s up to us, and purim shows us that even we can do it.