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Bending and Bowing

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Bending and Bowing

Why did Binyomin merit to have the Beis Hamikdash in his portion?


We are taught that Mordechai was a reincarnation of Yaakov while Haman was a reincarnation of Esav.[1] This is hinted to in the words of Yaakov about Esav, הצילני נא מיד אחי מיד עשו, save me please from the hand of my brother the hand of Esav, where the first letters spell המן.[2] The Chida[3] explains this is what Yaakov requested from Hashem when he said הצילני נא מיד אחי מיד עשו — now it is Esav but in the future when I am Mordechai it will be Haman — save me!  


Since Yaakov bowed to Esav, Mordechai doesn’t bow to Haman as a rectification. Where was Mordechai endowed with this strength from? He is a descendant of Binyomin.[4] Binyomin was the only one not born when Yaakov bowed to Esav.[5] Consequently, he wasn’t affected by Yaakov’s bowing. Therefore, Mordechai had the power to withstand and refrain from bowing to Haman.


In light of what we mentioned we can grasp why the Beis Hamikdash was in the portion of Binyomin as it is the place of completely nullifying oneself to Hashem. Since Binyomin did not bow to Esav, he merited to have the portion of land where bowing takes place, the Beis Hamikdash.


The pasuk teaches that it is called Purim because of the lottery, גרל.[6] Rearranging these letters, we notice it spells רגל, foot. This represents bowing, symbolizing nullifying oneself.[7]


The following is some of what we do on Purim which originates from what took place when Yaakov received the Brachos:

1) How did Yaakov receive the Brachos? Through dressing like Esav. This is one of the reasons given as to why we wear a mask, or costume, on Purim.


2) Just as receiving the Brachos was done through a meal, we too have Seudas Purim.[8]

3) Just as it is written concerning the Brachos ויבא לו יין וישת, he drank wine, likewise, on Purim we drink wine.[9]

[1] Corresponding to what it says in the Megila, והמן נופל על המטה, Haman had fallen onto the bed (Esther 7:8), it says about Yaakov ויתחזק ישראל וישב על המטה, Yaakov exerted himself and sat up on the bed (Breishis 48:2).

[2] Breishis 32:12. Also, Haman said וכל זה איננו שוה לי. Similarly, Esav said in regard to the Bechor, הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכרה, look, I will die, why do I need this birthright (Breishis 25:32).

[3] Pninei Hachida, Breishis 33:3.

[4] Esther 2:5. We know Esav, the ancestor of Haman, excelled in honoring his parents as Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel said no one honored his father more than him besides Esav (Devarim Rabba 1:15). So who is the one who brings about the miracle of Purim? Esther, the one who doesn’t have parents and therefore has no deficiency in כבוד אב ואם.

[5] It is because Yaakov bowed to Esav that throughout history we needed to “bow” to the nations of the world in that we please them and the like.

[6] Esther 9:24.

[7] Similarly, it is called שלש רגלים as we submit ourselves to Hashem by the Beis Hamikdash at that time.

[8] This is in contrast to Chanuka (see Mishna Brura 670:6). Breishis 27:19, 25.

[9] Breishis 27:25. Although most women do not drink wine on Purim (as is the opinion of R’ Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg. See Shevet Halevi 10:18:2), there are those who say that they should. But only a little, not a lot, since that would be a disgrace as in Kesubos 65a (Chazon Ovadia, Purim, p. 176. Also see Orchos Rabbeinu volume 3, p. 96, שו”ת רבבות אפרים, 4:173:10,53). Incidentally, if we add the Gematria of יין (70) toנקבה  (157) we arrive at a total of 227, the same as the gematria of זכר. This symbolizes that if she drinks she becomes like a male in that she becomes an extrovert (see Kiddushin 2b). This is contrary to the ideal way of a woman as in כל כבודה בת מלך פנימה (see Tehillim 45:14).


Writer of the weekly Fascinating Insights Torah sheet in Englishעברית ,אידיש and français
Author of Five Books including the recently released “Magnificent Marriage Insights: Captivating Torah Essays about Marriage”

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