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D’var Torah: Tetzaveh & Purim

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Why is the name of Hashem spelt Yud Yud in our siddurim?

The Sefer Nachalat Chamisha suggests that the origin is in Parashat Tetzaveh. There we find Hashem telling us ‘vshachanti btoch bnei Yisrael’ – ‘and I will reside within the midst of the children of Israel’. Elsewhere Hashem says ‘vshachanti btocham – I will dwell in their midst’. So why these additional words?

Says the sefer Nachlat Chamisha: the term ‘Bnei Yisrael’ is spelt out in full because the last letter of Bnei is a Yud and the first letter of Yisrael is Yud. When combined, Yud Yud represents the presence of Hashem in the midst of Bnei Yisrael – the people of Israel. In the prayers that we utter from the Siddur, we dearly like Hashem to be a part of our lives, to be in the midst of everything we are going through – the highs and the lows of our existence. Therefore Yud Yud is the spelling that is used for Hashem in our siddurim.

Reb Naftali of Ropshitz takes this one step further. He reminds us that in Chassidic thought, the Yud stands for a Yid – a Jewish person. Therefore when you have two Yuds together, that represents two Yidden, two Jewish people.

So when therefore is Hashem found in our midst? It is when Jewish people exist alongside each other in peace and harmony. This message is of particular poignancy at the time of the celebration of the festival of Purim, which always takes place in close proximity to the reading of Parshat Tetzaveh. At the very moment when we recall how our enemies sought to destroy us, it is of the greatest importance that we realise that Jewish people need to coexist peacefully. The last thing that we can afford is unnecessary and tragic divisiveness within our own ranks. So therefore, the spelling of Hashem’s name Yud Yud comes to remind us of Hashem’s desire to dwell in our midst and how we at all times need to deserve that.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach