The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Shoshanat Yaakov


Shoshanat Yaakov is printed at the end of most Purim booklets (the kind people use to follow along with the megillah reading of Esther). Traditionally people launch right into Shoshanat Yaakov immediately after the brakhah that follows the megillah.

Listen to the version of Shoshanat Yaakov on B'nai Jeshurun's website

Listen to the version Reb Duvid knows
(recorded on an iPhone because my iRiver stopped working – sorry for the lower quality)

Listen to another version sung by Lubavitchers. You can see the words in Hebrew here.

You can find a whole batch of other nigunim for this song following this link from Mattisyahu Brown.

Transliteration and translation:

Shoshanat Yaakov, tzahala v'samechah bir'otam yachad t'khelet Mordechai!

T'shu'atam hayita lanetzach vetikvatam b'chol dor vador,
lehodi'a shekol kovekha lo yeivoshu
v'lo yikalmu lanetzach kol hachosim bakh.

Arur Haman asher bikesh l'abdi, barukh Mordechai haYehudi.
Arura Zeresh, eshet mafchidi, berukhah Eshter ba'adi.
Arurim kol har'sha'im, berukhim kol hatzadikim
vegam Charvonah zachur latov.

Rose of Jacob, who exulted and joyous, when they saw Mordechai's royal blue!

You were their salvation forever, their hope in each generation,
to make known that all who hope in You will not be put to shame,
nor will they be disgraced forever, all who trust in You.

Cursed be Haman who sought to destroy me; blessed be Mordechai the Jew.
Cursed be Zeresh the wife of the one who terrified me; blessed be Esther for my sake.
Cursed be all the wicked; blessed be all the righteous;
and may Charvonah also be remembered for good.

Shoshanat Yaakov is a substantial rewrite of the theology of the book of Esther, inserting a divine "Thou" in a book where God does not appear even once. Even Mordechai, the most pious figure in the book of Esther, doesn't come closer to recognizing God's presence than saying to Esther, "If you fall silent, help will come from another place."

"Place" is a rabbinic term for God of course, but that's not the p'shat, the natural meaning of this verse. The Talmud tried to shtup (stuff) God into the story by saying that the book of Esther was written with the help of divine knowledge – else how could the author(s) have known what Haman was saying "in his heart"? Another way of inserting God into the story is followed by Kabbalah and Chasidus: shekhinah, the divine presence, is symbolized by Vashti and then Esther.

In a shul where everyone knows the song and breaks out singing right at the end of the megillah reading, Shoshanat Yaakov has another function: to firmly place the phrase "Cursed be Haman, Blessed be Mordechai" in everyone's mind, installing a never-ending melody-loop of these words—thereby making it even more challenging to reach the state called "Ad delo yada", where one no longer knows the difference between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordechai".


Thank you for linking to these two melodies. Chag purim sameach to you and yours!

Posted by: Rachel at March 20, 2008 9:50 PM

Kol ha-Kavod!

The first Shoshanat Ya'akov is sung by Breslovers (although I'm not sure they originated it). Don't think you can make anything out of how the BJ folks pronounced l'hodi'a. They aren't singing in an Ashkenazi accent. There is a Breslov version recorded by Andy Statman.

Otherwise, Good Purim!


Posted by: moshe aharon at March 20, 2008 10:52 PM

Dear Reb Dovid,
Here's another incredible archive of Shoshanas Yaakovs:

A Freilichen Purim!

Posted by: Mattisyahu Brown at March 5, 2009 3:21 PM


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