August 19, 2017

Hey, It’s Purim Sunday Night!!!

And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword….And the Lord said unto Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and tell it unto the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven..the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”- Exodus 17:14

That’s the way the Big Boys talked in the old days,when conversations with the Lord were commonplace and Amalek and his pals were freely labeled as the rabid dogs they were for picking off stragglers, attacking and killing Jews out of hand just for the pure sport and profit of it as the Jews moved through the desert after leaving Pharaoh’s Egypt. No illusions there…you have to defeat evil, not negotiate with it. G-d said so,and He most likely knew what He was talking about.In any event He’d been right enough times so that Moses, Aaron and Joshua weren’t about to argue the point.They defeated Amalek and then proceeded on their way in peace.

Nowadays, the UN would be thumping for a state for Amalek and shrugging off the murder of Jewish women and children as ‘resistance’. And giving them millions in foreign aid while warning the Jews against a ‘disproportionate response.’

Note another thing about the above passage…it says there will be war with Amalek from generation to generation,and gives the Jews the responsibility of fighting in that war to defeat evil wherever it rears its ugly head.

The Jews commemorate one victory over a latter day manifestation of Amalek Sunday night when they celebrate Purim, the victory of Queen Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman, who tried to manipulate the King of Persia into signing on to the murder, enslavement and plunder of every Jew in Persia.

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Yes, the idea of  genocidal maniacs with a hatred for Jews isn’t new. Nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon said in Koheles (Ecclesiastes). The only thing that changes is the players.

The Megillah, which is read in every synagogue in the world at Purim relates how Queen Esther,wife of the king could have reacted the way a great many people would have, by simply pretending that what was going on didn’t concern her,and rationalizing it. Sound familiar? Instead, she realized that a threat to her people was a threat to her, even as high up and removed as the King’s palace. She took the commandment to battle Amalek to heart and risked her life and position to defeat Haman and his evil allies and, along with her brother Mordecai, lead her people to victory.

Purim is preceded by a fast in honor of Esther, and then,well,  it’s party time! Many Jews observe the custom of sending a special basket of goodies to friends and family, the megillah reading is a noisy and joyous affair especially loved by children, celebrations and costumes abound, and even a bit of liquid libation is quite common…

Think of it a sort of like the Jewish equivalent of carnival, only without the steel pan music and the skimpy bikinis.

As far as I’m concerned, Purim may have special meaning for the Jews, but it ought to belong to the whole world. It’s a joyous fete celebrating the triumph of good over evil.

And I’ll let my pal Yakov at Dry Bones let you in on a little something, the hidden joke of the whole holiday:

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Chag Purim Sameach!