Considered a minor holiday, Purim has a deep important meaning for our times. In fact, Rabbis tell us that even in the “olam haba”, the world to come, when all other celebrations cease to exist, we are to continue to celebrate Purim.
Why? It is because beyond the celebrations, Purim teaches us that evil has always existed, that hatred of our people, antisemitism or Jew Hatred, will continue to exist and must be confronted in every age and every country, as Mordechai and Esther and the Jews of Shoshan did.
Here are some interesting points about what Purim teaches us, taken from the Solel Congregation website:
We are to remember our family and friends, and to celebrate because we survived the enmity and hatred of Haman.
We are to share our good fortune with those in need and we are to read the symbolic story that has been (in one form or another) our history. There were those who wanted to kill us, we stood up and we survived – and we ate!
God’s name isn’t mentioned overtly once – a reminder that God helps those who help themselves. It is a woman, Esther, with the encouragement of her uncle Mordechai, who risks her own life by approaching the king to save us. The villain, Haman, is a descendant of Agog, the King of the Amalekites who is the epitome of evil as the King who attacked the Israelites fleeing Egypt from the rear, thus killing the most vulnerable.
Remember to utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek (hence all the noise when we hear Haman’s name). We stamp out, rub out and drown out even the mention of the name of our enemies.
The full Megillah reading tells us that King Ahasuerus did not revoke the edict issued at Haman’s request, to kill all the Jews, but he issued an edict that the Jews were allowed to arm themselves and resist the slaughter. The result? The Jews armed and fought and killed 70,000 armed soldiers of the Persian Empire; not just in Persia itself. Haman and his sons were hung for their plot to kill the Jews, thus betraying the king.
Let us not forget the strength of resistance, of fighting our enemies, of defending our people. So, while evil has always existed, this is a joyous holiday. We survived. Thankfully, we keep surviving because there are still Esthers and Mordechais and all those other non-Jewish neighbours as in Shushan who help us win against hatred and evil.
This is still our challenge today. To raise up our voices, to build Jewish Pride, to develop relations with allies, to educate our children about Jewish history and to stand up to the bullies, liars and those with evil intent towards the Jewish people.
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Keep those gragers /noisemakers going, Let’s vow to End Jew Hatred!