Sunday, March 4, 2007

Purim, Subversion and Vengeance

The decision of the sages to include the Book of Esther in the canon of our sacred writings despite its indifference to theological language emphasizes its value. The rabbis warn us not to rely upon miracles and therefore praying for a miracle in times of danger is bad policy. Instead, what is required of us is action based upon certain historically validated principles.


"The story of the Book of Esther also shows us how we can influence the regime from within, as Queen Esther did, and from without, like Mordecai did when he revealed the plot of Bigthan and Teresh, by defying Haman, by demonstrating by the palace and by demanding that Esther make use of the agreement she had made with Ahasuerus the king.",2506,L-3371983,00.html


The moral of the story is rather clear. If Jews want to survive, they better find infiltrates into the corridors of power. With Esther, Mordechai and Purim in mind, AIPAC and the notion of 'Jewish power' looks like an embodiment of a deep Biblical and cultural ideology ...

In the Book of Esther it is the Jews who believe in themselves, in their own power, in their uniqueness, in their sophistication, in their ability to conspire, in their ability to take over kingdoms, in their ability to save themselves. The Book of Esther is all about empowerment and the Jews who believe in their powers.


Purim is not a holiday for the politically correct but it's a lot of fun ...It is also the time of year we are reminded of the decree to "Remember what Amalek did" to us - a brutal attack on the Israelites following the Exodus - and "obliterate Amalek's remembrance from under heaven."


[Baruch] Goldstein ... slaughtered 40 Palestinian men and boys while they knelt in prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque at Hebron's Machpela Cave, on Purim 1994.

... Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, the head of an Israeli yeshiva ... declares in Baruch Hagever that what Goldstein did in murdering the unarmed Palestinian civilians at their house of worship, constitutes, "a fulfillment of a number of commands of Jewish religious law ... Among his (Goldstein's) good deeds, as enumerated, are ... taking revenge on non-Jews, extermination of the non-Jews who are from the seed of Amalek ... and the sanctification of the Holy Name.

"The murders have led, in the rabbi's opinion, to ... clear knowledge among the Jews that 'the life of a Jew is preferable to the life of a non-Jew'...

"Goldstein is indeed being worshipped as a saint in (the Jewish settlement ) Kiryat Arba. His intercession before God is asked by pilgrims and it is reported that he cures the ill and generally helps those Jews who ask his help." (Sources: Ma'ariv, October 11, 1996; Jerusalem Post, November 12, 1996; Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January, 1997.)


Here lies the saint, Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, blessed be the memory of the righteous and holy man, may the Lord avenge his blood, who devoted his soul to the Jews, Jewish religion and Jewish land. His hands are innocent and his heart is pure. He was killed as a martyr of God on the 14th of Adar, Purim, in the year 5754 (1994).
(Epitaph inscribed on the tombstone of Baruch Goldstein)


NEW YORK, March 18 (JTA) — Purim celebrates the ancient Jewish victory over evil in Persia, but this year (2003) it also signaled war against Iraq ...

Blu Greenberg, an Orthodox feminist leader based in New York, supports the Bush administration’s campaign against Iraq as a “preventive war,” much as the ancient Jews defended themselves against Haman’s plot to destroy them.

Watching President Bush’s speech to the nation on Monday, Greenberg said she was struck by the similarities between the talmudic principle that “if someone comes to kill you, you should rise up and kill them first,” ...

Rabbi Martin Weiner of San Francisco, outgoing president of the Reform movement’s rabbinical union, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, used Shabbat Zachor to draw a line from Amalek to Hitler to Saddam ...

Last September, Weiner was among those who backed a resolution from the Reform movement’s Union of American Hebrew Congregations urging a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, if Congress supported it and U.N. backing was sought ...

Like others, [Rabbi Yosef] Kanefsky also found it hard to ignore Purim’s messages, particularly since the 1991 Gulf War also ended on Purim.(Jewish Telegraph Agency, March 18, 2003)


PURIMFEST, 2006--Other than in some equatorial banana republic, where else could an image like this one be seen, than in Israeli occupied territory? An Israeli tank blitzkrieging a Palestinian jail for no reason other than to display Israel's barbaric might and rub the nose of the Palestinians deeper into the ground of their humiliation and occupation, in the hope that the Palestinian victims will retaliate and strike back with armed resistance, which the western media will then play up to Israeli advantage.

On Israel Radio, Israeli leader leader Avigdor Lieberman urged Israel's military to use its air force to "erase" the jail complex, and to topple its structures onto the Palestinian prisoners trapped inside."There is no point in drawing this out," Lieberman said. "The air force should do something. There is no point in endangering IDF (Israeli) soldiers. We should simply erase that building, bring it down on all those hiding out there." [Cf. Haaretz, "As siege went on, Lieberman urged: Bomb prison, erase it," March 14, 2006,]

This being Purim, the Palestinain prisoners were forced to strip to their underwear in front of cameras. Even partial nudity is considered a deep shame in Arab cultures. It is not a coincidence that these Palestinian men were stripped of their humanity during the festival of Purim, Judaism's barbaric celebration of eternal vengeance.

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