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Purim: The political playbook

12 0 1
23.02.2021

Purim is one of Judaism’s festive observances that has occupied a more marginal position within the Jewish calendar. In recent years, Purim has taken on an added dimension, as contemporary Jewish political conduct is increasingly aligned with the key actors in this drama. Numerous writers have paid particular attention to both Esther and Mordecai’s actions as essential guides toward informing and shaping Jewish political activism.[1]

Along with Chanukah this festival represents a celebratory moment, absent any reference to God. The rabbis noted that there would be times in the experience of the Jewish people, when the community would need to act on its own in preserving Judaism. This concept of self-reliance has become a central theme in connection with modern Jewish history, as our people would sadly learn that there would be times when we would stand-alone against some of history’s most brutal tyrants. In those moments Jews would experience the silence of the “good people” who would fail to act on behalf of our collective welfare.

We are reminded, especially during this pandemic, that we are all required to wear face masks, and indeed we find the same scenario as we play our respective Purim roles:[2]

On Purim, we hide our faces wearing masks because, in a way, everyone in the Purim story was wearing a mask. King Ahasuerus hid his authority and gave it to Haman. Esther hid her background and even changed her name from Hadassah to hide her religion. Mordecai hid the fact that he was Esther’s uncle, and Haman hid his plot to kill the Jews. But the most significant “hidden character” in the Purim story is G-d.

Beyond the political masks that define us, this holiday also frames a set of political principles, according to Yoram Hazony:

“Some........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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