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March 14, 2003

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~,~RITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 14, 2003 . PAGE 17 By Isaac Klein "The Jews ordained and took pon themselves and upon ~evir descendants that these Ys of Purim should not cease rom among the Jews, nor the ~emory of them perish from ~nong their descendants to ~serve these days of Purim at ~eir appointed (Esther time" :27-31). The festival of Purim is OaSed on the story in the Book . fEsther. While scholars have r~ldifficulty in identifying the time and the characters of the Story, there is no doubt that !eWish tradition and the Jew- ~h people have accepted the went as authentic, and the ~lebration of Purim as based a firm foundation. Unlike qanukkah, which is post-bib- !iealand is not even mentioned in the M ish nab, Pu rim is based 0n a book of the Bible; a ~ractate of the Mishnah and almud is devoted to it as well. PUrim attained great popu- ~rit7 it the because reflected rennial problem of the Jew- ~h, People----animosity against ,~e Jew. Haman's accusa- !! n~"There is a certain i Ple scattered abroad and ISpersed among the Oples ', (Esther 3:8)--has repeated in every age. :ue celebration of Purim ~rves to strengthen our ople, enabling them to face ~ h accusations with dignity ~ 1 COurage, and inspiring ~.~qern with the hope of final tory over their enemies. J Elaborating on this point ~ofessor Kaplan says: "Out of e reaction of the Jews in the past to their status as a minor- ity everywhere in the Diaspora there evolved a remarkable philosophy of life or system of spiritual values. It is remark- able not only for its influence in sustaining the courage of the Jew in desperate situations, but for its inherent worth. Being in the minority, Jews were expected to accept the life-pattern of a conquered people. They were expected to adopt the standards imposed on them by the majority, with good grace, if they could, or with sullen resentment, if they must. They did neither. In- stead they formulated a phi- losophyoflifewhich prevented the conquest from being con- summated" (The Meaning of God, p. 363). The corollary of this is not that we face hatred with faith and courage, but rather that we find meaning in the mi- nority status that so often makes us the target for the slings and arrows of our en- emies. "It is therefore neces- sary," says Professor Kaplan, "as it is appropriate, to make of the Feast of Purim, and of the special Sabbath preceding it, an occasion for considering anew the difficulties that in- here in our position as'a people scattered and dispersed among the nations.' It is important that Jews know the nature of these difficulties in order that they may better equip them- selves to meet them. Those days should make Jews con- scions of the spiritual values which their position as a mi- nority group everywhere in the diaspora should lead them to evolve, and of the dangers which they must be prepared to overcome, if they expect to survive as a minority group" (ibid pp. 361-62). It is perhaps for this reason that the rabbis said that even when all the other festivals are abolished, Purim will remain (Midrash Mishle 9:2). 5. The Observance of Purim The Sabbath preceding Purim is called Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Re- membrance. It is one of the arba parshiot preceding Pesach, discussed in unit 7 in connection with Pesach. Its association with Purim is based on the tradition that Haman was a descendant of the tribe of Amalek. Further- more, Amalek and Haman had in common the desire to anni- hilate the Jewish people, and both were frustrated in their designs. The day before Purim, the thirteenth of Adar, is a fast day. If Purim is on a Sunday, the fast day is observed on the preceding Thursday (O.H. 686:2). The four statutory public fasts will be discussed later (see next unit). They are observed in memory of the tragic events connected with the destruc- tion of Jerusalem and the loss of the Jewish state. The Fast of Esther is a statutory public fast of a similar nature, but it is connected with another calam- ity that threatened the exist- ence of the Jewish people. The precedent for this fast is found in the Book of Esther. When Mordecai informed Esther of Haman's plans, she asked him to proclaim a three-day fast (Esther 4:16). It is in memory of this that we fast on the day before Purim (0.11. 686:1). Noting that the fast pro- claimed by Esther was not on the thirteenth of Adar, some authorities offer a different ex- planation. When the children of Israel gathered together on the thirteenth of Adar to de- fend themselves against their enemies, they were in a state of war, and preparations for war always included a public fast (see O.H. 686 in Mishnah Berurah 2; Ziv Haminhagim, p. 275, no. 7). A modern commentator suggests that the Jews fasted on the thirteenth of Adar be- cause they were so occupied with defending themselves that they had no opportunity to eat (Rabinowitz, Hol Umo'ed, p. 72; Munk, Worldof Prayer, 2:311). Since the fast of the thir- teenth of Adar is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, the rabbis were lenient about its observance (O.H. 686:7 in Rama; Ziv Haminhagim, p. 275). The primary observance con- nected with Purim is the read- ing of the Book of Esther, usu- ally called the megilla (Scroll). It is read twice: in the evening, after the 'Amidah of Ma'ariv and before alenu; and in the morning after the Torah read- ing (B. Meg. 4a; O.H. 687:!). The Megillah is read from a parchment scroll that is writ- ten the same way a Torah is written--i.e by hand, and with a goose quill (O.H. 690:3). If there is no such scroll avail- able, the congregation may ing the ten sons of Haman read the Book of Esther from a (Esther 9:7-10) are said in one printed text, without the ac- breath to signify that they died companying benedictions,together (B.Meg. 16b).Another The Megillah is chanted ac- reasonhasalsobeensuggested: cording to a special We should avoid the appear- cantillation used only in the ance ofgloatingover their fate, reading of the Book of Esther, even though it was deserved If no one is presentwho knows (Vainstein, Cycle of the Jewish this cantillation,it may be read Year, p. 135). without the cantillation, as It is a widespread Purim long as it is read correctly custom forthelistenersatthe (Qitsur Shuihan 'Arukh Megillah reading to make 141:18). It may be read in the noise, usually with special language of the land (O.H. noisemakers called groggers, 690:9). In practice, however, whenever Haman's name is~ reading the Megillah in any mentioned. This is an out- but the original language is to growth of a custom once preva- be avoided ('Arukhlent in France and the Hashulhan, O.H. 690:16). To- Provence, where the children day in particular, whenweseek wrote the name on smooth to emphasize the use of the stones, then struck them to- sacred tongue whenever pos- gether whenever Haman was sible, we should not encour- mentioned in the reading so age any deviation from the as to rub it off, as suggested by prevailing practice, the verse, "the name of the Before the reading, the wickedshali rot"(Prov. 10:7; scrollisunrolledandfoldedto Abudraham Hashalern, p. look like a letter of dispatch, 209; O.H. 690:17 in Rama). In thus further recalling the story some places this practice is dis- of the great deliverancecouraged because it makes it (Maimonides, Hil. Megillah difficultforworshipperstohear 2:12). The reading is preceded the reader (ibid. and also in by three benedictions and fol- Mishnah Berurah, n. 59 and n. Iowedbyone(O.H. 692:l).The 57theretoofSha'arHatsiyun). three before the reading are The Megillah should be read sheasanesim, al mekramegila, in the synagogue in the pres- and shehechianu. The bene- ence ofa minyan. Ifa minyan is diction following the reading not available it may be read is harav et revnu, even for one individual (O.H. The Megillah must be read 690:18). Those who cannot at- standing and from the scroll, tend services in the synagogue not by heart (O.H. may read the Megillah at home 690:1, 7). During the read- (Rama on O.H. 690:18). ing four verses, termed''verses Source: A Guide to Jewish of redemption" (pesuke g'ula), Religious Practice by Rabbi 'are said aloud by the congrega- Isaac Klein. Copyright 1979, tion and then repeated by the 1992, The Jewish Theological reader. The verses enumerat- Seminary of America. By Jane Ulman Calif. (JTA)--On of March 18, my 13, will slather a of extra-hold gel on Unnaturally red-streaked and sculpt it into porcu- spines. two sizes them low embedded with 116 pyra- Studs. His plaid boxers exposed. layer a short-sleeved rt over a long-sleeved With silver, black and red his arms. Purim 5763 and Jer- as himself. won't be joining a of kids masquerading Esther, Mordechai, King Ahasuerus or SquarePants. have to wait until to hang out at the Carnival's bean bag to accumulate ig tickets to bag goldfish. is Purim 5763 and will be spending the at the Los Angeles Courthouse working Projects with kids who case photo by Jane Ulman Moses; it's Jane U/man's dressed for Purim festivities No, this is not actually THE grandfather, William Snyder, circa 1922. risk" and who face long anXiouslyawaitingcourt erty to assisting at a local el- liam Snyder, used to say. "A ementary school, nice Jewish girl marries a gen- the entire middle "Unfair," Jeremy and his tile king, and afterward every- at Abraham Joshua friends protest, especially one gets drunk." Rabbi Day School in when they see their friends Ferdinand Isserman, senior Calif will spendand siblings preparing for a rabbi at Temple Israel in St. engaged in one full day of festivities. Louis from 1929 to 1963, took Community service "Right on," I counter, ex- his opposition to Purim a step ranging from deliv- posing my age as well as my further; he made the holiday n eals to people with antipathy toward Purim.practically nonexistent. sorting and packing "Purim, what's that to cei- living in pov- ebrate?" my grandfather, Wil- See "Purim" on page 32 100 Our t,ot, ularity is on the 90 gracious retirement living |0 ~0 ;0 0 www.tremont, net Come take a tour and see for yourself, Our impressive amenities provide you with a gra- cious lifestyle at an affordable monthly rentl Resident managers on-site 24 hours a day No buy-in fees or leases Paid cable TV and utilities (except telephone) Nutritious chef-prepared meals served daily Weekly housekeeping and linen service Scheduled. local transportation Numerous activities to participate in Emergency pull-cords in every apartment Swimming pool and community room Spacious studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments are available now. 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