By Mati G Cohen
Purim is one of the two main Jewish holidays (the other being Chanukah) which were cannoned during the period of Jewish exile in commemoration of Jewish National perseverance against destructive and oppressive forces which sought to annihilate the Jewish culture, religion and ethnic heritage.
Purim—which is commemorated by communal reading and recounting of the book of Esther, along with festivities, feasts and drinking—celebrates the Jewish victory over unimaginable adversity over the course of history. The sages acknowledge Purim as the least supernatural of the Jewish holidays, yet the miracle of is existence is said to be the positive outcome of seemingly random events. Through celebrating this holiday, we see that Purim in actually is a result of a political drama stemming from the political influence of the Jewish Queen Esther in response to maltreatment of Jews as a separate people. Her actions were guided by her responsibility to her people and heritage and the result, the proposed genocide of the Jews of Ancient Persia was prevented.
Purim has always resonated with Jews in exile throughout history, yet today more than ever, the parallels between what was and what is now seem most relevant—especially when the political climate concerning Iran, the United States and Israel is taken into account.
As Mordecai told Queen Esther in his expression for all those in “the king’s palace” to stand up as if in their own self-interest:
“Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
I encourage my Jewish people to celebrate Purim in order to understand their history, as the implications of this holiday matter more now for in our collective future than ever before.
To read the Book of Esther today would be to understand the subliminal climate happening around us. Shall we never remain quiet in the face of hatred of those who seek to harm us.
Happy Purim! May it be a meaningful and enjoyable one!!