Monday, March 1, 2010
THE TIMELESS LESSON OF PURIM
And so we remember. Purim is more than the story of how the Jewish people were saved from the murderous plotting of one Haman, 2500 years ago. It is the story of the rise and fall of Haman but it is also the story of what happens when we forget, as the exiled Jews brought down by Babylon, stripped off their past and holy books, forgot. Instead they attended the feast. They cheered the empire. They watched the rise of evil, and failed to understand that one way or another they were bound to be among the first on its list.
And now since then, year after year, Purim reminds us. Year after year, we become part of the story again, drinking and feasting, confronting genocide and being saved by G-d and the self-sacrifice of one man who remembered, who never forgot that one does not bow to evil. Because to forget that is very dangerous. It is the first step to slavery.
While the postmodern intelligentsia have abandoned and forgotten history, treated it as a bauble in their philosophies and ideologies, history does not forget them. And so Purim comes again to remind us that we are part of history. That one cannot observe Purim and attend the feasts of Obama. The two are incompatible to anyone who remains a part of Jewish history. And so the groggers spin, the noise drowning Haman's plot in defiance. And we continue to live again the cycle of history, the holidays and Parshas that chronicle the Jewish journey from the fields of Caanan to slavery in Egypt and to free men again. The story is more than a part of us. It is who we are. For to those who choose to be Jews, we are our history and our history is ourselves.