Thursday, March 24, 2016


1) Yesterday when I saw the headline "ADL Condemns Cruz for 'Demonizing Muslims'" after the Brussels attack, I thought this must be an early Purim edition.  Sadly, it was not. Rather than focus on fighting the hatred directed against Jews and against Israel, particularly by the Islamic world, the ADL has to spend time looking for a kol she'hu of an  insinuation in what Cruz said so they can run and cry Islamophobia and defend the enemy.  Can you imagine what would organization like this what have done in the time of Mordechai and Esther?  Amalekphobia!  Just because Haman as a problem with Mordechai, who, after all, is a right wing extremist and therefore deserves to be scorned, does not mean all Amalekites are to be blamed.  Besides which, the Jews were building in Jerusalem, so in all fairness, you can't blame Haman for wanting to kill women and children.  And then imagine the reaction when the report of 75,000 Amalekim killed would reach their ears!  They would be apoplectic. 

This fifth column among us angers and saddens me more than the behavior of our enemy. 

2) Right after Haman made his decree, the megillah (ch 4) relates that Mordechai told Esther "es kol asher korahu."  Malbim explains that Mordechai told Esther that he was the cause of Haman's decree because he refused to bow.  The emphasis is  "korahu" = what happened to him, i.e. it was his personal standoff and fight that had now been escalated.  The Midrash reads the pasuk differently.  "Korahu" is a hint to "asher korcha ba'derech," the battle against Amalek, from whom Haman descended, that "happened" on the road out of Mitzrayim. 

I think the pshat and derash here teach us how a Jew is supposed to look at events.  The pshat is "korahu" -- it is my personal battle, unique to my time, my place, the events surrounding me.  The derash sees the same battle as part of a larger historical context.  It's not your battle -- it's a battle that has been going on for eons, fought over centuries in different times and different places by different people, and you are just a continuation and part of the larger picture.  What happens to us is part of the eternal history of Klal Yisrael.

3) "Chayav inish l'besumei b'Puria" -- I saw one of the chassidishe seforim explains it means that a person has to become intoxicated with the spirit of the chag, the meaning of the day. 

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