Purim in Perspective: More Serious Than You Think

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20 Mar 2019

In a leap year we celebrate Purim in Adar Sheni in order to connect the redemption story of Purim adjacent to the redemption story of Pesach. Why is this more important than the principle of not passing over mitzvot?

The end of Babylonian exile is the first time an exile of force becomes an exile of choice and only a small group answers the call. It is at this point when the threat and story of Purim occurs. The Purim story thus becomes a paradigm for the Jewish experience in exile. The story of Purim contains several realities that repeat themselves throughout the ages.

  1. ונהפוך הוא: nothing is permanent, we can become vulnerable at any moment
  2. אסתר מן התורה מניין: seeing the Hand of God in a non-prophetic era
  3. עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי: living in a world with blurred distinctions between good and evil.
  4. Fragmented Nation: Purim is the only holiday that by design is not universally celebrated on the same day.
  5. Eyes and hearts towards home: Shushan Purim is celebrated in cities walled from the time of Yehoshua plus Shushan (the basis for the principle) is the exception!
  6. The main characters in the Megillah are prototypes

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Delivered at the OU Israel Center, March 20, 2019 (Taanit Esther 5779)