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The Puzzling Story of the Megillah

February 17, 2010, by

The story of Esther tells us in the most lively, realistic fashion, with a tinge of refined yet biting sarcasm, about paradoxical, absurd events, which are both tragic and comical at the same time. We are told a story of a king who, as our Rabbis have already remarked, killed his beautiful, beloved, young queen

Lev Yehudi: Gather the Jews

March 12, 2009, by

On Purim night, OU Israel’s Lev Yehudi program hosted an evening of grogger making, megillah reading and entertainment. Lev Yehudi reaches out to Jews in the Tel Aviv area, introducing them to their Jewish heritage and Jewish customs, and for many participants this was a Purim like they had never experienced before. “The guy who

Where is the Tomb of Mordechai and Esther?

March 9, 2009, by

A few months ago, the normally hostile Iranian regime took the rather unusual step of adding a Jewish holy site to its National Heritage List. On December 9, 2008, Iranian news outlets reported that the tomb of Mordechai and Esther, heroes of the Purim saga, would now be under official government protection and responsibility. The

Persia, 369 BCE – 355 BCE

March 5, 2009, by

Miriam nervously stirred the pot of overcooked lentils, as she watched Shmuel putting on his finest silk robe. “Don’t you think there is something wrong with you going to a party that celebrates our people’s downfall? Some king thinks our exile has gone beyond its prescribed seventy year limit, he throws a party to show

Tetzaveh: Obligation to Sleep on Purim

March 5, 2009, by

One of the lesser-known duties of the Purim holiday is the obligation to sleep. This obligation is mentioned explicitly in the Rema: “A person should drink more than he his accustomed to, so that he may sleep” (OC 695:2). The source for this obligation is the statement of Rava, that a person is obligated “livsumei

Second Thoughts: From Badbad to Kushwait

March 4, 2009, by

I dunno – I just don’t know. You’d think that after 2365 years the story would be over already. Finished, old hat, dead as a doornail and utterly boring. I mean, how long can the same story keep happening, over and over again, even in up-dated versions? Yet here it is again in all its

Zachor: Remember Not to Forget

March 4, 2009, by

Blackberry or Treo or iPhone. I won’t pasken on this vexing contemporary shayla. Either way, it is the business of a multi-billion dollar enterprise, the memory industry. Capitalizing on human frailty, the PDA offers compensation; in a world moving ever so quickly, we dare not forget that crucial meeting nor miss that all-important birthday (anniversary,

Cunning General, Hidden Empress

March 3, 2009, by

Purim, and disguise the limit! Tradition has us featuring costumes relating to the characters named in the Megillah (The, ummm… err… extensive and quite thorough… story of Purim) as hiding the truth inside an inapt metaphor is part of the holiday theme . What’s it all about, then? We read in Devarim 31: “…And I

A Traditional Purim Feast. Brought Up to Date.

March 3, 2009, by

When Jayne Cohen and her sister returned home after their grandmother had passed away, they were determined to recreate the holiday dishes they had grown up on. But neither had ever attempted these traditional recipes. Those had been Grandma’s province. “We had never thought to copy down her recipes,” Cohen lamented. “But we shared a