Tag Archives: Purim

Happy Purim 2018

Purim in the year 2018. In the short video 4:47 long, you can have a cliff notes version of Purim if you want to watch it.

So the wicked Haman’s plan was to eliminate the Jews, once and for all, the “final solution”. In case you didn’t know this, Haman is a descendant of Amalek, yep, the one I talked about recently. Some people think that Hitler’s holocaust was the first attempt. Hardly. But an Alaskan congress critter recently seemed to have stirred up a kerfluffle recently when he stated

A congressman from Alaska suggested that Jews were “put in the ovens” by Nazis during World War II because they did not have guns.

This is arguable? I guess, by some. But it’s a Demoncrat who wants to run against him

The head of the Anti-Defamation League has called the claim a “distortion of history.”

With all due respect to the ADL…and really, that’s not much respect.

Let’s take just a brief look at a well known time and place in history for illustration. The Warsaw Ghetto. The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto held out longer than the country of Poland. How did that happen?

Cue dreamy sequence, you know, mist, clouds, soft music swirly colors…..

Mordecai Anielewicz: “Ok, the nazis are going to come down this street here. Sarah, when they pass your position you fling your pink hat with pointy ears into their path that should totally disorient them and shame them for at least five minutes. Then  Dovid, you and Yigal grab your rolled up copies of the New York Slimes and Haaretz and attack from the rear while they are still immobilized from shame. Then Shannon and Whoopie can run by bravely showing off the safety pins on their jackets all the while screaming “HASHTAG SAFE SPACE, HASHTAG SAFE SPACE”. As the nazis begin to retreat in fear of hearing “HASHTAG ME TOO” Michael, Rachel, Leah and Josef can march with the “gun free zone” signs and hit them with those. If we are successful, we should have the nazis cleared out in about thirty minutes! Then we will hang our new nazi Free Zone sign at the entrance!”

Pretty good spiel, huh?

Reality:

Two Jewish underground organisations fought in the Warsaw Uprising: the left wing Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ŻOB) founded in July 1942 by Zionist Jewish youth groups within the Warsaw Ghetto;and the right wing Żydowski Związek Wojskowy (ŻZW), or Jewish Military Union, a national organization founded in 1939 by former Polish military officers of Jewish background which had strong ties to the Polish Home Army, and cells in almost every major town across Poland. However both organisations were officially incorporated into the Polish Home Army and its command structure in exchange for weapons and training.

Marek Edelman, who was the only surviving uprising commander from the left-wing ŻOB, stated that the ŻOB had 220 fighters and each was armed with a handgun, grenades, and Molotov cocktails. His organization had three rifles in each area, as well as two land mines and one submachine gun. Due to its socialist leanings, the Soviets promoted the actions of ŻOB as the dominant or only party in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a view often adopted by secondary sources in the West.

The right-wing faction ŻZW which was founded by former Polish officers, was larger, more established and had closer ties with the Polish resistance, making it better equipped. Zimmerman describes the arm supplies for the uprising as “limited but real”. Specifically, Jewish fighters of the ŻZW received from the Polish Home Army: 2 heavy machine guns, 4 light machine guns, 21 submachine guns, 30 rifles, 50 pistols, and over 400 grenades for the uprising. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, ŻZW is reported to have had about 400 well-armed fighters grouped in 11 units, with 4 units including fighters from the Polish Home Army. Due to the ŻZW’s anti-socialist stand and close ties with the Polish Home Army (which was subsequently outlawed by the Soviets), the Soviets suppressed publication of books and articles on ŻZW after the war and downplayed its role in the uprising, in favour of the more socialist ŻOB.

More weapons were supplied throughout the uprising, and some were captured from the Germans. Some weapons were handmade by the resistance; sometimes such weapons worked, other times they jammed repeatedly.

Shortly before the uprising, Polish-Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum (who managed to escape from the Warsaw Ghetto, but was later discovered and executed in 1944) visited a ŻZW armoury hidden in the basement at 7 Muranowska Street. In his notes, which form part of Oneg Shabbat archives, he reported:

They were armed with revolvers stuck in their belts. Different kinds of weapons were hung in the large rooms: light machine guns, rifles, revolvers of different kinds, hand grenades, bags of ammunition, German uniforms, etc., all of which were utilized to the full in the April “action”. (…) While I was there, a purchase of arms was made from a former Polish Army officer, amounting to a quarter of a million złoty; a sum of 50,000 złoty was paid on account. Two machine guns were bought at 40,000 złoty each, and a large amount of hand grenades and bombs.

If the ADL is right, then history is wrong and the Jews in the ghetto should never have died, right? Why were they trying so hard to get their hands on more weapons? What good would they have done? Right ADL?

Poland is currently attempting to rewrite their own history by criminalizing speech. You can’t say certain things anywhere (according to Poland) without fear of incurring their wrath and a lawsuit. Yes, the death camps were a Nazi invention. But the Pole’s had plenty of their own antisemitism. And plenty of it was on display after WWII, after the nazis were beaten.

Anti-Jewish violence in Poland, 1944–1946

Anti-Jewish violence in Central and Eastern Europe, 1944–46

A Zehut member, the brilliant Lisa Liel writes in a column A lesson from the Megillah

Why did Esther want the Jews to be able to defend themselves on the 14th, when that decree was no longer in force?

Which brings us to the second thing she asked for. She wanted the dead bodies of Haman’s 10 sons, the heroes of the anti-Jewish forces, strung up on the gallows that their father had been hanged on. Not to kill them, because they were already dead. But as a symbolic gesture, letting the anti-Jewish forces know that they weren’t just beaten for the day, but that they were done.

Esther wasn’t stupid, though. She knew what the reaction would be when the Jew-haters woke up the next morning and saw Haman’s sons twisting in the wind. And that is why she asked for special dispensation to fight and kill any enemies who rose up against them. Because she intended to provoke them into it.

So why do it? Why provoke them and then ask for permission to protect her people from the results of her provocation? And here’s where we can learn something from Queen Esther.

Peace with those who want to murder you for who you are is not obtained through treaties or compromise. Nations that have economic differences or other policy differences can end wars with a compromise. But when one side is dedicated to the destruction of the other, compromise is suicidal. The aggressor must be dealt with decisively. Beaten soundly and made to feel that they have absolutely lost. Otherwise, they’ll just come back and try again.

This whole column is really good and worth the reading.

It is much the same with those who promote defenselessness as a good strategy for survival. Of course they have their guards, their walls and their security methods, but for the unwashed masses in general, no, no, we’re much safer without guns amongst us. So they tell us, repeatedly. They just keep coming back and at us from different directions to try to mandate us into a state of defenselessness. They try again and again. Some are useful idiots, they’ve been brought up to believe it, they watch cnn #FakeNews and msnbc #FakeNews and believe them. The NY Slimes, they believe. Some are not useful idiots, they know very well people will be left virtually helpless to stop attacks. But they want to keep themselves safe from us! Which always raises the question for me “What do they want to do, that they can not do if people like me are armed and prepared?” Well modern day Haman? What’s the answer?

And Persia, has Persia changed much from the Persia of old? Iran official threatens Israel: ‘We’ll level Tel Aviv to the ground’ Um, not so much, no.

In the Purim story it took a brave Jewish Queen, Ester, her cousin Mordecai and a decree to allow the Jews to defend themselves.

How’s about we learn from history and quit asking or letting our legislators legislate us into defenselessness. Because that just never works out well for the law abiding innocent citizen.

Purim is a holiday of joy and victory. They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!

אוזני המן, Oznei Haman Haman’s Ears

And because it is Purim, and I love Purim, I have a little movie for you. YES, it does have a horse in it! A real one! It is a parody of the video What Does The Fox Say, but this one is pretty cool.

חג פורים שמח Chag Purim Samach, Happy Purim!

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Reflections on/of Purim

Yes, I do realize Purim was a week ago, but we still need a column on Purim, because, well Purim is amazing. It does seem like a fairy tale. Kings, beautiful orphan girls becoming a queen (without needing a glass slipper) and a evil toad Amalekite, fancy dress balls and lots of chocolate.

Two easy fun ways you can become familiar with Purim if you don’t know what the big deal is. A cartoon, cartoons are usually good.

OR your can see this very cool memegillah. It’s the story of Ester told in memes,  like Facebook. I must say, the kitten ones are very cute, as are the squirrel ones. I thank Y.B. for steering me to this.

http://memegillah.tumblr.com/

A couple of interesting points I learned from reading this year. When King Achashverosh commanded Queen Vashti to come to his six month long party celebrating that the temple would never be rebuilt, he didn’t just say, “Hey, it’s a happening party babe, come on over”. Nope, I just learned he commanded her to come wearing her royal crown. Nothing else, just the royal crown. I have sympathy for Vashti. Till I read further and find out she is the granddaughter of Nebuchadnezzar who had conquered Judea and destroyed the Holy Temple and convinced King Achashverkerchoo not to allow the Temple to be rebuilt. The party was to celebrate that the Temple would never be rebuilt. Sympathy for Vashti now =0.

Hamen, he was a decedent of the Amakalites. So there may be some historical reason behind evil Haman’s hatred of Mordachai. He initially offered King Achashverkerchoo money to be allowed to kill all the Jews. King Achashverkerchoo said “naw, good plan, you can do it for free”. The king is no hero.

The king can’t just “undo” his order to his kingdom to kill all the Jews and seize their property. No, that takes ANOTHER special memorandum. I chewed on that one. Without the government permission slip saying Jews were allowed to defend themselves they were just going to be slaughtered. Wow. Life was cheap to King Achashverkerchoo, at least Jewish life. The UN must be a descendant of King Achashverkerchoo because they don’t believe that self defense is a human right either.

So G-d worked through Mordachai and Esther to save the people because they were willing to do as he asked.

And the Temple? King Achashverkerchoo and Esther had a son, Daryavesh, (Darius). Daryavesh commanded the Temple be rebuilt. HAHAHAHA! Take that King Achashverkerchoo!

So that’s my reflections ON Purim.

But wait, there’s more.

In a recent newspaper column Hamass claimed murder of pieceful palestinians is part of Purim.

He added that the “settlers” celebrate their Jewish holidays by performing “horrible crimes of murder with the support of the occupation government and military commanders” and that there is a rabbinic “blessing” which “permits murdering and executing every Palestinian without discretion.”

The column tells us that the attacks in Ankara were committed by a terrorist that had followed the Israeli tourists from the time they left the hotel.

This column warns that Jews & Christians have been warned by Turkish police:

Jews and Christians are believed to be the target of the terror organization’s future terror attacks in the country. The warning comes just a week after three Israelis were murdered in a terror attack that took place in Istanbul, which was carried out by an ISIS terrorist.

And as we know now, there was a horrible bomb blast on Easter directed at children on a playground.

Antisemitism is on the rise in Europe and campuses across the US, often masquerading as Boycott Divest & Sanction.

Yes, the spirit of wicked Hamen is still alive and doing well, doing very well indeed.

A refection OF Purim I would say.

But it is a column about Purim, I don’t want to leave you on a down note. So think about your costume for next year, remember “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat. “ and enjoy this.

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Purim Reflections

If you are unfamiliar with Purim, why and what is being celebrated, there is a helpful video at the end. The story of Purim comes from the Book of Esther in the Tanakh, or First Testament. The name “Purim” comes from the word “Pur” which means “Lots” as Haman, the villain of the story cast lots to determine which day he would destroy the Jews. Haman became miffed at the Jews because Mordechai, Esther’s Uncle, would not bow down before him. Haman was quite impressed with himself. So this year’s Purim is very interesting to me, being a patterns person and all. So under the “The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same” banner let’s have a look.

One of the things one does on Purim is hear the reading of the story of Esther, usually in a Synagogue. Let’s contrast that with the Temple Mount, the one that is the holiest sight in Judaism. For sometime now muslims have been attempting to prevent Jews from going to visit the temple mount. They are already forbidden to pray there. The muslims have rioted near the area where the Jews are allowed to gain entrance to prevent them from entering. When they do enter, they are attacked verbally and lately, physically. Some of the muslims attempting to stop the Jewish visitors from seeing the temple mount are now children who shout “Allahu Akbar” Luckily the police were right there to stop it. Oh, wait, my bad. They were right there, they just didn’t stop it. Nor did they intervene when a member of the waqf guard assaulted a Jewish visitor. Physically, not just verbally. But, hey, good luck, because the Israeli police were right there this time and they sprang into action, and they.. oops, my bad again. They were right there, they just didn’t do anything. Ok, so this year reading the story of Esther on the Temple Mount was not a promising proposition.

Another part of Purim is a lovely meal, traditional food would include Oznei Haman or Hamantaschen filled with poppyseed filling. Although I have now seen a huge variety of filling choices I want to try. So let’s see what is of interest this year in the food category. Ahh, back to the Temple Mount. I see they are having a delightful FREE, yes FREE Al Aqsa Buffet. But wait, that can’t be, because that would be illegal. And calculated to offend, much like their playing football on the Temple Mount. Think of it as carrying on a lively soccer game in the House of Worship of your denomination. Not on the athletic field behind the building. In the sanctuary. To Jews the entire Temple Mount is holy, to muslims, not so much. Just the al aqsa mosque, which is why they have destroyed Jewish artifacts trying to erase the Jewish presence.

So what else for Purim. Ah, costumes. I rethought my first choice, and came up with a better idea. I’m sure that’s common, thinking through the costume and what you want to do with it. Thankfully we’ve come many years from when a madman wanted to wipe every trace of Jews from the earth. Except we haven’t. A mere couple weeks ago a young man named Avraham Goldschmidt was attacked on his way to a wedding by a knife wielding manic. Avraham fought him off with his tefillin bag while shouting if someone had a weapon to “neutalize him”. It was Avraham’s good fortune that Nir Barkat is the mayor of Jerusalem and not someone like Bloomers, DeBlasio (is that still his name this week?) or any of the astroturf group Mayors Against Self-Defense. Nope Nir is cut from a different cloth. His bodyguards drew their guns and Nir rushed the terrorist after he dropped the knife. All this can be viewed on closed circuit TV. Which despite the videocams being right there did actual zip/nada to stop the crime. A thought for those that think those security cams are useful. Along with tefillin, Jews often wear a Kippah. Now that’s not part of a costume per se, but it is something that is part of Jewish dress. Unless you are a Jew in Ramallah Israel. NYC Councilor David Greenfield was asked by U.S. officials on his visit to Israel to remove his Kippah when he left the U.S consulate. To his credit, after first ascertaining he wasn’t placing the other members at risk, he refused to remove it. NYC Councilor David Greenfield is no shrinking violet, no he isn’t. That video is well worth watching too.

So, without giving away the end of the Purim story, let’s just say self-defense was involved. So, what is the application for today? Well, there certainly have been a plethora of attacks on Jews lately and antisemitism is on the rise all over the world. And the response from the leaders of the different countries has been a parade? Well, except from the U.S. In the U.S. the regime harfed that the correct response to terrorism is not to kill the terrorists, but to give them jobs instead. What a load of harf! Things are so bad, that as my colleague Y.B. has pointed out Rabbi Margolin suggested Jews at risk be granted a special permit to be armed. I would suggest that most people without a crystal ball are at risk, but that’s just me.

In the article Is it Just Fashionable to Hate the Jews? Rabbi Joseph Potasnik points out “It’s not a big deal to hate the Jews.” The author concludes “Jews are a nice easy nonviolent target”

But if Bibi Netanyahu is setting the tone for going forward, that could begin to change. From one of his speeches

And as Prime Minister of Israel I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them. For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak in our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves. Well, no more! No more. The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over.

But hey, it’s not like Iran wants to destroy Israel or America! I don’t know what would ever make you think that! I mean Iranians love Israel and America, just look at this recent domino competition in which they prominently displayed American and Israeli flags. Nope, no hostility here!

 

Is it just me or does anyone else find the timing of Bibi’s speech to congress interesting. Not in terms of Israeli elections as the current regime has harfed, but in terms of Purim, when Ester spoke to the King on behalf of her people.

Purim celebrates the survival of the Jews against one of the attempts to wipe them off the face of the earth. There have already been many, there will be more. The attacks we’re seeing now are against Jews, Christians and other faiths, well, except for one. Wise people will be prepared, if they are someday there may be another holiday similar to Purim, because with Purim, none of the Jews died because Esther rose to the occasion, and so the Jews were allowed to defend themselves when the attackers came.

“They tried to kill us.  We won.  Let’s eat!”

 

Good deal. May we all do our best to rise to meet the occasions that come before us.

 

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