Purim – A sign of life

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A section from the book of Esther, written on a scroll (megillah) and read on the festival of Purim. This 18th century parchment is in the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

No, Purim is not the Jewish Halloween. Once again as in the distant days of the Persian empire when Esther and Mordecai stood bravely as God’s instruments of salvation against the threat of annihilation of the Jewish people, we again stand in the land of Israel as the Persians annually declare their boisterous desire to annihilate the Jewish state, and with our children and grandchildren celebrate Life in the very face of that ominous threat.

As I write these words the Iranians have established a military base in our neighboring Syria while arming the northern armies of Hezbollah in Lebanon with deadly missiles in the hundreds of thousands on our northern border, missiles that can reach all of our cities. And yet we now all celebrate with costumes of joyful silliness in the festival of Purim, remembering the deliverance of Esther against that ancient menace, as well as that of Saddam in 1991 who would burn half of Israel with his scud missiles, and remember how he was instead hanged on his own gallows as was the wretched Haman.  In sheer defiance we look to Heaven and celebrate as we are told to do, while grasping the sharpened sword denied to us for two millennia of persecution, and wait, trusting in God and His promise.