The Purim Anthology

The Purim Anthology

The Purim Anthology

The Purim Anthology

Excerpt

Purim assumes unusual significance in these post-war days. The many similarities between the position of the Jews in ancient Persia and that of the Jews in modern Europe are readily apparent. Modern antisemitism does not differ basically from the irrational hatred of Haman towards the Jews. Haman's defeat might have served as a warning to his later successors and modern counterparts. Notwithstanding the eye-present persecutions by new Hamans that arise in every generation, the Jewish people do not despair, for they have celebrated many Purims. Unfortunately, the time has not yet come to institute a new Purim in our generation, although Hitler and the Nazis have been defeated. The festival does not commemorate merely the downfall of the enemy but the deliverance of the people; and that full deliverance has not yet arrived.

Today Jews cherish the story of Esther for the message of faith and courage that it conveys. Purim comes as a ray of light and salvation, not only to the remnants of European Jewry, but to all persecuted minorities. The timely deliverance of the Jews from their Persian enemies and their vindication are celebrated as a time of feasting and gladness, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor (Esther 9.22). The Jew gives expression to his joyful gratitude by aiding the needy. It is vital that, particularly in times of stress, the Jew should not lose his equilibrium and his sense of humor.

It is in the hope of presenting vividly the character and message of this festival and the manner of its observance that this book has been prepared. If it succeeds in conveying to its readers a feeling of optimism concerning the Jewish . . .

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