Friday, 2 March 2012

Purim is Coming

All are invited to the Shul’s Purim spectacular, beginning with a kids’ pizza party at 5:45 on Wednesday 7th March and concluding in a party for adults, with Maariv and Megillah at 6:30. More information below. We read this Shabbat the tale of the attack on the Israelites led by Amalek. We read this Wednesday the tale of the attack on the Israelites led by Haman and in a month’s time we read, at our Seder tables, of the attack on the Israelites led by Pharaoh. Ancient history. The contemporary destruction, which I read about day after day, is being visited by forces loyal to President Assad of Syria on his own people. The parallels are striking. First the forces opposed to Assad are assumed by those loyal to the regime to be plotting treacherous anti-Syrian activities – just as the Jews in the beginning of the Exodus narrative were assumed to be intent on joining Egypt’s enemies. Secondly the violence in Syria seems unutterably random, wrecking devastation among innocent children as well as attacking those who are genuinely waging aggression against the Assad regime. Just as, in the Purim narrative, it was man and woman, adult and child threatened. Thirdly the violence seems to be driven by the nothing more than a hunger for power that corrupts the powerful the closer they come to power; Haman’s hatred of Mordechai an Jews deriving from the affront perceived by Haman Mordechai refusing to bow to him. Through time, across nations innocents are defamed and murdered to allow bigots to retain power. It has always been thus but, the message from Jewish history teaches, justice will out, tyrants will fall. It takes courage and a willingness to stand firm in the face of bullying might. Happy Purim, Shabbat shalom.

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