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Daily Briefing: PURIM: A HOLIDAY OF CELEBRATION AND DEEP REFLECTION (February 25, 2021)

A deeper explanation of the story of Purim: Excerpted from manuscript “Magic of the Ordinary”, Gershon Winkler, 2001

Excerpted from manuscript “Magic of the Ordinary”
Gershon Winkler, 2001

“On the mystical plane, this is a parable about the dance between Ohr and Choshech, between the realm of Sitra Achra and the realm of Olam, with the King in the story representing God, mediating between the two opposing realms.”

 … On the literal plane, the ancient Hebrew scriptural Scroll of Esther is the story of a people about to be annihilated but are spared at the last minute by the crescendo of a series of graduating events that miraculously lead to their rescue. The predator in the story is a man called Haman. The heroine is a woman named Esther, and the hero her uncle, Mordechai. Seated along the dividing line between these two realms of villains and heroes is the King, Achashverosh, who empowers both, Haman in his plot to destroy the Jews, and Esther in her struggle to save them. On the mystical plane, this is a parable about the dance between Ohr and Choshech, between the realm of Sitra Achra and the realm of Olam, with the King in the story representing God, mediating between the two opposing realms.


Ahead of Purim, a Look at the History of the Jews of Persia (Now Iran): Rabbi Ari Enkin, United With Israel, Feb. 24, 2021

“The biblical books of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, and Esther mention Jewish life in Persia and their relations with the kings and governments.”

Jews have had a continuous presence in Iran since the time of Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire. Today, of course, Jews who come from Iran are referred to as “Iranian Jews.” Iranian immigrants in Israel are referred to as Parsim, meaning “Persians.”
 
In Iran, Jews are referred to by four terms: Kalimi, Yahudi, Israel, and Johud, though the latter is considered offensive. There are about 10,000 Jews in Iran today.
 
The vast majority of Iranian-descended Jews live in Israel and the United States, especially in Beverly Hills, LA, and on the North Shore of Long Island. There are smaller Persian Jewish communities in Baltimore, Maryland and the Twin Cities. According to the latest Iranian census, the remaining Jewish population of Iran was 9,826 in 2016.


Incredible Parallels Between the Purim Story and the Nazi Trials: Rachel Avraham, United With Israel, Feb. 23, 2021

The haunting connection between these two eras in Jewish history begins with a story from the Talmud in which it is explained that in the Purim story Haman’s daughter committed suicide and thus didn’t need to be hung.
 
Similarly, following the Nuremberg Trials, Hermann Göring, a well known Nazi cross-dresser, also committed suicide and thus was not hung. In fact, Julius Streicher, the Nazi editor of the anti-Semitic Der Stürmer newspaper, even proclaimed before he was hung, “Purim Fest 1946.”
 
Indeed, given these facts, it appears as if there is merit to the claim that there is a connection between the Purim story and the Nuremberg Trials.
 
The Bible specifically states that Haman, the evil Persian Prime Minister who sought to annihilate the Jewish people, was an Agagite. Agag was the King of the Amalekites, implying that all ten sons of Haman were also part of the nation of Amalek.

From Kuwait to Oman, Jews are preparing for a Purim unlike any other: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 2021

Across the Gulf states, from Kuwait to Oman, Jews are preparing for a Purim unlike any other they have ever had.
 
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities is hosting a virtual Purim event on Thursday, February 25. It is the first of its kind and the first since the founding of the AGJC this month. It is also taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving it added value and resonance.
 
Across the Gulf states, from Kuwait to Oman, Jews are preparing for a Purim unlike any other they have ever had. Across the Gulf states, from Kuwait to Oman, Jews are preparing for a Purim unlike any other they have ever had. There are hundreds of Jews across the Gulf states, but many of them have had no organized communal public activities until recently, due to a variety of reasons.

For Further Reference:

Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2021:  Yoram Ettinger, The Ettinger Report, Feb. 23, 2021 — Purim’s historical background. The 586 BCE destruction of the 1st Jewish Temple and the expulsion of Jews from Judea and Samaria – by the Babylonian Emperor, Nebuchadnezzar – triggered a wave of Jewish emigration to Babylon and Persia.
 
WATCH:  Esther: The Birth of Diaspora Politics:  Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik, Jewish Political Greatness Series, lecture #2, Tikvah — The book of Esther introduces us to a Jewish woman in a Persian court, her religious and national identity hidden, trapped in an impossible political situation. Scroll down.
 
The Jerusalem Post weighs in on this year’s very different celebrations:  Jerusalem Post staff, Feb. 24, 2021 — For me, last year’s Purim was the last event of the old world, pre-corona. We invited five families over for our Purim seudah and between the little kids screaming and the grown-ups drinking, we expected it to be a blast.
 
 Cyrus (559-529):  Jewish Virtual Library — At first, Cyrus II’s dominion consisted of Anshan, southwest of the Iranian plateau, of which he was the legitimate king, being a descendant of the Achaemenian dynasty that had already reigned there for several generations.

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