Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fifteen: A Purim meditation - by Arnold Roth

...Those of us raised in the shadow of the Holocaust, and who have experienced the tragedy of a child's death by hatred, struggle to understand the nature of the Divine role in our lives as individuals and as a people. There are times, according to Jewish wisdom, when you need to know that G-d's hand is at work even when the evidence is difficult to see, even when there are more questions than answers.

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
27 February '18..

Purim, for those not so familiar with the intricacies of the age-old Jewish calendar, works in a slightly unexpected way.

Throughout the world, Jewish communities will begin marking it this coming Wednesday night, February 28, 2018. That evening and then again the following morning, Thursday, observant Jews will gather to hear the reading of the Book of Esther.

In Jerusalem where we live, we do the same - but exactly 24 hours later. The day is called Shushan Purim. (Shushan in the Purim narrative is where the Persian royal palace was located.)

The first of the two readings of Esther in Israel's capital takes place Thursday night (March 1, 2018). The second will be the following morning, Friday (March 2), during Shacharit, the daily morning prayers.

Then a little later in the day on Friday, Jerusalem's Jews - but not the Jews of almost every other community around the world - will celebrate what Purim stands for by means of a festive meal and appropriate beverages. Being the eve of the Sabbath, the intensity and scope of both the meal and the beverages will be reduced in recognition of Shabbat's nearness and its own special events, particularly the Friday night meal.

At exactly this time of year, but thirteen years ago, Arnold Roth was given an opportunity to publish a reflection about how Purim, with its family-focused joy and celebration of good triumphing over evil, feels to a family like ours that has lost a loved child to an act of hatred-based terrorist murder.

The result was a short essay published on the website (and then republished in this blog four years ago) on March 19, 2005. The themes which the article touches remain on our minds, so here is a replay.

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