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  • February 23, 2013

    Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2013

    Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger Based on Jewish Sages, February 21, 2013

    1.  “Purimfest 1946” were the last words of Julius Streicher, the Nazi propaganda chief, as he approached the hanging gallows (Newsweekmagazine, October 28, 1946, page 46).  On October 16, 1946 (Jewish year 5707), ten convicted Nazi war criminals were hanged in Nuremberg.  An 11thNazi criminal, Hermann Goering, committed suicide in his cell. Julius Streicher’s library documented much interest in Purim and its relevance to enemies of the Jewish people.

    According to the Scroll of Esther, King Ahasuerus allowed the Jews to defend themselves and hang Haman and his ten sons.  The Talmud (Megillah 16a) claims that Haman had an 11th child, a daughter, who committed suicide following her father’s demise.

    In the aftermath of the hanging of Haman and his sons, Queen Esther asked King Ahasuerus: “If it shall please His Majesty, allow the Jews who are in [the capital city] Shushan to act also tomorrow as they did today (in literary Hebrew,  “tomorrow” refers sometimes to a distant future), and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows (Esther 9:13).”  Why would she request the hanging of Haman’s already hung sons?  Esther’s request was interpreted as a reference to a future event which would require a similar hanging. The original Hebrew text of the Scroll of Esther – which documents the hanging of Haman’s sons – features one very large letter, ? (which equals 6 – the 6th millennium), and three very small letters, ?, ?, ? (which equal 707), referring to the year 5707 during the 6th millennium – 1946/7 in the general calendar.

    2.  Purim’s historical background according to Prof. Israel Eldad:

    *Xerxes the Great – King Ahasuerus, known for his grand and long banquets – succeeded Darius the Great.  He ruled the Persian Empire (from India to Ethiopia) during 465-486BC, 150 years before the rise of Alexander the Great, who defeated the Persian Empire.

    *Greece was Persia’s key opponent in its expansion towards the Mediterranean and Europe, hence the alliance between Persia and Carthage, a rival of Greece.

    *Greece supported Egypt’s revolt against Persian rule, which was subdued by Persia with the help of the Jewish warriors of Yeb (in Egypt) and Carthage, which had a significant Jewish-Hebrew connection (the names of Carthage’s heroes, Hannibal and Barca, derived from the Hebrew names, Hananyah and Barak).                                

    *Xerxes was defeated by Greece at the battle of Salamis (480 BC), but challenged Greece again in 470BC.

    *According to a Greek translation of the Scroll of Esther, Haman (the Agagi) was Macedonian by orientation or by birth.  Agagi could refer to Agag, the Amalekite King (who intended to annihilate the Jews) or to the Greek Aegean Islands. Haman aspired to annihilate the Jews of Persia and opposed improved relations between Xerxes and the Jews of Yeb.  He led the pro-Greek and anti-Carthage faction in Persia, while Mordechai was a chief advocate for the pro-Carthage orientation.

    3.  Purim is celebrated on the 14th/15th days of the Jewish month of Adar.  Adar (???) is the root of the Hebrew adjective Adir ( – (????glorious, awesome, exalted, magnificent.  It is, also, a derivative of the Akkadian wordAdura (heroism).  Jewish tradition (Babylonian Talmud) highlights Adar as a month of happiness, singing and dancing. The zodiac of Adar is Pisces (fish), which is a symbol of demographic multiplication. Hence, Adar is the only Jewish month, which doubles itself during the 7 leap years, in each 19 year cycle. Purim is celebrated on the 14th (in non-walled towns) and (in Jerusalem) on the 15th day of Adar, commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish People from the jaws of a holocaust in Persia.  It also commemorates the 161 BC victory of Judah the Maccabee over Nikanor, the Assyrian commander.  Moses ¬ who delivered the Jewish People from a holocaust in Egypt and whose burial site is unknown – was born, and died (1273 BC), on the 7th day of Adar, which is Israel’s Memorial Day for soldiers, whose burial site is unknown. The events of Purim occurred following the destruction of the 1st Temple by Nebuchadnezzar (586 BCE) and the exile from Zion, during the leadership of Ezra who returned to Jerusalem, and the inauguration of the Second Temple (3rd of Adar, 515 BCE) by Ezra and Nehemiah.  Nebuchadnezzar died in Adar 561 BC (Jeremiah 52:31).  Albert Einstein published the Theory of General Relativity in Adar 1916.

    4. Purim’s Hebrew root is fate/destiny (???), as well as “lottery” (commemorating Haman’s lottery which determined the designated day for the planned annihilation of the Jewish People), “to frustrate,” “to annul” (????), “to crumble” and “to shutter” (?????), reflecting the demise of Haman.

    5.  Purim commemorates a Clash of Civilizations between Mordechai the Jew and Haman the Iranian-Amalekite. It constitutes an early edition of the war between right VS wrong, liberty VS tyranny, justice VS evil, truth VS lies, as were/are Adam/Eve VS the snake, Abel VS Cain, Abraham VS Sodom  and Gomorrah, Jacob VS Esau (grandfather of Amalek), Maccabees VS Assyrians, Allies VS Nazis, Western democracies VS Communist Bloc and Western democracies VS Islamic rogue and terrorist regimes.

    6.  Purim is the holiday of contradictions as well as tenacity-driven-optimism:

    Annihilation replaced by deliverance; Esther’s concealment of her Jewish identity replaced by the disclosure of her national/religious identity; Haman’s intended genocide of the Jews replaced by his own demise; Haman replaced by Mordechai as the chief advisor to the king; national and personal pessimism replaced by optimism.  A Purim lesson: Life is complex, full of contradictions, ups and downs and difficult dilemmas, worthy of principled-determination. Threats and hurdles are challenges and opportunities in disguise. The bigger the mission is, the bigger the adversity.

    7.  Mordechai, the hero of Purim and one of Ezra’s deputies, was a role model of principle-driven optimism in defiance of colossal odds, in the face of a super power and in defiance of the Jewish establishment.  He fought Jewish assimilation and urged Jews to sustain their roots and return to their Homeland.  He was endowed with the bravery of faith-driven individuals, such as Nachshon – who was the first to walk into the Red Sea before it parted. Mordechai was a politically-incorrect, out-of-the-box thinking statesmaand a retired military leader, who utilized a “disproportionate pre-emptive offensive” instead of appeasement and defense. The first three Hebrew letters of Mordechai (?????) spell the Hebrew word “rebellion” (???), which is consistent with the motto/legacy of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin: “Rebellion against Tyrants is Obedience to G-D.”  Mordechai did not bow to Haman, the second most powerful person in the Persian Empire.  He was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, the only son of Jacob who did not bow to Esau. The name Mordechai is also a derivative of Mordouch,¬ the chief Babylonian god.

    Mordechai was a descendant of King Saul, who defied a clear commandment (to eradicate the Amalekites).  He spared the life of Agag, the Amalekite king, thus precipitating further calamities upon the Jewish People. Consequently, Saul lost his royal position and life.  Mordechai learned from Saul’s error. He destroyed Haman, a descendant of Agag the Amalekite and Haman’s entire power base, thus sparing the Jewish People a major disaster.

    In Gimatriya, “Cursed Haman” (???? ???) equals 502, which is identical to “Blessed Mordechai”  .(???? ?????)

    8. Queen Esther, the heroine of Purim’s Scroll of Esther (the 24th and concluding book of the Bible) was Mordechai’s niece. Esther demonstrates the centrality of women in Judaism, shaping the future of the Jewish People, as did Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel. Leah, Miriam, Batyah, Deborah, Hannah, Yael, etc. Sarah was the first Jewish woman, and Esther was the last Jewish woman mentioned in the Bible. Sarah lived 127 years and Esther ruled over 127 countries. The name Esther (????) is a derivative of the Hebrew word ?? , “to conceal” – reflective of her initial concealment of her Jewish identity, while the Hebrew word for “scroll,” ?????, derives from ???? – “to reveal.”  God is concealed in the scroll of Esther, which is the only biblical book which does not mention God. The Purim custom of wearing costumes highlights the transition from the concealment to revelation of identity.

    The name Esther (pronounced Ester in Hebrew) derives also from Ishtar ¬ a Mesopotamian goddess, Astarte, “star” ¬ a Phoenician goddess.  In fact, the one day pre-Purim Fast of Esther (commemorating the three day fast declared by Esther in order to expedite deliverance), was cherished by the Maranos in Spain, who performed Judaism in a clandestine manner. 

    While God’s name is hidden/absent in Esther’s Scroll, Michael Bernstein suggests that there are 182 references to “King,” corresponding to 26 (the numerical value of God) times 7 (days of creation). Esther’s second name was Hadassah, whose root is Hadass (myrtle tree in Hebrew) ¬ whose leaves are shaped like an eye.

    The name Esther is identified with the planet Venus (hence, Esther’s other Hebrew name ¬Noga, just like my oldest granddaughter ¬ a shining divine light, which is Venus in Hebrew). In Gimatriya, Esther (????) and Noga (???) equal 661 and 58 respectively, and the sum of 6+6+1 and 5+8 is 13 (the number of God’s virtues).  In “small Gimatriya” both Esther (1+6+4+2) and Noga (5+3+5) equal 13, which is also the total sum of “one” in Hebrew (???) ¬ which represents the oneness of God, monotheism, as well as the total sum of love in Hebrew (????).

    9.  The Persian King appointed Mordechai to be his top advisor, overruling Haman’s intent to prevent the resettling of Jews in Zion, the reconstruction of the Temple and the restoration of the wall around Jerusalem. He foiled Haman’s plan to exterminate the Jews. The king prospered as a result of his change of heart and escaped assassination. That was the case with Pharaoh, who escaped national collapse and starvation and rose in global prominence, once he appointed Joseph to be his deputy.

    10.  Purim’s four commandments:

    *Reading/studying the Scroll of Esther within the family, highlighting the centrality of family, education, memory and youth as the foundation of a solid future.

    *Gifts to relatives, friends and strangers emphasize the importance of family, community and collective responsibility.

    *Charity (at least the value of a meal) reflects compassion and communal responsibility.  According to Maimonides, “there is no greater or more glorious joy than bringing joy to the poor.” Purim is celebrated when Jews study the portion of the Torah, ?????, which highlights giving and contributing to the other person as a means to enhance solidarity and reduce egotism.

    *Celebration and Happiness sustain optimism and faith – the backbone of individuals and nations.

    11.  Lethal enemy destroyed and lethal threat commemorated.  The pre-Purim Sabbath is called “Memorial Sabbath” (??? ????), commemorating the war of extermination launched by the Amalekites against the Jewish Nation, since the Exodus from Egypt.  A Purim lesson: Be wary of enemies, posing as partners of peace, concealing a strategic goal of extermination.

    Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim,


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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 10:02 pm | 37 Comments »

    37 Comments to Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2013

    1. yamit82 says:

      Purim Story

      by Dr. Israel Eldad

      with Stalin we almost experiences a similar miracle. After the famous doctors’ trial he had intended to exile all the Russian Jews to Siberia — dispatching them to their certain death, but it was his death that intervened.

      By the way, it was on Purim that he died. Be that as it may — the sages of the Talmud expressly provided that one cannot and should not rely on a miracle.

      IV. One Can Only Rely On One’s Own Hands . . . And Feet

      If not miracles, what is there to rely upon? For Mordechai, the Jew of ancient Shushan, it was not enough to have the anti-Jewish decree revoked. He also realized that it was necessary to pray and fast — and pray and fast he did. He saw that it was necessary to plead with the king, and so he sent a certain lady to plead with him. Ultimately, he also asked the king’s permission to destroy and kill all of Haman’s followers, and if the Book of Esther says that he killed seventy-five thousand men that day it means that Haman has a whole party behind him a kind of Persian SS or El Fatah, through which he had intended to implement his final solution. On them Mordechai took his revenge.
      This is a good thing to keep in mind. For, of course, there were people in the ghettoes and in the forests who fought back and took their vengeance. But they came too late. Most of the Jews of Europe were exterminated. This is a good thing to remember — lest once again we be too late. What Mordechai did in Shushan was to set up a Jewish Defense — and Revenge — League. The Book of Esther, which was compiled in Persia, says that he did so with King Ahasuerus’ consent. But who can tell. Queen Esther certainly could not tell the whole truth, how Mordechai had set up this organization long before he got official permission for it, so that it was ready when he needed it. Certainly no democratic regime can suffer in it midst an illegal organization for armed defense. On the other hand — one cannot always rely on the “establishment” and on the police. Sometimes they come too late. Nor can one always rely on the democracy of a city like Shushan. Therefore, a people that has a leader like Mordechai, a leader who can follow the triple course of faith and prayer, of political action and active defense may call itself truly blessed.

    2. ArnoldHarris says:

      I’ve been thinking about Purim. Haman’s wife Zeresh was the bitch who instigated the trouble with her deadly suggestions to her husband. When they fell into the trap laid by Hadassa and Mardchai, getting authorization from Persian emperor Ahasueras (Xerxes) to hang Haman and all ten of his sons on the gibbets he had set up for the Jews of Shushan, why didn’t they hang Zeresh as well?

      Or perhaps they thought it better vengeance to let her live on after her husband and all her sons were put to death, and her remaining child, a daughter had committed suicide.

      It is true that the Allied judges at the Nurnberg trial of the major war criminals neither hanged nor even prosecuted the wives of the major Nazi war criminals.

      In any case, when will Israel arrange gibbets and suitable hangmen’s nooses for the modern Hamans of the present Persian Empire? Let the good times roll.

      Arnold Harris
      Mount Horeb WI

    3. Sam Goldblatt says:

      Sounds like Arnold’s off his meds again. Julious Streicher, the self-ironical goon. Who knew. Re Purim – why is the food so rotten? “This stuff killed more of my people than Hitler.” -Jerry Lewis.

    4. Shy Guy says:

      yamit82 Said:

      Purim Story

      Purim Story


    5. the phoenix says:

      @ Sam Goldblatt:
      Were I not Jewish, and were I to spend just a few minutes in your presence, goldblatt, I would instantly metamorphose into a very vicious antisemite.
      YOU! Goldblatt, personify all that is ugly and repugnant…
      Just thought you’d like to know. Goldblatt!

    6. Shy Guy says:

      Sam Goldblatt Said:

      Sounds like Arnold’s off his meds again.

      Someday maybe they’ll find a cure for what ails you.

    7. the phoenix says:

      @ Shy Guy:

      Purim Story

      Lyrics… Great!
      ‘Melody and sound’…… The guy should stick to davening.. :)

    8. Honey Bee says:

      @ the phoenix:

      What does with being Jewish have to do with it, let your inner Joshua go. You don’t to be an anti-semite in order to smite Goldblatt. I’am spending Purim morning listening to 2steps and dancin.

    9. Honey Bee says:

      @ Sam Goldblatt:

      Goldbatt resist the urge to be a jerk, just for today, eat a Hamentashen and be joyfull.

    10. the phoenix says:

      @ Honey Bee:
      Dear hb,
      To someone that knows NOTHING about Judaism, seeing a specimen such this goldblatt guy, could easily think that ” ok this guy is a jerk, therefore, in all likelihood so are the rest of the Jews”.
      We know who we are, we know who he is, but the ‘uninitiated’ may mistakenly connect a few dots and arrive to a wrong conclusion.
      Hope this is a bit more clear.

    11. Honey Bee says:

      @ the phoenix:

      If some one dislikes Jews it is they are jerks, Goldblatt is a man of little consequence, he will”strute his time upon the stage and be gone.”

    12. the phoenix says:

      @ Honey Bee:
      Well hb, we are in agreement that his comments are a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury…signifying. .. NOTHING

    13. Honey Bee says:

      @ the phoenix

      Ah brave new world that has such people as you in it.

    14. Laura says:

      The douche Goldblatt is a useless contributor only here for the purpose of antagonizing us.

    15. Honey Bee says:

      @ the phoenix:
      @ Laura:

      We have come to bury Goldbatt, not to praise him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    16. dionissis mitropoulos says:

      Shy Guy Said:

      Someday maybe they’ll find a cure for what ails you [sam goldblat].

      What ails Sam? There is an ongoing discussion at the Augean Stables about Jewish pathology, and i haven’t followed enough of Sam’s comments to have a personal view on him, so maybe someone (or even Sam) could give me Sam’s outlook on Israel and/or Jewishness?

    17. Honey Bee says:

      @ dionissis mitropoulos:
      You surived the floods

    18. dionissis mitropoulos says:

      @ Honey Bee:
      I did. Thanks for the concern Floody Bee

    19. Honey Bee says:

      @ dionissis mitropoulos

      Do you look like John Stamos?

    20. dionissis mitropoulos says:

      @ Honey Bee:

      I didn’t know him, i checked his photos in Google and in all of them he smacks smugness. I am not smug and i am younger than he is. And my eyes are brown, not like his.

    21. Honey Bee says:

      @ dionissis mitropoulos:

      Honey,John Stamos is the American Greek god of “drop dead good looking”.

    22. dionissis mitropoulos says:

      @ Honey Bee:

      yeah ok, i didn’t say that he is not very good looking, but he looks smug and this blankets everything else. and haven’t you said that you like tough guys like cowboy and yamit? he is not

    23. Honey Bee says:

      @ dionissis mitropoulos:

      I don’t know Stamos, but I do love tough guys. That why I waste so much time on the Pundit.

    24. dionissis mitropoulos says:

      @ Honey Bee:

      well then, all i can say is that we, people of the Pundit, are happy that as far as your free time is concerned you are a prodigal Bee.

    25. Honey Bee says:

      @ dionissis mitropoulos:

      there is alway Jason and Acchillies[ah ] not Brad Pitt, never care for Menalaois[a jerk],Paris [a pretty boy] and the Kirk Doglas as Odeyesses wow! Jewish and Greek

    26. Honey Bee says:

      @ Gerald A. Honigman:


      @ Gerald A. Honigman:
      Neat, Thank-you

    27. yamit82 says:

      Honey Bee Said:

      and the Kirk Doglas as Odeyesses wow! Jewish and Greek

      Went to school with nephew of Kirk Douglas and my grandfather had long time affair with Kirk Douglas’ mother.

    28. Shy Guy says:

      yamit82 Said:

      and my grandfather had long time affair with Kirk Douglas’ mother.

      It’s amazing what suddenly appears from Out of the Past about better-kept-to-one’s-self stories of Lust for Life.

    29. yamit82 says:

      Shy Guy Said:

      It’s amazing what suddenly appears from Out of the Past about better-kept-to-one’s-self stories of Lust for Life.

      Quite innocent they were both widowed both in their mid 80’s and both wheelchair bound. It was not I believe a physical relationship and everyone at the time thought it quite sentimental even amusing to family and friends who were all supportive.

      Such “Lust for Life”,late Dec. romances can add years to ones life, I have no problem retelling this story. 😛

    30. Honey Bee says:

      @ yamit82:

      Shakespere’s Sonnet 116 for you Grand-mother!

    31. yamit82 says:

      Honey Bee Said:

      @ yamit82:
      Shakespere’s Sonnet 116 for you Grand-mother!

      You are a romantic. 😉

    32. Honey Bee says:

      @ yamit82:

      Eres tambien!!!!!!!!!!

    33. Honey Bee says:

      @ yamit82:

      I am not in accord with the paraphasing,Shakespere needs not be intrepreted.

    34. Honey Bee says:

      @ yamit82:

      Eres tambien,y su Abuela.

    35. Honey Bee says:

      @ yamit82:

      Iam sorry I said Grand-mother,when I should have said Grand-father.