Purim: What Are We Blotting Out?
- Published: Monday, 10 March 2014 05:40
- Written by BVeg
As we approach the holiday of Purim, we are confronted with the undeniable reality and challenge of the holiday. Amidst a world in which we still see so much pain and suffering, we are told to spend the day in celebration; eating, drinking, and enjoying the pleasures of the day. While the rest of the Jewish year is filled with so many "serious" holidays remembering the sad times in our history, this day is truly a blessing--a time to let go, act silly and celebrate the joys of life.
Yet, as with so much of Jewish tradition, even the holiday of Purim has a deeper side. The story of Purim is at its core a simple story of good and evil. There is the powerful king, the "bad guy" Haman, the heroes of the story, Esther, Mordechai and Vashti. The Jewish people begin the story in suffering, and end with their freedom. It is a story of right and wrong, and the powerful against the weak. Yet what makes the holiday unique is not that the story is just made up of opposites, but it is how we are commanded to remember the good and the evil that gives true meaning to the holiday. On this day we are told that we must hear and "remember" Haman--the representation of evil--and only then can we wave our groggers, boo and stomp our feet to blot out his name. This is one of the most important aspects of the holiday. Ultimately it is a lesson about the very important Jewish understanding of how we must listen in order to make change in the world.