This Sunday, I shall join my congregation, Leyv Ha-Ir (http://www.leyvhair.org/) to celebrate Purim, the rocking, rolling, wild and crazy holiday where Jews commemorate the downfall of the tyrant Haman who, as prime minister for the King of Persia, plotted to annihilate all the Jews within the kingdom; how Mordecai worked to get his niece Esther to be the new queen of the king Ahasuerus, who agreed to Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews;  and how Esther foiled the plot, telling the king that Haman would exterminate her people, and Haman ended up hanging from the same gallows he wanted to hang Mordecai on.

The entire holiday, based on the book of Esther, is a parody of the delusions and folly of people in power, with Ahasuerus expelling Vashti, the original queen, because she would not humiliate herself for him and his noblemen; and Haman, the most powerful man in the kingdom after the king, who, for all his power and wealth, is furious that one individual, Mordecai, would not bow to him like the deity he wasn’t. This is also the story of a despised minority group, the Jews, who were on the verge of being massacred, but, after being allowed to defend themselves against Haman’s thugs, were elevated to a position of respect throughout the empire.

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