Saturday, March 11, 2017

Purim: A holiday for such a time as this

In this year we have seen the accession of a thoroughly unfit demagogue to the U.S. Presidency, with his strings being pulled by his very Haman-like advisor, Steve Bannon.

It is, therefore, a very good time to call to mind and heartily celebrate the great works of God in ages past, when he delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the oppressor, as well as both to strive for justice and pray for the mercy of the Lord to be upon us all.

The Miracle of Esther
by Yoram Hazony (First Things). «How can a work in which God is not mentioned, and in which every turn of its dense plot is the result of human decision and human action, hold the key to understanding the miraculous? This is not merely an exegetical or theological question. Contemporary readers need to reckon with the miraculous character of the Book of Esther, for it illuminates the possibilities and limits of political action, possibilities and limits we too often neglect.»

Megilat Esther
The Scroll of Esther, as read in Synagogue.

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time. (Amen)

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion. (Amen)

We thank thee for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds, for the saving acts, and for the wonders which Thou hast wrought for our forefathers, in the Days of Mordechai and Esther, in Shushan, the capital, when Haman, the wicked, rose up against them and sought to destroy, to slay, and to exterminate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, on the same day, on the thirteenth of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions; But Thou, in Thine abundant mercy, didst nullify his counsel and frustrate his intention, and caused his design to return upon his own head, and they hanged him and his sons on the gallows.

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who wages our battles, defends our rights, avenges the wrong done to us, punishes our oppressors in behalf, and brings retribution upon all our mortal enemies.

Blessed art Thou O Lord, who exacts payment in behalf of His people Israel from all their oppressors; God who delivers. (Amen)

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