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Purim Summaries

Tetzaveh/Purim 5777-2017

“Transformations”

Just as the priestly garments have the power to transform a descendent of the tribe of Levi into a functioning priest, so does the ascendance of goodness and righteousness have the power to transform a murderous country into a benevolent society.

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Tzav-Purim 5771-2011

“Shabbat and Purim”

This year, the festival of Purim begins at the conclusion of Shabbat. A careful review of the Book of Esther reveals a number of fascinating connections between the story of Purim and the holy day of Shabbat.

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Vayikra-Purim 5763-2003

“Parashat Zachor: ‘Hating as a Mitzvah?'”

The highly acclaimed young scholar, Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik penned an essay in the Christian theological journal, Present Tense, entitled The Virtue of Hate. Although Soloveichik’s arguments are technically correct, he fails to put these valid arguments within proper context. Judaism in fact does theological somersaults in order to find merit even for the hardcore wicked.

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Kee Tisah-Purim 5762-2002

“The Story of Esther–Making Choices for Jewish Destiny”

When Esther receives the report that Mordechai is leading a great mourning and wailing, she is thrown into a panic. Some commentators regard Esther’s reaction as a personal failure on the Queen’s part to rise to the challenge. In effect, Esther respond’s to Mordechai’s appeal by saying “Do you expect me to risk my life and compromise my lofty position for the Jewish people?” Mordechai’s response to Esther strikes a sensitive chord. Despite her initial reluctance, Esther redeems herself, fulfills her mission brilliantly, and goes on to become one of the great heroic figures of Jewish history.

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Tetzaveh-Purim 5761-2001

“The True Story of Purim”

The party that King Ahasuerus throws was not only to prove his legitimacy as a monarch, but also to celebrate the destruction of the Jewish people, to confirm that the prophecy of a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem would no longer be fulfilled. Incredible as it may seem, the Jews of Persia participated in the party with great enthusiasm. For the Jews to be spared from Ahasuerus and Haman, it was necessary for them to rise and to publically affirm G-d’s supremacy.

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Terumah-Purim 5761-2001

“Amalek, Purim and the Mitzvah of Getting Drunk”

The Code of Jewish Law suggests that a person is required to become intoxicated on Purim until he doesn’t know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai. One explanation given for this tradition is that all year long Jews use reason as a means to faith. However, once a year, on Purim, we strip away all traces of reason and serve G-d with our faith alone.

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Tzav-Purim 5760 – 2000

“Remembering Amalek: A Contemporary View”

Jewish tradition looks upon those who seek to destroy the Jewish people as the heirs of the ancient Amalekites, the fierce nation that was the first to attack the people of Israel, especially the elderly, weak and the young after the exodus from Egypt. While remembering Amalek is important, rebuilding and guaranteeing the Jewish future is far more important.

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Terumah-Purim 5760-2000

“The Mishkan: Underscoring the Centrality of the Home in Jewish Life”

The Mishkan–the Tabernacle–is very much like a home, and has all the furnishings that are found in a home. The fact that our synagogue is called a Beit Kinesset, a house of coming together, underscores the importance of the home. Unless our homes serve as dwelling places for G-d, there will be little chance that our religion will be effectively communicated in our synagogues or in our temples.

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