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Purim 5773: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Feb. 22, 2013—The festival of Purim first appears in historical sources from the 2nd Century B.C.E – it was a significant time. Judah the Maccabee won his first great victory over the Syrian general Nicanor on the 13th – 14th of Adar in the year 161 B.C.E, during the time of year that had been declared a holiday: Purim.
Jewish Riots Erupt Following Netanyahu Cartoon – Not: Adam Chandler, Tablet, January 29, 2013—In the wake of a controversial cartoon published in the Sunday Times of London, massive crowds of angry Jewish protestors gathered in Hyde Park yesterday and, whipped into a fervor by local rabbis, took to the streets of London.
Uncertain World: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2013—Megilat Esther is a book of contradictions, filled with events that are unreasonable, coincidental, seemingly pure chance. At one moment, Jews live in security in Persia; the next, they face destruction. Mordechai is threatened with execution; then, suddenly, he becomes prime minister. Irrational events and moods transform fear into festivity. “Venahafoch hu” – everything gets turned upside down and backward.
Not a Coincidence: Shmuel Rabinowitz, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2013
Megila Millennium: Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2013
Judaism: Drinking on Purim: When Ignorance is Bliss: Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 22, 2013
CIJR, Feb. 22, 2013
In loving memory of Beloved Malca, ז״ל
“Should all festivals be abolished, Purim will remain” Tefilot Mikol HaShana – D.W. Libshitz
The festival of Purim first appears in historical sources from the second Century B.C.E – it was a significant time. Judah the Maccabee won his first great victory over the Syrian general Nicanor on the 13th – 14th of Adar in the year 161 B.C.E, the time of year that has been declared a holiday: Purim.
Today’s Amalekim – Ahmadinejad, Hamas, and the like – aim to disrupt Israel’s march through history, and toward its unique destiny – that of being the state for all Jews. The likes of Ahmadinejad, Hamas, and their friends will never reach their goal: Israel will always be victorious. Am Israel Chai
The calumny that floated 2500 years ago about Jewish “otherness” (a “certain people”), “a foreign element, “disloyal,” continue unabated to this very day. We experience daily virulent outbreaks of anti-Semitic insults, deeds, over and over again – and this, for centuries.
Purim gives us the strength, and courage to see our darkest times: tikvah, the hope that will see the downfall of all the Amaleks. The Book of Esther is a book depicting not just one period of Jewish history, but ALL periods. It is a book that will remain forever new. Am Israel Chai!
Hag Purim Sameach u’mvadeach! Happy Purim and enjoy yourself!
(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)
Tablet, January 29, 2013
In the wake of a controversial cartoon published in the Sunday Times of London, massive crowds of angry Jewish protestors gathered in Hyde Park yesterday and, whipped into a fervor by local rabbis, took to the streets of London.
Incited by the inflammatory, blood libel-themed cartoon, which featured a hook-nosed caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall using Palestinian blood as mortar and was released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the crowds descended on the Harvey Nichols on Sloane Street, where they broke windows and set fire to the Charlie Allen and Ted Baker collections. The mob, unabated, next stormed the Royal Portrait Gallery, tearing down the centuries’ old collection of British kings and queens. “We left the new portrait of Kate Middleton up” said Gerald Stein of Stamford Hill, “it’s offensive enough on its own.”
In north London, Jewish football hooligans loyal to the Tottenham Hotspurs assembled their so-called ‘Yid Army’ and looted local pubs, emptying them of their Bass and Boddington kegs before raiding the various fish n’ chip shops across the Haringey borough. As the group laid waste to a biscuit factory, the entirety of old blighty stunk of burning gingerbread. A cloud of soot traveled north, turning the white cliffs of Dover grey. There were also reports that numerous spokes of the London Eye were removed and bent into the shape of a Star of David.
Residents of London have been advised to stay in their homes until further notice and all British journalists have been put under police protection. No word yet on the status of London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was thrown into the Tower of London.
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
TRANSCRIPT: Secretary of Defense nominee hearing, January 28, 2013 page 2 of 27
Levin: thanks you for joining us this morning, Senator Hagel. Also, Secretary Powell, you were adamant about appearing today with Senator Hagel, so, uh, welcome, I guess.
Powell: I certainly was, certainly. Just wanted to be here for moral support, because who couldn’t use some support these days, am I right? Times are tough – not that it’s President Obama’s fault, that’s not – but you know what I mean. So…yeah.
Levin: Okay. Now Senator Hagel, our first question comes from Senator Ayotte of New Hampshire.
Ayotte: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Hagel, your nomination has faced some pretty vocal opposition from various groups. Would this affect your ability to work on behalf of all Americans?
Hagel: Well, it’s pretty apparent that the Jewish lobby—
Secretary Powell clears his throat loudly.
Powell: Uh, excuse me.
Hagel: As I was saying, those Jew—
Secretary Powell clears his throat again, coughs repeatedly, elbows Senator hagel.
Hagel: What? Oh, right. The, uh, those groups that support Israel, well, they’re just fine Americans, in my opinion. And I look forward to working with them. And whatnot. Yep.
Levin: Moving on, the next question comes form Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Hagel: Oh, the Jewish sena—Ow! Why did you kick me?
Powell: Restless Leg Syndrome. Sorry.
Blumenthal: Senator Hagel, the Obama administration has clearly made cutting defense spending a priority in their first term. As defense secretary, will you push back against the administration as Secretary Panetta did on items essential to our defense missions?
Hagel: Well, I generally agree with the administration’s approach. We are in a fiscal crisis, having just ended two wars, so I think it only makes sense to reduce spending in a sensible way. But let me state, unequivocally, that I will not make cuts that will compromise the integrity of our defence capabilities and put the great men and women of our armed services at risk as they protect this great nation.
Powell: Good answer, Chuck.
Hagel: I’m not gonna try and Jew the army out of their funding, is what I’m saying.
Powell: Oh, Christ….
(Weekly Standard, Jan., 28, 2013)
MUSLIM SUICIDE BOMBERS SET TO STRIKE OVER VIRGIN BENEFITS—(London) Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement. The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death would be cut by 25% in December from 72 to 54. A spokesman said increases in recent years in the number of suicide bombings has resulted in a shortage of virgins in the afterlife.
The suicide bombers' union, the British Organization of Occupational Martyrs (BOOM) responded with a statement saying the move was unacceptable to its members and called for a strike vote. General Secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, "Our members are literally working themselves to death in the cause of Jihad. We don't ask for much in return but to be treated like this is like a kick in the teeth".
Speaking from his shed in Tipton in the West Midlands, Al Qaeda chief executive Haisheet Mapants explained, "I sympathize with our workers concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the realities of modern-day Jihad in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the afterlife. It's a straight choice between reducing expenditures or laying people off. I don't like cutting benefits but I'd hate to have to tell 3,000 of my staff that they won't be able to blow themselves up.”
AYATOLLAH KHAMEINI MARKS PRESIDENT AHMEDINIDJAD FOR THE GALLOWS —(Tehran) It has come to light that the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khameini, has made an about-face and condemned President Mahmoud Ajmedinidjad to hang for making incendiary threats against the Jews and for plotting to wipe them off the face of the earth. If reports are correct, this surprising development appears to have been the result of the diligent and dangerous work undertaken by a special female agent of DOSOOM, Israel’s premier reality spy network. Originally from Persia, the agent, codenamed “Regina-E”, was reportedly able to penetrate to the highest levels of the Iranian power structure as a nanny for Ali Khameini’s children and a confidante to many of his wives. Through his wives the agent was able to convince the Ayatollah that killing the Jews would prevent, rather than encourage, the coming of the Twelfth Imam. People are expected to gather in Tehran from the three corners of Iran for the public execution. (Persian Times, Feb 22, 2013)
QUEBEC LANGUAGE WATCH-DOG ERASES HEBREW NAMES (Montreal, February 22)—The Office de la langue française, Quebec’s language police, has decreed that Montreal synagogues must conform to its unilingual norms by changing all public Hebrew signage and names to French. Congregation Chevra Kadisha will become Communité Sainte, Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron will become Maison d’Israel et d’Aaron, and so on. Beth Israel Beth Aaron’s revered spiritual leader R.-Dr. Reuben Poupko denounced the decree, threatening to take Quebec’s premier, Pauline Marois, to a Hasidic Beth Din, or religious court, which could demand that she change her name to Pnina Bat-Yam. (Montreal Gazoo, 22 February 2013)
AHMADINEJAD’S JEWISH ROOTS REVEALED (Baghdad, February 19)—After a scrupulous search of Baghdad’s Genizah documents (originally shredded), Shin Bet sources have revealed that Iranian President Ahmadinejad came from an Iraqi Jewish family which fled Baghdad for Teheran after the 1939 persecution. His name, subsequently changed, was actually Meyer Amchadin, and his work as an Israeli mole within Iran’s religio-political elite was hinted at. (Montreal, Daily Sub-Human, 20 February 2013)
$10 MILLION GRANT AWARDED TO CIJR— Mexican Jewish philanthropist Carlos Rafael Brontesoros, in what is regarded as the single largest grant ever to an independent pro-Israel Jewish academic think-tank, said he wanted to right communal wrongs and do justice to North America’s outstanding Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. CIJR Board Chairman Yaakov Artisman, accepting the grant, noted CIJR would, after 25 years, finally be able to move out of its one-room office in Trois Pistoles, Que. Director Pinchas Wreath, when asked what he would want to do with such a sum, asked whether he could have “a hot roll, with butter?”.
“After much anguish I have decided to become a Christian, to change my name, and to petition Israel—where I can worship freely and without fear of retribution–for citizenship.”_–Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi, henceforth to be called Hannah Ashwednesday (Al Quds, January 20, 2013)
“I come to Israel in a spirit of deep humility and great gratitude, for the debt I owe Bibi Netanyahu can never be really repaid.”—President Barack Hussein Obama, referring to his upcoming March visit to Jerusalem, and to the revelation that his much-disputed birth certificate, found in a Jerusalem archive, was presented to him by the Israeli premier. The certificate indicates he was born not in Hawaii, as initially believed, but in Jerusalem, where his American mother had come to study Kabbalah, technically making him an Israeli citizen [although American authorities will not allow him to list “Jerusalem” on his new passport].
“Oh please, get real! It’s over! And as usual, I take full responsibility. Next question?”—Outgoing Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, testifying at the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee after the second Libyan terrorist attack in late February in Tripoli, where six Americans, including the Ambassador, were taken captive by an Islamic terrorist group. (Incoming Secretary of State John Kerry, noting that “one must talk with one’s enemies, most of whom are good guys”, said he would go to Tripoli personally “at some point in the future”, to negotiate their release. Rep. Senator John McCain, looking, as usual, agitated, said something indecipherable, as usual.) (New York Tombs, Feb. 2, 2003)
David M. Weinberg
Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2013
Doesn’t it seem that life lurches from one crisis to the next? Despite all the rules and laws we create to regulate, stabilize and give structure to our lives, you simply never know, especially here in Israel, what’s going to hit next. Our health, happiness and security are subject to whim, miscalculation, passion, the sudden, unforeseen, unexpected and absurd. We’re not really in control.
It’s the Itamar murders anniversary, juxtaposed this weekend with Purim, that gets me reflecting on the existential realities and uncertainties of life. Weekly upheavals in the Arab world, missile crises that come and go, bolt-from-the-blue deaths by auto accident, and health frailties that jar us from serenity add to my apprehension. We’re not really in control. The capriciousness of life is exactly what Purim is all about.
Megilat Esther is a book of contradictions, filled with events that are unreasonable, coincidental, seemingly pure chance. At one moment, Jews live in security in Persia; the next, they face destruction. Mordechai is threatened with execution; then, suddenly, he becomes prime minister.
Irrational events and moods transform fear into festivity. “Venahafoch hu” – everything gets turned upside down and backward.
The late, great Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik taught that even the name “Purim” (meaning “lottery” or “chance”) expresses the erratic capriciousness of events. Purim alerts us, he explained, to the fickleness of life and man’s susceptibility to accidental turns of fortune – despite the best laid plans.
But man’s vulnerability is not simply a tragic truth, he taught. “It is an ethical postulate that gives rise to modesty and humility in man…. Instability serves to ennoble, to dispel arrogance. The awareness of one’s vulnerability, that there ever lurks a hovering threat which can transform our condition, that suddenly without reason, man can be cast down from the throne of success to the pit of despair – should enhance our ethical character.”
In Israel these days, such humility seems to be in short supply. The rich and successful, and the politically powerful, exude a preening pride and overbearing self-confidence that leaves no room for self-criticism or selfdoubt. Nor for God. Israelis are, as a rule, absolutely certain that their individual viewpoint is absolutely correct, barring all others. So much for the Mishna, which reminds us to “be humble exceedingly” (Avot 4:4). Tolerance, which stems from humility, also remains largely a foreign concept.
So it might be a good idea to force all our would-be leaders to hear the megila read aloud in synagogue this week. A little humble pie would do them, and us, plenty good. The Purim story also provides an excellent lesson, to presidents, prime ministers and commoners, in understanding the link between Providence and human endeavor. The megila hints that beyond the intrigue of royal courtyards, and behind the politics of an Oval Office, lies a Hidden Hand operating on a transcendental plane.
Beyond the grasp of man’s finite mind, there is order and purpose, a higher Divine order into which man has not been initiated. In short, what appears random, isn’t. The “pur” (the “chance” mentioned above) is really planned. Even now, with all the bloodthirsty, genocidal and threatening actors around us, God is engaged. Israel at 65 – uncertain of its identity and direction – is not alone.
Moreover, the saga in Shushan proves that Divine decision-making can be influenced by virtuous and bold action; by wise leaders whose moral authority can unify and heal; and by sincere prayer. Leaders have the responsibility to act wisely, bravely and honestly – even though decisive control of history lies elsewhere. “Everything is in the hand of heaven,” says the Talmudic sage Rabbi Hanina, “but man still possesses moral freedom” (Brachot 33b)…..
Not a Coincidence: Shmuel Rabinowitz, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2013—Mordechai was appointed a minister in the Persian kingdom, and the Jews obtained permission from the king to defend themselves from their enemies. The pair of words taken from Megillat Esther – “venahafoch hu,” meaning “the opposite happened” – symbolizes the change in the Jews’ status from a group whose murder was permissible, to a nation with the right to protect and avenge itself.
Megila Millennium: Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2013—No one seems to have noticed that we are on the eve of the two-and-a-half thousandth anniversary of the story of Purim. Incredible that we still read and celebrate that story every year – twice a year in Israel.
Judaism: Drinking on Purim: When Ignorance is Bliss: Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 22, 2013—On Purim we are challenged to transform the Hamans in our lives into Mordecais. On Purim we must reach out to one another; all who “stretch out their hand” must be responded to. If only for this one, marvelous day, we must get beyond our stubborn refusal to acknowledge others who are “not like us”. If only for this one day, we must reach out to anyone and everyone in the Jewish community.
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