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Although most of us are now focused on Pesach and rolling up our sleeves - both physically and mentally - we need to keep close to our hearts a wrenching message that was brought to the fore this particular Purim. For me and many other Jews, Purim was not "business as usual" in terms of having great fun, merrymaking and partying. Our joy was deeply tempered by the haunting images of the murdered Fogel family - a young mother, father, and three of their six children, including a three-month old infant girl - who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they slept, by Palestinian descendants of Amalek.
Rabbi David Fohrman of the Hoffberger Institute for Torah Study is an engaging speaker and astonishing interpreter of Torah texts, captivating his devoted listeners and readers for decades. The Queen You Thought You Knew: Unmasking Esther's Hidden Story is his most recent publication, unrolling the Megillah with the excitement of a blockbuster.
There is nothing funny about Siona Benjamin's Megillas Esther (2010). Unlike some contemporary illuminated megillas that emphasize the absurd and outlandish nature of the corrupt Persian court and the buffoonish character of the king, Benjamin takes the Book of Esther quite seriously. She is obviously deeply sensitive to the terrible consequences of God's hester panim (hidden face) in our own time.
Feldheim's motto, "Torah Literature of Quality," is well-suited to Purim and the Persian Empire: A Historical, Archaeological & Geographical Perspective. Written by Yeshivat Itri graduate Rabbi Yehuda Landy, this magnum opus is wonderfully prepared, informative and valuable to a wide range of readers. Landy teaches at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim and is a certified tour guide in Israel. His credentials served his research efforts well.
Mordechai, a house painter in Jerusalem ("Mordechai's" name and profession have been changed to protect his identity), was self-employed for over 20 years. For the most part, business had been good. Lately, however, he was finding it difficult to make an adequate living.
I know Purim is over, but Megillat Esther is so rich with lessons on how people should live their lives - along with the consequences of not doing so - that I wish to share one of the many wisdoms that I have gleaned from reading it. I believe that the world wouldn't be in the mess it is in - economically, socially and spiritually - if people would only open their eyes to the megillah's masterful insights on how to behave.
In many countries around the world it is required by law to put warning labels on products, activities or places that can cause injury or death. Thus the labels of many medications and foods or items, such as cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, contain strong warnings on them saying that they are harmful. Likewise beaches that are unsafe to swim in due to a strong current, lack of a lifeguard, or high bacterial count also have signs posted cautioning people not to go swimming. Hospital rooms that contain radioactive products have signs warning about entering.
Such a nice story the Megillah Esther is, don't you think?
Smart husbands know that their wives as a rule are full of common sense and wisdom and if they want to be successful in life, they should listen to what their wife has to say - and follow it.
QUESTION: On Purim we read the Megilla but do not recite Hallel, unlike other holidays. I am told that the Talmud teaches that the Megilla replaces Hallel. If so, could the Passover Haggadah replace Hallel as well? (Yet we do say Hallel on Passover.) I also remember learning that there is a connection between the holidays of Purim and Passover. Please explain.Andy Goodman(Via e-mail)
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