Purim Sameach! Happy Purim

Purim has just started here in Israel (although it takes place a day later in Jerusalem and other ancient cities for reasons cited in the Megillah). Instead of me writing and explaining what it’s all about, here’s a cute video which gives you the full story from a slightly different angle.

I received the video from my daughter (thank you Hadassah!) but I read the rather unexpected back-story about it by chance on Israel Matzav:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

One year ago, just before Purim, Udi Fogel, his wife, and three of his children were murdered. The murder, which shocked and devastated many people, has led over the past year to many initiatives to commemorate the family, and this week in Itamar, where the Fogels lived, a Bet Midrash named Mishkan Udi was dedicated in their name.

After Yair Peled, Udi’s childhood friend from Neve Tzuf, put out a song in his memory, Shlomo Blass, another classmate of Udi from Neve Tzuf, produced an animated film clip. The clip, which is 4:30 minutes long, is based on an essay written by the rabbi of the community where Udi grew up, Rabbi Jonathan Blass (the producer’s father). The clip begins with a lighthearted recap of the Purim story – which is disguised as a spaghetti western – and continues on to a more in-depth interpretation based on Jewish classical sources.

Blass: “The murder struck me hard. Although over the years my class has scattered to different places and our meetings became haphazard, the sense of friendship based on shared childhood memories and experiences has remained strong.”

“I know that many people have done good things in memory of Udi and his family. Some big, some small, some well-known and the vast majority, not. I look at Udi’s family and neighbors and am astonished at the enormous spiritual strength that they have channeled to adding good to the world, when it would be so easy to fall into despair and anger.”

“I also looked for something to do that was in my field. Udi was an educator who always worked out of a sense of love and belonging to the Jewish collective. He served as an officer in a combat unit in his regular service as well as in the reserves. He was in touch with the Garinim Torani’im in the cities . His decision to live in Netzarim before the uprooting and then in Ariel and Itamar sprang from a sense of mission.”

“In the clip I tried to take a Torah subject and make it accessible to the general public in a light-hearted way that does not impinge upon the meaning. I had help from a talented animator and illustrator, Ofer Winter. My decision to use Purim was not just because the holiday falls close to the date of the murder but because the main message of Purim is “Na’hafoch’hu” . That means that it is God who is running the world, even at times when everything looks black. The wisdom, of course, is not just to know that but also to live it. To me, Udi embodied that powerfully, with a smile and a natural humility.”

May we all merit to “ve’nahafoch hu” – an overturning of the Evil Decree into joy and celebration and victory over our enemies.

פורים שמח!

This entry was posted in Judaism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Purim Sameach! Happy Purim

  1. reality says:

    what a lovely blog. You are right Purim sameach to everyone. i was hoping we’d wake up to find that we’d taken the opportunity to destroy Iran but sadly again venahafoch hu Netanyahu has relinqished G-ds opportunity today. Sigh.

  2. Perry says:

    That cartoon is very disturbing. Are the Iranians the same peoples as the Persians who assisted Zerubabbel, Ezra and Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem? I ask this question because Cyrus, followed by Darius, followed Artaxerxes, kept faith with Judah.

    Reality says “! was hoping we’d wake up to find that we’d taken the opportunity to destroy Iran”.
    Does Reality mean all Iranians? Don’t Iranians love their children as much as Israelis love theirs? Israel was founded as a secular parliamentary republic. Its difficulties stem from the fact that its capital Jerusalem, is hostage to the three Abrahamic religions. Had humans had been able to evolve without need to invent supernatural influences, we hairless apes would be so much further advanced in what we know than at present. However, we are very clever; we do know that!
    http://www.srl.caltech.edu/ACE/

    The loss of the Great Library at Alexandria represents the first recorded burning of books. Had it not been destroyed by fire in 30 BC, knowledge, not superstition would have been our reward.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Library

    There once was a Greek named Epicurus who lived from 341–270 BC. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain a happy, tranquil life, characterized by Ataraxia, peace and freedom from fear and Aponia, the absence of pain. He believed in living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil, that death is the end of the body and the soul and should therefore not be feared.

    That the gods do not reward or punish humans, that the universe is infinite and eternal and that events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.

    He supposedly wrote: ” Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

    Sincerely & fraternally,

    Perry

    • anneinpt says:

      Perry, I think you’re taking the cartoon rather too literally. It’s meant as an educational aid and in that respect it is very successful. It gives a (very) short summary of the Megillah, i.e the Book of Esther which is the story of Purim. You may think it unfortunate that the bad guys of the Purim story were killed but that is history and it cannot be changed to suit modern tastes.

      You ask “Are the Iranians the same peoples as the Persians who assisted Zerubabbel, Ezra and Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem? I ask this question because Cyrus, followed by Darius, followed Artaxerxes, kept faith with Judah.”
      I can’t answer that for sure because I’m not a historian, but certainly the way the modern-day Iranian regime is behaving is a far cry from the lenient regime in Achashverosh’s (Xerxes? Artaxerxes?) time, and there is no way the present extremist Islamic Iranian regime would assist Jews to go up to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple! Quite the opposite in fact. They let loose almost daily with blood-curdling threats of massacres and destruction against Israel and the Jews.

      You question “reality”‘s statement about destroying Iran. I can assure you that I know Reality personally and she is a very warm loving person who could not hurt a fly. She is talking in generalities here and certainly does not mean all Iranians, though I invite her here to reply to you if she has time (she is a very busy person).

      As to your statement ” Israel was founded as a secular parliamentary republic. Its difficulties stem from the fact that its capital Jerusalem, is hostage to the three Abrahamic religions.”, I would respectfully disagree. Israel’s main difficulties stem from the fact that it is a Jewish country and the Jews claim it as their homeland. If it were not for the Jews there wouldn’t be any trouble over that country because no one would be interested. As proof you can check your history books and see how it was a dusty desolate backwater until the Jews started to return in the 1800s (though there was always a continuous Jewish presence in Israel throughout the centuries). As Israel began to be developed the Arabs decided that they wanted it. The Christians have their own problems with the Jewish claim to Israel but they have largely come to terms with this.

      Regarding the comment, “Had humans had been able to evolve without need to invent supernatural influences, we hairless apes would be so much further advanced in what we know than at present.” this is a question that is essentially unprovable. We don’t know what would have happened had we evolved without supernatural influences (i.e. G-d) so it is a moot point. Greek philosophers can comment all they want but I do not accept their arguments since I believe in G-d and His constant influence on this world.

      However I thank you for the interesting story and for your thought-provoking comment.

  3. Perry says:

    I certainly agree that before those early Jews returned to Ottoman occupied Palestine, it was a wasteland and that those courageous pioneers made it desirable. I merely suggest they were being more Epicurean than Zionist in their efforts, i.e self-sufficient lives surrounded by friends. Naturally, the French and the British made a real dog’s breakfast of the Middle East after 1919.

    I also support the view that every and all citizens of Israel, without exception, have a duty to bear arms in defence of the nation. Israel will not prosper if an increasing percentage of its male population are permitted to choose Shul to shooting. Martyrdom is not a survival strategy.
    A father’s job is to protect and provide, but the first of these is to protect. Israel is the father.

    I would ask you to bear in mind that regimes change. An earlier NeoBabylonian ruler, Nebuchadnezzar II captured Jerusalem in 597 BC, then the Persians under Cyrus the Great defeated the NeoBabylonians in 536 BC. It is worth understanding that they were Indo-Iranian peoples defeating the Semetic peoples of the Fertile Crescent. The last NB rulers were Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar, who originated from Harran, the last capital of an previous Assyrian Empire. The timeless ebb and flow of humanity is dictated by geography. Nothing is forever and M. Ahmadinejad (pronounced “I am a diner jacket”) is no Cyrus the Great.
    Who says we English are without humour?

    Very best wishes,

    Perry

Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s