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.