Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Maccabeats do Purim; UPDATE An Answer to the Purim Question

While no one seems to be able to answer collegeman's and HSB's question about Purim (sadly I have received some nasty replies ranging from that we in my family are generally stupid to that we are too ignorant to understand Torah Judaism), our friendly neighborhood Yeshiva U acapella group has done it again, only this time its for Purim.

In the meantime, the boys would like an answer to their question about Haman and why is it suddenly OK to be overjoyed at the death of an enemy at Purim, when it doesn't happen anywhere else in Judaism.

UPDATE: Now see an answer I received below.

I received a wonderful reply. Staying Afloat, one of my readers who is an observant Orthodox Jew, recommended that I contact an organizaation called Well I sent them an email and here is the reply:

     If we are taught to not feel joy at our enemies destruction, like with the drowning of the
     Egyptians,when God stopped Miriam from singing; why do we feel joy at the death of Haman,
     sing songs and even eat hamantaschen which are supposed to be his ears. My children are
     confused and honestly I have no answer for them.

Shalom --

Thank you for your interesting question.

First, the sages teach that God stopped the angels form singing - not the
Jews (albeit that Miriam's song is reported in an abbreviated form). And for
that there is a great distinction. The Jews sing for their own salvation; the
angels sing about the greater glory of God. When one sings about the latter,
without a personal stake in the matter, it must be very well tempered with the
realization that the greater glory of God would be best served if the evil-doers
were to change their ways and not be destroyed. The joy is far from

But, what of the evil is incorrigible? What if there is no hope of its ever being
a positive element in the cosmos? Then, we would all rejoice in its downfall.
And the verse tells us in the war against Amalek (of whom Haman was a
descendant) that their war against the Almighty is eternal. The philosophy
that they espouse, that is part of their essence, is so totally anti-God that it
cannot be fixed and they retain the identity of Amalek.

I hope that this has been helpful.

With blessings from the Holyland,

Rabbi M. Younger

In other words, we can be happy at the destruction of evil that has no redemption. I suppose this truly is an understanding that pure evil does exist and we are entitled to be happy at its destruction. This I like and so do the boys. Collegeman said he will go back to eating hamantaschen now.

Until next time,


P.S. Here is another music video of the same Purim song. What is wonderful here is that the students are dancing in the valleys surrounding Jerusalem and in the background if you look closely, you can see the stone walls of the Old City.

UPDATE on the UPDATE: After the slaughter at Itamar this past weekend, collegeman has decided that rabbinic Judaism needs a makeover. He has decided that its time that the Jews go biblical on their enemies. Of course, HSB has thought that for some time....Maybe their issue has not been with Purim all along but with the idea of some form of suicide. Read Here.

UPDATE NO. 2: GLEE did a version of the Pink song that is the basis for this Purim music...I warned everyone I am definitely a Gleek