Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kings and Superheroes

Today in Israel, kings and queens, princes and superheroes walked the streets of our country. Everywhere, there were brides. It was a day where young boys dressed as soldiers, and soldiers dressed as young boys. It was a day of fun in a land that is often too serious.

Somewhere out there, it is likely that there is a Boeing 777 that has been hijacked for the purposes of using it as a major weapon. It isn't beyond reality to think that Israel is a prime target. If you think things through, you'll likely come to the conclusion that without refueling, that jet probably can't reach the US, but it can reach Israel and large sections of Europe.

We have enemies to the north, who have just authorized its citizens to feel free to attack Israel. We have enemies to the south that fired about 100 rockets at us this past week. We have an unstable land to the north-east and too often violence spills over our border; and we have an unstable border to our south-west where Gaza terrorists use the Sinai to attack and fire rockets.

I don't think anyone can blame us for taking a day to be silly. Amira dressed as a princess in pink; her husband was amazingly clad as the court jester. Their son was a lion who roared and had the cutest nose and whiskers. Elie and Lauren and their baby combined to be dressed as an x-ray - they wore black and the baby wore a skeleton stretchie/onesie.

Twice, we listened to the reading of the Purim story - it is an incredible story of triumph with all the perfect plots and undercurrents.

A stupid king, vain and filled with only his own interests. An evil right-hand man, conceded and power hungry. Haman decides to hate the Jews and abuses the power and influence he has with the king to get the monarch to issue an edict declaring a national day of murder.

The plot is uncovered - the king has unknowingly married a Jew and so when she begs her husband to save her people, he agrees. A second edict is issued rescinding the first edict and the evil Haman is hanged by the decree of the king.

And the amazing part is that this isn't a story but truth. How do we know...there are many ways, but perhaps the simplest is one I've written about before. When it was discovered that there were Jews in Ethiopian, most likely descendents of the tribe of Dan, Israelis began the process of bringing them home to Israel. At one point, the rabbis of Israel sat with the religious leaders of the Ethiopian community to compare religious observance.

Holidays that were detailed in the Torah - Passover, Rosh Hashanah, etc. can be found in both communities - but there were differences. For one thing, the rabbis were astounded to hear that on the holiday of Purim, the Ethiopian Jews fasted and mourned.

Why? They asked the Ethiopian Jews...because, it was explained, on that day, the Jews of Persia were murdered by the king.

No, explained the rabbis - they were saved by Esther, the heroine of the Purim megillah. You didn't get the second edict, explained Israel's rabbis. The Jews were saved!

Today in the streets of Israel, I saw many Ethiopian Jews - they were dressed in costume, filled the synagogues, and celebrated with us.

So our week began with one of the happiest of holidays - my Facebook page was filled with friends in costume, and throughout the land, people exchanged gift baskets of food and drink.

Yes, there's a plane out there and rockets galore...but in every generation, there is a Haman waiting to destroy us. The names change - Amalek, Haman, Hitler, Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah - it doesn't really matter because our land is filled with kings and superheroes, princes and queens and court jesters and lions.

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