While many people believe that the holiday of Purim is a celebration of the Jewish people miraculously avoiding annihilation, there is another important aspect to the Jewish holiday that is largely overlooked by contemporary lay leaders.
What Purim is ‘really’ all about
The rabbi of Kfar Tapuach, Rabbi Yehuda Richter, reveals in a recent lecture that the Purim holiday is a day of celebrating the downfall of the enemies of the Jewish people. Furthermore, the celebration itself is a cautionary tale to all of Israel’s enemies warning them that if they try to destroy the nation of Israel, not only will they fail but their demise will be celebrated by the Jewish people for eternity.
Keeping the king up at night
Rabbi Richter refers to the Talmud megillah page 16. This tractate tells the story of the king of Persia, Ahashveros, who was having trouble sleeping. “All of a sudden, he remembers that he was saved by Mordechai” the rabbi explains.
As the king considers ways to show appreciation to Mordechai for saving his life, in walks his evil advisor Haman. Ahashverosh turns to Haman asking for a suggestion to reward a man who saved the life of the King. Assuming the king was referring to himself, Haman
recommended the king to throw him a grand parade through the streets of Shushan.
A “Bruce Lee kick”
It was during that celebratory parade that Mordechai delivered Haman what the Rabbi called a “Bruce Lee kick.”
When that day arrived, Mordechai asked Haman to bend down to help him get onto the horse that was to parade the former through the streets. And as Haman bent over, Mordechai gave Haman a “big kick.”
The rabi calls that iconic attack a “kick of humiliation, the kick of rejoicing in the downfall of our enemies.”
The rabbi added that this is also the reason why during the reading of the megillah, the Jewish people stomp their feet each time they hear Haman’s name.
A kick of Pride
“We’re not hiding it. We’re not embarrassed of it. Exactly the opposite – we’re showing it off” he explains. He adds that the stomping of the feet ritual when hearing Haman’s name serves as a proverbial warning shot to Israel’s enemies saying: “those that want to destroy the Jewish people – we tell them look what happened! We make this boisterous party and we publicize our victory telling the evil nations of the world: be careful if you want to come after us.”
When the evil is on top
“Look at the party atmosphere that has happened as we celebrate the downfall of our enemies.”
Rabbi Richter explains how the According to the Talmudic scholar, the Maharal, the fall of the enemies of the Jewish people is a: “tremendous sanctification of God’s name.”
“When the evil are on top, this is a desecration God’s name. It’s a vacuum. However when God punishes our enemies and they fall, this is a tremendous sanctification of God’s name and also the Jewish people.”
“This brings the Jewish people to a complete wholesome level.”
Rabbi Richter also adds that according to the Book ‘Kokhav Yaakov’ as well as “many many other Jewish law books,” a delicacy is added during the feast of Purim even though the feast takes place on the 16th of Adar, one day after the lot that was decided by Haman. The reason is that that date was the day of Haman’s execution and that is how the Jewish people celebrate it.
The rabbi adds more Torah sources to the celebratory atmosphere in the wake of Haman’s hanging with the Book of Torah Vadaat which states that “when Haman was brought out to be hanged on the 16th day of Nisan, all of the jews and all of the priests (the kohanim) pulled out their trumpets” to celebrate like “Louis Armstrong.”