Purim has a Dark Side

Esther denouncing Haman / Ernest Normand
Esther denouncing Haman / Ernest Normand

I have been struggling for weeks over a post that I wanted to make about Purim. There’s a dark side to Purim, a very dark side. Its yearly permission to hate Haman and to “blot out Amalek” has borne some evil fruit over the centuries.  Finally, though, someone wiser and more articulate than me has written what I was trying to say. Shaul Magid has published  The Dark Side of Purim  in The Forward, and I recommend it.

Note: The article quotes the eminent Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz. I am told by Rabbi Josh Yuter that that is an apocryphal story, that in fact he never said that.

Purim can be fun, it can bear good fruit, but it always makes me uneasy, too. Magid articulates this unease quite beautifully.

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi based in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, mom, poodle groomer, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ as the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

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