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.

Categories: Purim

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3 replies

  1. I thought I would share another rabbi’s thoughts about Amelek and the issues of violence that Purim brings up. Rabbi Roberto Graetz has a lovely drash this week that you can read here: http://www.temple-isaiah.org/clergy-blog/dvar-torah/parshat-tzav-leviticus-61-836/2487/

    He reflects on the mitzvot of feeding the poor and giving gifts of mishloach manot as the OTHER side of how we address the story.



  1. Purim Resources | Coffee Shop Rabbi

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