Purim – From One to None

Chapter Three of the Book of Esther contains Haman’s perception analysis of the Jewish People in verse 8:

וַיֹּאמֶר הָמָן, לַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ–יֶשְׁנוֹ עַם-אֶחָד מְפֻזָּר וּמְפֹרָד בֵּין הָעַמִּים

which translates as

And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus: ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples…

A suggested re-reading of that could describe the situation of the Jews as a people scattered and dispersed but among themselves who exist among other nations since they are in Exile.

‘There is a certain people scattered and dispersed abroad among the peoples…’

In fact, being in Exile is the major, not the sole, factor that causes this lack of internal unity, joint self-respect and shared communal values.

Some of the comments on Israel’s actions and policies and those of its leaders among so-called Jewish intellectuals, personalities (including comedians), lay leaders and religious figures illustrate well this curse.  As reflected in the words of the Pslamist, detachment, both physical, mental and psychological, from the idea of a Jewish homeland, a status of soverign power, of a religion and culture that is moral and ethical and truly safeguards the Jewish people no matter how unobservant and non-practicing they are, is what leads to this weakness of mind, of resolve and of commitment:

“How could we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?” (Ps 137:4)

It is asked why did Haman seek to destroy all of Persia’s Jews if it was only Mordechai who annoyed him, being disrespectful?  The last Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out that, as is recorded (Esther 3:4), the advisors continuously reminded Haman that Mordechai “had told them that he was a Jew”.  Haman then realized that it was because Mordechai was a Jew – not that he was but a Mordechai who was acting alone but acting out of convictions of what is right and just and true based on his traditions, his moral code and his Torah – that he was being confronted with something deeper, something more complicated.  And that is why his hate grew to include all Jews.

We, all of us Jews, are one.  If sections cannot grasp that and seek to separate, to disperse themselves from the main body of Jews and Judaism, then they will become none.



About yisraelmedad

I am a revenant, that is, a Jew who has returned to his historical homeland. I live in Shiloh, the pre-monarchy capital of the Israel tribal federation where I have lived with my family since 1981. I have been in Israel since 1970. Previously, I have worked in the Knesset, as a parliamentary aide, in Government, as an advisor to a Minister and Deputy-Minister, as director of Israel’s Media Watch, and now retired Director of Information Resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center after 17 years. I have now been appointed Deputy Editor to the critical anthology edition of Jabotinsky's Writings in English.
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