Shaya Cohen -


Celebrate Our Enemies

They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s eat!

On Purim, we celebrate our enemies.

No, really! Who would remember Haman or Nebuchadnezzar or Amalek if they were not something that we Jews insist on commemorating every single year? In the case of Amalek, the Torah commands us to remember them (and not forget them) every single day. Even though Amalek have been gone for thousands of years.

On Purim, when we publicly make a raucous noise every time we hear Haman’s name, as if to blot it out, the net effect is that Haman is celebrated more than ever.

This is the twisted, topsy-turvy world in which we live. The bad guys are celebrated. The good guys are forgotten. Most importantly, in the book of Esther which we read on Purim, G-d’s name is not mentioned at all.

This is because the events of Purim created the post-prophetic world for the Jewish people. A world in which G-d is found only by those who look for Him, in which no miracle is so overt that an unbeliever is compelled to believe. A world of unintended consequences, the results of which leads us to see that, while it all may look like unbridled chaos and the reign of evil, G-d is here, and watching, and involved. The Purim story is our story.

On Purim Jews often drink – until they do not know the difference between the hero Mordechai and the villain Haman. That is because Mordechai (named after a Babylonian Deity) is the picture of assimilation, until Haman’s anti-semitism forces the Jews to unite and save themselves. The villain turns out to be the hero.

And this is why we celebrate our enemies. They keep us together. And every time we remember them (and their descendants do not), we get to twist the knife, just a little bit more. We celebrate our enemies because we know that, were they not already dead, the sight of millions of Jews raucously partying at the mere mention of their name, would kill them all over again.


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