Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I originally wrote this story in an intoxicated state on Purim eve in 2003. I have since re-written and updated it.

There is an axiom in the Arab Muslim world and in the world of wacko conspiracy theorists – “It’s all about the Jews.”
The Jews control everything; manipulate everything; even, as Holocaust deniers such as President Ahmanutjob of Iran have said, starved themselves to make the “fake movies” that were taken when the Allied troops liberated the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.
Several years ago, a newspaper column written by a United States Senator, Fritz Hollings, said that President Bush invaded Iraq “to secure Israel.”
“It’s all about the Jews.”
The first of the horror videos created for mass consumption by Islamic death cultists, was the murder of Jewish American journalist, Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. The second showed the slaughter of Nick Berg, an American Jew, in a Muslim cultic murder in Iraq.
“It’s all about the Jews.”
Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah ibn Abd Al-'Aziz once stated at a gathering of Saudi dignitaries, including top Muslim clerics and preachers that “It became clear to us now that Zionism is behind terrorist actions in the kingdom. I can say that I am 95% sure of that."
“It’s all about the Jews.”
President Ahmanutjob of Iran blamed Israel and the Jews for the fact that the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published cartoons about Muhammad.
“It’s all about the Jews.”
The list is endless and there is literally a new story every day how everything that happens in the world is because of the Jews.

The problem is – it’s true. It is all about the Jews.
However, the fools of the world believe in a Jewish conspiracy where the Jews control everything and therefore events flow from the Jewish people.
Those who study Torah of the Jews know that G-d is in control and all events originate with G-d.
He has promised in His Torah that what happens in this world of “Olam Hazeh,” this material world, is because of His relationship with the Children of Israel. From Hashem’s perspective, it is all about the Jews.
And as much as the Jewish people plead "I know we're the chosen people, but, once in a while, couldn't you choose someone else?" (Tevye, “Fiddler on the Roof”), it is always going to be all about the Jews.
Both Jew and gentile are confused by this seemingly bizarre paradox every day.
But it is irrevocable and omnipresent, as can be demonstrated by the most confusing Jewish holiday of them all, Purim.

Purim is an odd holiday. It is not a major festival such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover and, it happened a long time after Passover and the other major holidays were established by the Torah. But, nonetheless, it is a time of wonders and miracles where the presence of G-d remains totally hidden. G-d demonstrates His power by creating a puzzle which confuses both Jew and gentile alike….

The story of Purim, the Megillah of Esther, occurred around 2,500 years ago.
The story begins with King Achashverosh, the king of Persia, married to Vashti, his queen.
He throws a big party. Everybody, including all of the Jews, get to come.
After some drunken carousing and revelry, the king orders his queen to come before him and his guests, naked, wearing nothing besides her royal crown. She refuses to come and, as all good Persian despots do, he has her executed. (And already, thousands of years later, we see something that is recognizable today, in the Middle Eastern Muslim world.)
Queen-less, the king calls out and sequesters all of the eligible women in the land.
Esther, a Jew, gets herded in with the rest of them. No one knows she is Jewish and her uncle Mordechai tells her to keep her identity secret. And, of course, from among all the women taken to the palace, the king falls in love with her and Esther becomes Queen. (But of course – “it’s all about the Jews.”)
The Plot thickens: King Achashverosh's top minister is a man named Haman.
Haman becomes pathologically obsessed with Mordechai, the Jew, whom Haman believes is royally dissing him.
So, Haman gets King Achashverosh to agree to issue a secret decree to annihilate all of the Jews of Persia on the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. (I believe that in modern times, this interesting idea of killing one Jew or killing all the Jews, what’s the difference? – still tends to prevail in the Middle Eastern Muslim world.) He decides on the best date for genocide by leaving it up to chance, by throwing lots which are called "purim."
Haman believes that everything that happens on Earth is a random occurrence.
He believes that everything happens by chance. (Except, of course, “it’s all about the Jews.”)
But, by casting lots, by creating Purim, Haman, who believes in the transcendent power of Chance, suddenly becomes the model of the fact that Nothing happens by chance.
Because, from the moment that Haman shakes the dice, everything begins to change. Everything becomes “topsy – turvy.”
Things begin to go very bad for Haman.
Haman gets called to King Achashverosh and is asked how to honor someone whom the King wishes to honor. Expecting that these honors will be for himself, he lays out a fine set of accolades and laurels only to find he, himself, is forced to bestow these honors on his arch-enemy Mordechai.
Then, Haman is overjoyed to be invited along with the King to a feast given by Queen Esther, believing that he is once more being honored above all others, only to discover at the feast that the Queen is Jewish!
Big, big Oops for Haman!
Suddenly, Haman finds himself accused by the Queen of plotting to murder her along with her people.
Oops! Ouch!
Haman begs for mercy and throws himself onto the queen's bed only to be caught by the king in this rather precarious position.
Oops! Double Ouch!
Haman is accused of attempted rape. Oh my goodness gracious!
How could things have possibly gotten this turned upside down, wonders Haman?
But, wait, there’s more!
Haman erected a giant gallows to hang Mordechai, whom he was just itching to kill. Unfortunately for Haman, King Achashverosh sentences Haman to die on this same gallows. This may be the origins of gallows humor (oops).
And, as for Queen Esther, Mordechai, and the Jews, whom Haman wanted to annihilate; to wipe off the face earth? Well, rather than being annihilated, they are given the king's permission to annihilate their enemies. And Mordechai is given Haman’s place as Prime Minister.

“The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor.” (Megillah, The Book of Esther, VIII, 16)

Throughout the entire Book of Esther, the name of G-d is never mentioned.
The Hebrew word that best describes Purim is venahafoch hu, meaning "flipped over story."
The things that look bad in the Purim story; that seemed to be happening by chance were, in fact, intricately planned by G-d for the Good. The lesson is that Nothing happens by accident. Nothing happens by chance.
G-d conceals His presence in the world, but we see G-d’s actions in real life history.
G-d is the Hidden Master who puts everything into place.
Because everything is not what it seems.
It would appear, that in G-d’s plans - it is all about the Jews.
Because, for better or for worse, the Purim story seems to be still happening today.

In the year 1991, Saddam Hussein, the evil dictator of Iraq, was utterly defeated in war by a United States led coalition, led by President George Bush.
Saddam Hussein periodically promised to wipe out Israel, both before and after the first Gulf War.
Iraq was the only country that invaded Israel in 1948 that never signed an armistice agreement in 1949. Iraq is the only other Middle Eastern country that did not border on Israel, which kept on attacking Israel with its armies along with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, the countries that did border on Israel.
During the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein attacked Israel with 39 scud missiles for no other purpose than to murder Israelis; he wanted to annihilate the Jews.
Israel is the only nation in the modern history of the world to give absolutely no response after being viciously attacked by another nation.
The first Gulf War was the only occurrence in Israel’s history where Israel did not retaliate against an enemy that attacked them; an enemy who had sworn to annihilate Israel.
And, this is the only instance in the history of the world where a stronger nation, Israel, was attacked by a weaker nation, Iraq, and the stronger nation did not defend itself or retaliate, even as the weaker nation was totally defeated.

In the year 1991, Saddam Hussein, the evil dictator of Iraq, was utterly defeated in the first Gulf War – on Purim.
His generals signed a treaty with the coalition force that defeated him, in a tent somewhere outside of the city of Basra in Iraq. According to the Jewish calendar, that day was the 14th of Adar, 5751 – Purim.

The area that encompasses part of modern day Iraq was formerly known as Babylon. Babylon was the kingdom that destroyed the First Temple; conquered Israel; and took the Jews back to their land as slaves. Persia in turn conquered Babylon.
It is that Persia where King Achashverosh ruled over the former Babylonian Jews at the time of the original Purim, 2,500 years ago.
According to the Book of Esther, from the beginning of King Achashverosh’s reign to the time that that Haman’s evil plans were overturned and Haman was destroyed was a period of twelve years.

Twelve years after President George Bush accepted Saddam Hussein’s surrender in 1991, President George Bush announced the start of a new war against Saddam Hussein. He said “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.”
President George Walker Bush declared war on Saddam Hussein in March of 2003, 12 years after his father, President George Herbert Walker Bush, made peace. He declared war on the 14th of Adar, 5763 - Purim.
The entire twelve years, from the time President George H.W. Bush signed a treaty on Purim with the evil dictator, Saddam Hussein, who wanted to annihilate the Jews, to the time his son, President George W. Bush, declared war on Purim with the evil dictator, Saddam Hussein, a new, “flipped over” story was created - a modern Purim story.

During those twelve years, this new Purim story said that Saddam Hussein was utterly defeated.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story said Saddam was a dangerous maniac.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story encouraged Iraqis to rebel and overthrow their dictator.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story let the defeated Saddam Hussein defeat his rebellious subjects.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story had the defeated, dangerous, peaceful, maniacal Saddam Hussein paying terrorists to try to annihilate Israel and attack the “victorious” United States.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story saw an “insignificant,” “defeated” Saddam Hussein bribe the world into doing whatever he wished to do and become a major threat to world peace.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story saw Saddam Hussein grow and prosper as the evil dictator of Iraq while President George H.W. Bush was removed from office.
During those twelve years, this new Purim story saw the new President George W. Bush elected, ostensibly by “confused, elderly, Jewish voters” living in Florida.

On Purim, 2003, this new President George W. Bush proclaimed that the dictator of Iraq was not defeated. The United States declared war on the only country that ever attacked Israel where Israel did not retaliate.
Then, after twelve years of this new Purim story, Saddam Hussein and his evil sons were annihilated.
Just as after 12 years, in the Megillas Esther, the story of Purim, the Prime Minister of Persia, Haman, and his evil sons were annihilated.
There is even a strange twist in to the story that is independent of Purim, yet still relates to the Jews.
In Jewish synagogues throughout the world, a portion of the Torah is read each week. It is the same portion everywhere in the world and it is called the weekly parsha.
In December, 2003, Saddam Hussein, filthy and bedraggled, was pulled from a pit and captured. Thus ended the kingship of Saddam Hussein.
The Torah portion for that week was called Vayeishev. It told of the story of Joseph. On that week, the Torah told how Joseph was pulled from a pit and sold into slavery in Egypt. This was the beginning of his rise to power as Pharaoh’s Prime Minister. Thus began the kingship of Joseph.

On the thirteenth year of the Purim story in the Book of Esther - the Megillah tells us that the Jewish holiday of Purim was established by the authority of Queen Esther and the new Prime Minister, Mordechai.
A decree of Law obligated the all Jews to remember this holiday forever.

“That is why they called these days ‘Purim’ from the word ’pur’. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and because of what they had experienced, and what had happened to them, the Jews undertook and irrevocably obligated themselves and their descendants, and upon all who might join them, to observe these two days, without fail, in the manner prescribed, and at the proper time each year. Consequently, these days should be remembered and celebrated by every single generation, family, province, and city. And these days of Purim should never cease among the Jews, nor shall their remembrance perish from their descendants.” (Megillah, the Book of Esther, IX, 26-28)

On the thirteenth year of this modern Purim story, the year 2004, the Iraqis did not sign a new, interim constitution.
They were supposed to sign on new constitution on Purim, but they put it off for one day. Grand Ayatollah Sistani, the leading Muslim Shia authority in Iraq, advised postponing the signing of this new Iraqi constitution for one day.
Iraq’s new constitution; the first new decree, perhaps in Iraq’s entire history, establishing justice and Laws was signed the following day. That date was the 15th of Adar, 5764, on the day the Jews call Shushan Purim.

“But the Jews in Shushan mustered on both the thirteenth and fourteenth days, and so rested on the fifteenth, and made it a day of feasting and merrymaking. That is why village Jews, who live in unwalled towns, observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and make it a day of merrymaking and feasting, and as a holiday and an occasion for sending gifts to one another.” (Megillah, the Book of Esther, IX, 18)

The Jews that live in walled cities, such as Shusan, which, according to the Book of Esther, was the capitol of King Achashverosh during the time of the Megillah, celebrate Purim a day later. This day is called Shushan Purim.
Shushan was a walled city. In the Megillah, it was the capital of Persia.
Historians tell us that the capital of Persia at that time may have been a city called Ctesiphon. When the Arab dynasty of the Abbasids built Baghdad, it was on the site of an older walled city also called Baghdad, and they purposely used the ruined building materials from the nearby ancient walled city of Ctesiphon – which is Shushan, the capital of Persia in the story of Purim.
The new, interim Iraqi constitution was signed in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, a walled city from the time of the Megillah, on Shusan Purim, the Purim of walled cities.

Purim is a time when the Name of G-d is hidden; when the Hand of G-d is not revealed.
Purim is a time where nothing is what it seems.
Purim is a time when, in reality, Everything is manipulated by G-d, for G-d’s purposes.
It is a time when G-d reveals that He is the only one in control.

At the end of Megillah, our rabbis tell us that Achashverosh was no more and that a new king arose in Persia who looked favorably on the Jews.
This would have happened after the fourteenth year of the Purim story.
This year is the end of the 14th year of the Purim story.
Purim this year is March 14th, 2006; the 14th of Adar, 5766.
The Fast of Esther, Tanis Esther, where Jews fast for the day in remembrance of that day when all Jews fasted for the sake of Queen Esther being received favorably by Achashverosh, the king, hoping that he would remove his evil decree to wipe out the Jews, is on March 13th, the 13th of Adar. Purim is on March 14th, the 14th of Adar. And Shushan Purim in on March 15th, the 15th of Adar…

A Freilichin Purim to all!

(Which simply means – Happy Purim! )