Every year, on the first or second Shabbat following Purim, a special reading from Numbers 19, is added to the regular Shabbat Torah reading. Known as Parashat Parah, the Torah reading concerns the special purification ceremony of the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) one of the most intricate and mysterious laws found in the Torah.
During the holiday of Purim, celebrated just last week, Jews around the world commemorated the salvation of the Jewish people from physical decimation. Because Haman had such great influence over Achashverosh, the Emperor of Persia-Medea (an empire that encompassed the vast majority of the then “known world”), this celebration was written into law for all Jews, for all time. However, throughout history, there have been other averted massacres – none on the grand scale of Purim – resulting in the implementation of various local Purim celebrations.
Habakuk cried out to God to witness the perversions of justice. “How long, O God, shall I cry out, and You will not hear? Shall I shout to you, “Violence!” and You do not save? Why do You show me iniquity …?” (1:2-3).
Everyone, at some point in their lives, gets sick, even if it is with just a mild “bug.” Interestingly, the Talmud notes: “Until the time of Jacob, nobody became sick before he died. Then Jacob prayed [for a warning before death so that last wishes may be conveyed], and sickness came into being…Until the time of Elisha [the prophet] no sick person ever recovered, but Elisha prayed and he did recover…” (Baba Metzia 87a). Alas, this is really no consolation to humankind today which is afflicted by a wide range of illnesses and diseases.
The Jewish nation is a people of faith and, as part of our unique combination of peoplehood and religion, must grapple with defining heresy. Jewish life has a basic, structured framework, but, within that, lies a great deal of latitude for individuality. So what makes one a “heretic”?
“A person should drink on Purim up to the point where they cannot tell the difference between ‘Blessed is Mordechai’ and ‘Cursed is Haman’” (Megilla 7a).
Oy vey, from gentiles to Jewish mothers, we all see JDating a bit differently! While we know most of these images are meshugenah, here’s a funny look at how those around us may see the world of JDating! Share it and have a good laugh!
“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I and my maidens will also fast in like manner; and so will I go into the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). So responded Esther to her uncle Mordechai when he requested that she present herself, unbidden, before King Achashverosh.
Purim is celebrated on Thursday, March 8th (beginning Wednesday evening, March 7th, after sunset). Four mitzvot are associated with the holiday:
“And the maiden [Esther] pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily provided her with her ointments, along with her appointed rations, and with the seven maids, which were designated to be given to her out of the king’s house…” (Esther 2:9).