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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 22 Feb 2019 07:52 PM and ends Sat 23 Feb 2019 08:50 PM
י"ב אדר ב' ה' אלפים תשע"א
Parshat Zachor is read on the Shabbos prior to Purim.
It is Biblical obligation for all males above bar mitzvah to hear the reading of Parshas Zachor in the presence of a minyan.
Women should make every effort to hear the laining as well. Those listening to the reading of Zachor must have in mind to fulfil their obligation through the ba'al koreh. The latter must have in mind that the listeners will be yotze through him.
I don’t care if he had a difficult childhood. He might well have been socially inept. One imagines that he had an unhappy home life and he probably felt a strong sense of alienation from contemporary society, but in my humble opinion, none of these justifications excuse mass murder.
It might be politically incorrect but I believe that to rationalise evil is to excuse it. The BBC would not agree with my callous attitude towards the legitimate national aspirations of would-be murderers; the New York Times editorial board would urge me to show more understanding for those who wish to commit genocide, but I’m willing to go out on a wing and call evil for what it is.
Imagine if Haman was alive today and threatening that in a few months he intended to kill all Jews wherever in the world they may live. After an exhaustive 3-week round of international diplomacy, the UN would no doubt produce an even-handed affirmation of the Anti-Semites’ right to national self-determination and simultaneously condemn Israel for its own provocative behavior in allowing private citizens to renovate their own homes.
The story of Purim was not just a once-off; in every time and every generation there have been those who wished to destroy our people.
Haman was not just some ancient story-book character with a funny hat. He is the ‘freedom fighter’ who climbs through windows at night and slits the throat of defenseless little boys. The people of Shushan were not just inhabitants of an ancient metropolis; bit players in the Purim drama, rather, in their modern incarnation they’re the adoring crowd of death worshippers who dedicate public parks to bus bombers and drive-by shooters.
I’m sure the College professors of ancient Persia were just as vociferous in their condemnation of Mordechai for his apartheid-like attitude towards Jewish separatism and his refusal to adopt contemporary mores as are their contemporary equivalents in the campuses of today.
Close your eyes and can’t you just see the conspiracies theorists of the time scrolling through their parchment manuscripts of The Protocols of the Young Men of Zion before setting out on their campaigns of intimidation and destruction.
The threats are real and the dangers are ever present. Haman of long ago is the Ahmadinejad of today and the UN is just the present day incarnation of the 127 nations of the Megilla.
The world we live in delights in moral equivalence. Just because deliberate, indiscriminate mass murder may not feel right for some, so the fuzzy logic goes, it may be acceptable to those of other cultures. But as the object of all that hatred throughout the ages, Jews have a more immediate understanding of the dangers that uninhibited hate speech may lead to.
Murder is bad. Anti-Semitism is evil. Those who would have us embrace our enemies are complicit in our intended destruction. Those who urge Israel to sign away its territorial buffer in exchange for empty promises and unrelenting terror understand the inevitable dangers that await and don’t care.
It is only when good people refuse to ignore depravities and speak up against terror that freedom can reign.
We gather in Shul on Purim and remember not just what Haman wanted to do to our nation as a collective, but also to us, as individuals. We’re not ashamed to call evil by its name. We shout, we stamp and try to drown out the mention of Haman in a cacophony of sound. We will not quail before our enemies or try to appease the media and do-nothing types who publicly wish us well but privately exult in our suffering.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are just the public face of the BBC, the Guardian and the New York Times. There are so-called journalists employed at the Melbourne Age who would have felt at home in the Stuermer of the 40’s and the UN is as deliberately incompetent nowadays as were the Hitler appeasers in the League of Nations.
We will not be cowed. We will not be silenced. The Jewish people have survived the dangers of the past because we stood in solidarity and called evil by its name and we will do so again until our G-d who saved us then redeems us once again with Moshiach, the Mordechai of our generation, leading us home in peace.