Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
Self-compassion helps us recognize our common humanity, accepting that along with everyone else on this planet, we are flawed and imperfect and vulnerable.
Like everyone else, we experience endless irritations, frustrations, betrayals and losses. So even if we put an order in for the life-will-go swimmingly-until-the-day-I-die plan, we won't wallow in shame, self-pity of rage when G-d's agenda is different from our own.
George Elliott is credited with saying, "History repeats itself." Mark Twain sharply improved on it with his observation that "history doesn't repeat itself – but it does rhyme." No matter how much things may change, one constant always remains: the Hamans of the world, the Jew haters who seek "to destroy, to murder and to bring to an end all Jews, from young to old", are somehow forever with us.
It was foretold in the Torah. In the first battle against Amalek, prototype of the anti-Semite throughout the ages, we are informed that although the Jews won the fight, Joshua only "weakened" our enemy. Amalek survived. He continues to plague us in many disguises – masks which have become part of Purim ritual to remind us that people often conceal their true intentions under the guise of noble goals even as they plot the genocide of our people.
What happened in Shushan is the story of our people throughout the ages. It isn't just ancient Persia, the persecutions and the pogroms of the Middle Ages or even the Holocaust of the 20 th century. Tragically it is the story once again of our own times. Not only Persia/Iran but sophisticated France, cultured England, educated Europe and the rest of the "civilized world" are again proving the truth of Elie Wiesel's insight that "the only thing we have learned from history is that we do not learn anything from history."
As we recall the Purim story once again, its warning of enemies who seek our destruction assumes such powerful relevance even here in the United States today.
Let me remind you a little bit about the Jews in Persia of old. When King Achashverosh celebrated his ascent to the throne he threw a huge party to which all were invited. Jews were welcome guests. The drinking was in accord with people's different faiths. In retrospect, a bill decrying hatred against any and all minority groups would almost certainly have passed in the Persian Congress. Yet it only took a short while for Haman to turn his strategy of genocide into national policy.
What was the key to Haman's success? His speech is recorded in the Megillah:
And Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and separate among the peoples throughout all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws differ from [those of] every people, and they do not keep the king's laws; it is [therefore] of no use for the king to let them be (Book of Esther 3:8).
The Jews have dual loyalty!
That is their crime. Ilhan Omar didn't invent the brilliant lie. It's always been Amalek's secret weapon. Hitler knew it. Stalin knew it. Read the Torah on the way in which Pharaoh was able to turn the Egyptians against the Hebrews – the same Egyptians who had been saved by the wisdom of Joseph – and you will find the similar strategy:
" He said to his people, 'Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we are. Get ready, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they increase, and a war befall us, and they join our enemies and wage war against us and depart from the land'" (Exodus 2:9 – 10).
Winston Churchill famously said, "A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots." The lie of Jewish dual loyalty is perpetuated by the Hamans of history even as Jews wherever they reside prove the truth of the promise given by God to Abraham that "I will bless those who bless you."
Purim, happily, is not merely the story of anti-Semitism; it is the biblical record of a major victory over a nefarious anti-Semite. And perhaps the most ironic part of the story is a truth made famous these past few weeks by a contemporary Jew hater.
Ilhan Omar is right; "It's all about the Benjamins."
For Omar "the Benjamins" – a reference to American hundred- dollar bills – was her despicable insinuation that Jews, as the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion long ago put it, control the world behind the scenes with their money.
For the Book of Esther, "the Benjamin" was revealing to us at the outset that Mordechai was "Ish Yemini", from the tribe of Benjamin. And why was that so significant? The rabbis explain that was the reason Mordechai was able to counter Haman's libel and to demonstrate to us throughout the ages how best to overcome our enemies.
While others bowed down to Haman, Mordechai refused. It was a trait he inherited genetically. The rabbis tell us that when Jacob met with his brother Esau he bowed down to him. According to some commentaries, it was a sin for which he would be held accountable. And 11 of Jacob's sons bowed down as well. Only Benjamin, who was not yet born, did not bow. And so Mordechai, a direct descendent of Benjamin, maintained the tradition of his ancestor.
Aware of the threat to their survival, Jews need to put aside their differences and unite in the face of a common enemy.
The man who would not bow down to an enemy in humble submission is the one who encouraged Esther to similarly stand proudly and firmly, without embarrassment or fear, and speak up on behalf of our people. "Who knows," he told her, "if not for a time such as this have you been placed in this position of rulership."
Mordechai and Esther are the heroes of the Purim story because they refused to cower before those who sought to destroy our people. They spoke out against their Haman with all of their strength. It's all about the Benjamins and those who refuse to remain silent when enemies again plot "the final solution" for Israel and for our people.
Maybe it isn't a coincidence that all this is happening at the very time Jews around the world are celebrating Purim. History records not only the recurring story of anti-Semites and anti-Semitism. It also confirms the Divine intervention that has invariably assured our survival. And this miracle – in the one biblical book in which God's name isn't mentioned even once – is a miracle we desperately need today: The miracle of Jews, aware of the threat to their survival, who put aside their differences, united in the face of a common enemy, and collectively recognize that it must've been for "a time such as this" that we are given the opportunity to partner with God.
Israel is a great place to be on the Jewish holiday of Purim, celebrated this year from sunset March 20 through sundown March 21 (March 21-22 in Jerusalem).
Marking the events described in the biblical book of Esther, in which Mordechai and his cousin Esther help the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire triumph over the murderous plot of evil court official Haman, Purim is primetime for parties, costumes and treats.
Here's ISRAEL21c's guide to a rockin' Purim in Israel.
1. Party it up in the streets
The streets of Nachlaot in Jerusalem become one big party at Purim. Photo by Nati Shohat/ FLASH90
Purim in Israel is one big party, and lucky for you, you're more likely to be spoiled for choice than left out in the springy "cold."
But with all the street parties, parades, all-night club and bar parties, remember to take "ad lo yada" — the notion that people should drink until they don't know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys in the Purim story — with a big grain of salt. In other words: Drink and party responsibly!
Clubs in major cities are sure to be packed wall to wall with special events, like Purim Land — a giant DJ-fueled Tel Aviv party held at a secret location — but so are the city streets with annual parades like this one in Tel Aviv and this legendary one in Holon, appropriately named "Ad Lo Yada."
The theme of this year's Holon festival is carnivals of the world, so expect all kinds of shenanigans like circus performers, dancers, roller-skaters, floats, and displays from around the world, and of course crowds dressed in full Purim costume.
And don't even think of missing out on Purim in Jerusalem — the craziest day of the year in the holy city – celebrated the day after Purim elsewhere (this year Friday, March 22). Check out the annual street party in the Nachlaot neighborhood: thousands of people in wild costumes, stands from local businesses selling their goods, and DJs all along Nissim Bachar Street and Gezer Square.
2. Take your partying in a different direction
If wild street and club parties aren't your cup of tea, keep your eyes peeled for special events in other venues, like these:
Tailormade99 cocktail bar's whimsical Alice in Wonderland themed ticketed dinner service in Tel Aviv, curated by Chef Benny Azulay with a secret menu based on the classic tale. For tickets and info, click here.
A 1980s-themed bash in the upscale Whisky Bar and Museum at the edge of the trendy Sarona Market complex includes drinks (first one with your event ticket is free) and a portal back to the fun decade with DJ Amir Point. For tickets and info, click here.
Or try the ultimate 5-day Purim package at Abraham Hostels, which not only gets you into the hostel's Purim party festivities happening in their Jerusalem and Tel Aviv locations (and shuttles you there), but also gains you access to their famous Tel Aviv pub crawl, takes you to and from the best street parties in Jerusalem, and ends with a relaxing trip to Masada and Ein Gedi to recover from the mayhem in an awe-inspiring backdrop.
The Purim Desert Carnival is held March 21-23 in Ashram BaMidbar (Ashram in the Desert), a vegan community in one of Israel's most isolated locations 45 minutes south of the Ramon Crater. Expect lots of dancing, workshops, performances and parties with likeminded souls from all over the world.
3. Family-friendly events
Yaron Festival photo by Yosi Tzviker
Purim is not only a time for parties. It is also a time when Israel's museums and theaters put on special programs to celebrate the holiday with a spirit of pure family-friendly fun.
At Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, in conjunction with the "Mirror Doubles" workshop, a Purim clown performance will focus on mirror science, dress-up and balloons. Two shows are scheduled on March 20-23, see website for details.
Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is holding a special Purim performance focused on mirror science. Photo: courtesy
Check out events such as the Purim Race at the Tower of David Museum, which involves racing through the city's museums and streets to find clues and solve riddles enacted by street performers; or head up to Haifa's National Maritime Museum for its Superhero Happening and Purim Pirate activities surrounding the "Superheroes of the Sea" exhibition.
For a theatrical experience, search for local performances like the four-day Yaron Festival of children's theater at Porat Theater in Tel Aviv. This year's schedule includes Hebrew versions of Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes.
4. Make your own fun, for you and your kids
Make your own Purim finger puppets from Mazel Tov Shop. Photo by Jenny Lipets
Get into the spirit of things by doing some fun kid activities on your own terms.
March is peak strawberry season in Israel. As mild rainy winters encourage the earth to turn lush and green, it is the perfect time to get out there and pick your own berries on farms like Ruach Shtut in Gan Shmuel, just outside of Hadera. We suggest getting dressed up and enjoying all the juicy gems you can gobble down, for a healthy Purim treat. If Purim day is rainy, why not cuddle up inside with some awesomely fun Purim activities and crafts, like these created by Israeli artist Jenny Lipets, found in her Mazel Tov Shop?
5. Hear a Megillah reading
See what the origin of the holiday is all about by getting back to the roots. Megillat Esther (Scroll of Esther) is read aloud at night (March 20) and morning (March 21) – a day later in Jerusalem; see above — and you can duck into any Israeli shul, no questions asked.
Just make sure you observe the appropriate customs in Orthodox shuls, such as women praying separately from men and dressing modestly, and bring a noisemaker to drown out evil Haman's name!
Another option is casually strolling into one of the many public Megillah readings sponsored by the Tzohar organization.
Chabad centers such as this one in downtown Haifa, are known for throwing educational parties and holiday celebrations open to students, young couples and travelers from all backgrounds.
6. Bakery hop for hamantaschen
Savory goat cheese hamantashen with onion jam and sesame from Roladin. Photo by Ronen Mengen
Halloween has its candy, but Purim easily trumps that with its bakery-fresh hamantaschen (called oznei Haman, or "Haman's ears" in Hebrew). With inventive fillings and doughs, both savory and sweet — traditional flavors are poppy seed, date and the oh-so-popular Israeli chocolate spread — most every bakery in any city is going to have a stash for you to sample.
If new uncharted hamantaschen flavors are what you seek, check out Roladin, which has locations all over the country. On Roladin's 2019 list of flavors is a grown-up almond-crusted cookie with ricotta cream and lemon filling, and chocolate praline made with an almond butter cookie dough, and finished with a dark chocolate glaze.
Alternatively, why not make your own? Watch our video below to find out how to do it. The recipe itself is here.
7. Dress the part
Whether you're more inclined to go traditional (that is dress up like Esther or Haman), or wear a costume from a movie that came out last year (which honestly, you'll have an easier time procuring), there's no need to make your own or spend a fortune.
Any discount store in Israel is bound to have an array of costumes and accessories to choose from, for a desirable price. Try Max Stock, which has stores country-wide, and a wide selection of cheap costumes and masks that do the trick.
You've got to look the part. Purim revelers at a party in Kikar Ha'Medina in Tel Aviv. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90
8. Don't panic… and other survival tips
One of the less charming Purim traditions you will undoubtedly notice on the streets is Israeli teens making lots of noise and mess with annoying little poppers and silly spray. So do not panic if you hear a loud popping noise, or smell the sweet smell of plastic foam — just don't say we didn't warn you.
If you do venture out into the fun, bring a change of clothes, some water (this is Israel–stay hydrated!) and anything else you might need for a night-out survival kit—such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Should you need assistance, dialing 911 in Israel will get you nowhere. Find all the emergency and service numbers you will ever need here.
If you'd rather avoid the noise during your Purim visit to Israel, take this time to plan your rural retreat. Staying in a city center on Purim is bound to be a loud experience.
9. Enjoy Israeli spirits
Tubi 60, a strong Israeli citrus and herbal spirit drink. Photo: courtesy
You're in Israel for the one holiday that encourages you to get stupid drunk (but please remember our plea to drink responsibly!), so you might as well support the grassroots craft spirits industry while you're at it.
Israeli-made alcohols such as the mysterious Tubi 60; the interestingly complex whisky from the Golan Heights Distillery; and anise-infused araks like Arak Masada will give you a sense of the big strides being made in this industry.
Wall of Israeli craft brews at Jerusalem's Beer Bazaar. Photo: courtesy
If you're not a hard alcohol person, don't worry: Israeli has more than 100 varieties of craft beer, and countless wineries. Specialty supermarkets like Tiv Tam are your best bet for finding a good variety of wines and craft beers coming from across the country.
10. Whatever you do, don't attempt to drive
Ever tried to park in Tel Aviv on a normal day? It's a tedious and frustrating task at best on any given Monday, let alone on one of the city's busiest holidays. Plus, drinking and driving is always a bad idea.
Therefore, we suggesting utilizing the many other ways of getting around in Israel on Purim, such as Israel Railways, cabs (try the Gett app for cab drivers who drive for ratings, and pick you up whenever you need); and other ridesharing solutions such as Waze rideshare (look on the app for drivers who happen to be passing by you on their way home); and Uber, which operates in Tel Aviv.
Other public transport such as buses and Jerusalem's light rail, Haifa's Carmelit "subway" and fast-track bus Metronit all help you get around without having to get behind the wheel. Use the Moovit
A Purim Message from the White House
Its Purim Torah, funny even if you don't like Trump
BREAKING NEWS! It's official! A new political party!
The Greybeard Partyמפלגת זקן אפור
" Finally...power to the Greybeards! We have been waiting for this ever since we made aliyah!"anonymous You asked for representation...now you'll have it! The Greybeard Party will represent you in the next Knesset and the latest polls predict that we will win at least 24 seats! The Greybeard Party will lead critical portfolios including:
Hoch in Chainek Ministry
Loch in Kop Ministry
Alter Cocker Ministry
Even before this official announcement, we have received endorsements and support from leaders from around the world. See photos below! Before the elections we will need to select the best candidates to fill the various important portfolios. Our goal is to fill these positions with Greybeards of all backgrounds and no one is excluded. We are soliciting your nominations. You do not needexperience or qualifications to fill these positions. If you are a Greybeard and have a pulse, you are a candidate. (Generous financial contributions will certainly enhance one's chances of being appointed.) To nominate yourself or someone else to head one of our portfolios or departments, please CLICK HERE. All nominees will receive due consideration. Speaking of finances, we need your generous support! As seniors, we are not subject to Israeli campaign laws and therefore we have set the minimum contribution of 1,000,000 NIS (tax deductable according to Greybeard law): Please wire transfer your tax-deductable contributions (we take shekels, dollars, euros, pounds, rand, rubles, and renminbis!) to our Swiss bank account. Bank GanoffimSwift Routing number:374849Branch number 1Account number:48593UgottaBkidding8747599 Thank you in advance for your contributions!
Man rigs bait package with shotgun blanks
What better way to scare package thieves off than fake gunfire? That's just what one man did to deter those who tried to steal his bait package. The number of people who try to steal it is crazy!
See you on Sunday, Have a fun Purim and a beautiful Shabbat
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States