Thursday, March 8, 2012

Purim Articles from Hartman

See below some thoughtful material from the Hartman Institute on the holiday.  Happy Purim!

Hartman Institute Explores Purim, the ‘Strangest’ Holiday
06.03.2012, by Shalom Hartman Instituteshare this article:           

Ahashverosh and Mordechai, from Megillat Esther by Arthur Szyk
Over the millennia, Purim has generated the most outlandish collection of traditions.
Unique in the Jewish year, Purim represents, on the face of it, the penetration of a series of most un-Jewish - almost pagan - customs into the sober Jewish culture. We use the word “sober” advisedly, because one of the principal manifestations of Purim celebrations is, of course, the practice of drunkenness.
Indeed, Purim seems to resemble a Bacchanalian revelry with its atmosphere of carnival and abandonment of the usual norms of a civilized Jewish lifestyle. Is Purim-life really reflective of Jewish life, or is it a most terrible aberration from that life that somehow has been swallowed up and allowed to stay in a defined place in the Jewish year?
Is Purim just a time out from Jewish ethics to let us relax and have a good time or does it offer an alternative worldview that can contribute to our self understanding?
The following articles offer a broad range of provocative commentary, explanation and analysis. Read them, engage with them, and comment on them. Purim Sameach.
Culture and practice
God and fate
Women and men
Purim and politics
Much of the material we are presenting here is derived from course materials developed by master teachers Steve Israel and Shalom Hartman Institute's Noam Zion, and we gratefully acknowledge their support of this project.

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