Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Remembering to Forget

Amalek. Haman. And Others: Purim 5781/2021 will soon be upon us. And we Jews will celebrate, as we have always done and will always do. But first - this Shabbat we observe Shabbat Zachor with a special Torah reading. 

About Amalek.

Amalek Attacks
Amalek Attacks     Richard McBee

In which we are told (Deuteronomy 25:19):

תִּמְחֶה֙ אֶת־זֵ֣כֶר עֲמָלֵ֔ק מִתַּ֖חַת הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם לֹ֖א תִּשְׁכָּֽח
You shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

Amalek Crossed Out

Do not forget to remember to erase! When we speak of Amalek's evil deeds - cutting off our Social Security and Medicare - and when we remember them in our hearts, we fulfill this mitzvah.

Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt— how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. 

And then there's Haman.

Haman's Fate
Haman's Fate     Richard McBee

Haman was the son of Hammedatha, a descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites. Who King Saul was commanded to execute, but didn't. 

Who the Prophet Samuel did execute sometime later, after Agag had had time to fool around ... and perpetuate his line. Which is why Mordecai and Esther ran into Haman when they did, and why we still have Amalekites today.

After Haman was appointed the principal minister of the king Ahasuerus, all of the king's servants were required to bow down to Haman, but Mordechai [the Jew] refused to. 
Angered by this, Haman convinced Ahasuerus to allow him to have all of the Jews in the Persian empire [all of the Jews in the world] killed.

The plot was foiled by Queen Esther, who was herself a Jew.

Esther Nancy 

On the king's orders, Haman was hanged [others: impaled; still others: crucified] from the 50-cubit-high gallows that had originally been built by Haman himself, on the advice of his wife Zeresh, in order to hang Mordechai. 

The bodies of Haman's ten sons were also hanged, after they died in battle against the Jews. The Jews also killed about 75,000 of their enemies in self-defense.

 And then there's Others.

Amalekites Attack Capitol      January 6, 2021

Has Abq Jew mentioned that Megillat Esther is a very dirty book? Arguably, tied with King Solomon's Song of Songs as the dirtiest book in the Bible?

Esther's Parade
Esther's Parade     Richard McBee

Well. Please allow Abq Jew to introduce you to The Megillah Project

The Megillah Project

one of three (so far) Projects being brought to you by (et al) jewishLIVE, "your portal to curated, inspiring live-streamed Jewish experiences." 

And please allow Abq Jew to introduce you to Richard Elliott Friedman, whose singular contribution to The Megillah Project (he's one of more than 30 video contributors) is indeed titled 

Esther: A Very Dirty Book

WARNING! The Esther: A Very Dirty Book video does run about half an hour. But it's worth it. Want proof? Here is more about Richard Elliott Friedman.

Richard Elliott Friedman is the Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and is the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego.  
He earned his Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible at Harvard University. His book Who Wrote the Bible? has sold over 250,000 copies and was the subject of a three-hour television special. His other books include The Disappearance of God (published in paperback as The Hidden Face of God), The Hidden Book in the Bible, Commentary on the Torah, The Bible with Sources Revealed, The Bible Now (co-authored with Shawna Dolansky).  
His most recent book is The Exodus: How It Happened and Why It Matters. He offers weekly lectures on the jewishLIVE program “Richard Elliott Friedman: Return to Torah.”
Purim Yet

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