"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sunset, Moonshine

One of my roles at The American Spectator is to deliver the magazine's message in honor of the Jewish holidays. Monday night after sundown, Purim begins with the reading of the book of Esther and then continues for 24 raucous hours of drinking, costumes and parties. Also a mind-boggling amount of philanthropy occurs, particularly in New York City, where some wealthy Jews sit all day receiving poor people and giving each one some cash.

In fact, one Jew who used to give out huge sums of money on Purim and later went bankrupt, sat down at his accustomed spot the next Purim and, depressed that he could not help the people who were lining up outside, took his own life.

Here is a link to my Purim message at the Spectator. And here, if you're an indolent type, is one paragraph to chew on.

THERE WAS NEVER a prohibition against drinking in Judaism, just a word of encouragement in the Talmud (Pesahim 113b): "God loves a person who does not get angry and does not get drunk." This was enough to keep Jews sober as a class even when they lived in societies that were more bibulous than Biblical. Yet Purim was one day a year where the book of Esther declared "a day of drinking and joy"; the Talmud (Megilla 7b) asserts that one should become drunk enough that he cannot distinguish between his friends and his enemies. Although the task of defending ourselves engages us all year round, this day reminds us that ultimately God has our back.

2 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Then every day's Purim for an Irishman.

Tlaloc said...

"In fact, one Jew who used to give out huge sums of money on Purim and later went bankrupt, sat down at his accustomed spot the next Purim and, depressed that he could not help the people who were lining up outside, took his own life."

I'm all for charity, but that seems to be takig it quite a bit to far.