Saturday, March 03, 2007

Eldad on Purim - Shifra Shomron's Rendering

The following essay was written by Dr. Israel Eldad and published in his "Sulam" magazine in the issue of Adar 5717, 1957 and was nicely translated by Shifra Shomron last year. Shifra, who is publishing her first book, a docu-fictional reminisce of her life in Gush Katif, lives at the present at the Nitzan Caravilla.



How does Purim in which we dress up, wear masks, play Purim games, differ from Pesach in which there are no costumes and no masks and no games? That Purim was all about dressing up, covering. Esther doesn't tell; dresses up to a Persian lady. And also when her heart was grieving she wore lovely royal garments and beautified herself in order to find favor in the king's eyes, and the fate of her nation depended in the perfection of her make-up and the comeliness of her blue eye shadow. And juxtaposed to her was Mordechai who was covered in sack and ashes as he prayed.
She was before a king; he was before the King of Kings.

And now to the feasts? From the beginning until the end - feasts. Here is the origin of the games. And so many secrets and sly diplomacy. Bigtan and Terash, Achashverosh and Haman, Mordechai and Esther, Esther and Achashverosh. Secrets and conspiracies. Not so in Pesach. There everything is revealed. From Moshe's being revealed as a Hebrew until G-d's revealing to Moshe at the burning bush. And the much revealed Exodus. And from the beginning until the end all is revealed and known and everything is deeply serious. Without games and feasts. There is no redemption in costumes. The redemption is visible.

"To Life"

How does drinking on Purim which is drinking "le chaim", differ from drinking on Pesach in which one does not say "to life"? Because that is the essence of Purim: the life was saved in the lottery, in fate. There was a decree to kill and the decree was canceled and the Jews of Persia and Media were left alive. On Pesach we drink four cups of redemption. In Purim there wasn't redemption at all and only the life, the life alone, the life in its nakedness was given to us. And hence the drinking "to life". And in Pesach we drink to redemption.

No Measurement versus Four

How does Purim in which no measurement was set for the amount of drinking, differ from Pesach in which four cups were set? Because Purim is a matter of a miracle, and the miracle is a thing without measurement, without law. In fact: the miracle is the breaking of law. But Pesach is a matter of redemption, and redemption has laws and doesn't have chances, it has necessity and doesn't have successes, hence it has rules, and even drinking rules. Because there is law to redemption.


How does Purim in which we were commanded to give Mishloach Manot, differ from Pesach in which we were not commanded thus? Since on Purim we were given life as a gift. It's a matter of rescuing, and every rescue is a gift whether if from Heaven or from human hands. But redemption is not a matter of a gift. Redemption is a law.
Which we will take and we will receive not as a gift. As a law.

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