Megillah: Majesty & Mystery



Purim is one of the most festive days on the Jewish calendar, but the trappings of joy and merrymaking mask a more serious message. Join Rabbi Norman Lamm as he thoughtfully reveals the underlying themes of Megillat Esther and the Purim holiday. OU Press and RIETS/Yeshiva University Press are proud to offer Rabbi Lamm s unique and eloquent insights into Torah, human nature, God s role in history, the relation of God and humankind, and other timeless themes.

This compelling commentary consists of Rabbi Norman Lamm s insights on Megillat Esther and the Purim holiday, as well as on Tefillat Ma ariv, the evening prayer service, gleaned from the vast corpus of his oral and written offerings. Together with several complete derashot on other days of thanksgiving, this new presentation of Rabbi Lamm s thought provides a broad canvas on which Rabbi Lamm portrays, in his inimitable style, God s repeated salvation of His people, a salvation which is sometimes clear and bold, at others times ambiguous and obscure. The holiday of Purim takes on new and deeper meaning with Rabbi Lamm s keen insight and nuanced perspective.

From Rabbi Lamm s commentary:
A famous Talmudic statement concerning Purim is that one ought to drink more than his usual standard of sobriety. It permits one to drink so that he does not distinguish between accursed Haman and blessed Mordecai (Megillah 7b). This does not mean, assuredly, that one must intoxicate himself to the point where he loses his capacity for analytic distinctions. Rather, it means that one must drink only slightly more than usual so as, on the contrary, he gains greater spiritual insight. This spiritual insight will show that, indeed, there is truly no difference at all between accursed Haman and blessed is Mordecai. . . . It is when the anti-Semite accuses us of fostering the unity of Israel, the differentness of Judaism, and the resistance to idolatry that is part of our national character, that we can rise to our fullest stature as being loyal to our spiritual destiny and vocation. There is, and there should be, no difference between Haman s curse and Mordecai s blessing. Haman s indictment is a true bill, it points to the source of our strength and our blessing.


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