Hazzan’s Notes, March 2008

“Layhudim Hayta orah v’simcha-unto the Jews Light and Gladness!”

These words are familiar to us. They are contained in the blessing over the lighted Havdalah candle at the conclusion of Shabbat and Festivals.

These words also conclude the reading of the Megillah of Esther on Purim.   Again, our people were delivered of the evil and murderous designs of yet  another detractor, Haman, Harasha the evil one.  He a prototype, perhaps like that of Amalek of all villains who rose up in our history.  We recall them if only to blot out their names with quill and shrill revelry …she- ad lo yadah, until we cannot tell who’s who!

On Purim, we confront him again with Esther our concealed hero along with Mordchai the righteous, and a cast of characters of the tale that may be a combination of many stories and myths and legends, historical and somewhat hysterical.  We send  to others greetings of baked sweetness and confection.

Within the telling a message:  that good people can achieve much and overcome evil by action and confrontation;  that evil triumphs where good people remain silent. And G-d is absent from this telling. Our rabbis and teachers suggest that

G-d works behind the scrim through humans who confront the baseless, the malevolent and the seekers of honor among us.  The certainty of being one’s self, overcoming hatreds and prejudices and the rediscovery of our traditions and sacred community all are reflected in this simple tale. Quite a mouthful!

We will taste it again. In Persian cuisine and ‘round table tales will we highlight the story and create Shabbat Shushan Purim.   An announcement of our plans is highlighted in this month’s current views and news.

Join us. Rejoice.  Light and gladness, to all from CISA.

Chag Purim Sameach!