There is so much that has been written about Purim that choosing something light and merry for review this year was not so hard. Nevertheless, based upon much discussion I am once again taking a serious tact in presenting to my readers a solemn theological and spirituality based path in this year’s review of Purim material based upon the writings and teachings of Rabbi Jeremy Kagan’s latest work, “The Choice to Be” [Feldheim, 2012].
In this work we are given a serious, somewhat history - based theological presentment of the basis of the Purim celebration. Fairness to the author dictates that you be given as much of the author’s take, in his own words, for your edification of his views.There will be some ideas here that might challenge someof your long held notions.
Rabbi Kagan gets deep into the origins and causes behind the Purim based history in this work’s chapter 21, “A Deeper Darkness” with a sharp focus upon the deeper meaning of the Persian role in the Purim story. The author’s take is then played out in perspective to the Arab role in our history. By inference Rabbi Kagan is actually focusing upon an, as yet, undefined future in our ongoing quest for redemption. Consider the following:
“We have spoken much about the four kingdoms that exiled the Jewish people, culminating in Rome. But we have been silent about the Arabs, who both oppressed a large segment of our people for over a thousand years and are the primary agents of physical pressure on the Jews today. Culturally our oppressor remains Rome, so the Arabs must be understood as an added element that comes to color the end of the Roman exile.”
Rabbi Kagan then relates to us the following as a footnote to the above teaching.