...in the world to come the only holiday that we will continue to celebrate is Purim!
As many of us studied together last Shabbat, there is an obligation to get drunk on Purim. The Slonimer Rebbe understands this text to mean that we should get intoxicated from the experience of Purim itself. I so look forward to dissolving binaries, softening our judgements and having a gay ol' time together at Adult Purim on Saturday night at 7:30 (Get your tickets to avoid the line at the door!) and Family Purim at 3:15 on Sunday.
But first, this Shabbat, known as Shabbat Zachor or the Sabbath of Rememberence, is the second in a series of four shabbatot that lead up to Purim -- known affectionately as the "Arba Parshiyot - 4 Torah Portions," named for the additional portions of Torah read on these Shabbat mornings.
Communities around the world will read:
"Remember what Amalek did to you as you were leaving Egypt…and when YHVH your God brings you to a place of rest from your surrounding enemies in the land YHVH your God is giving you as your portion, blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens — do not forget. (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)
According to some commentaries, Parashat Zachor is the only Torah reading that every individual is required to hear. There is a tradition from the Talmud that Haman, the antagonist of the Purim story, descended from Amalek.
On this Shabbat Zachor, we are instructed explicitly to remember to forget the memory of Amalek. Amalek has come to be known as the force of evil in our mythology. Why evil? Because they exploited the most vulnerable among us. The parallels to this political moment are all too clear. What do we do with the concept of evil? What do we really believe and what does Jewish tradition offer as models for spiritual reconciliation? Are people inherently wicked? Come to services and join in this Dvar Torah Discussion tonight. And for more insight into Shabbat Zachor and how it relates to Purim and Passover, read this teaching from my teacher, Rabbi Ebn Leader.
May this Purim be a time when we, as the Slonimer teaches, are able to experience and move towards greater wholeness with ourselves, with each other and with the Holy Blessed One.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim!
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek Synagogue through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.