“The Jews accepted and undertook, they and all of their seed and all who were joining them, without fail, to observe these two days, according to what was written, and on their respective dates; year after year. And these days are observed and celebrated in all generations, in all families, in all counties and in all cities. And these Purim days will never cease to be observed among the Jews, and their memory will not be erased in their descendants.”
Megillat Esther, 9:27-28
According to our sages (Chazal) in Masechet Taanit of the Mishnah, when we enter the month of Av we are deprived of joy. This alludes to the sadness that the date of 9th of Av brought to our people. The reply that we find in the in the Gemara at the same tractate is the opposite idea as one who enters the month of Adar will increase their joy.
It is the month for Purim. The history of the salvation of our People during the Persian Empire that is embodied in the Book of Esther or Meguillat Esther.
It is a different celebration than Chanukah. It is obvious that it has no precedent in the Torah, due to the time of the events after the entry of the People of Israel to Canaan. The history and traditions are based solely on a book that composes the canon of the Tanakh, our bible and the rabbinical discussions and affirmations recorded in the Mishnah and the Gemara, that is, the Talmud. As the Megillah text states, the commitment is for generations.
So much so that we do not mention Haman's name and we must erase his memory and that of his hometown, Amalek.
It is odd that we are commanded to remember the name of Amalek ("Remember what Amalek did to you on the way out of Egypt..." (Devarim 25:17) and year after year to remember the history of Purim recalling the nameless name of Haman. It sounds contradictory to erase a memory while we remember it…
Our tradition teaches us that for the memory of the soul of a loved one, we say yehi zichro baruch or zichrono livracha, may his memory be a blessing.
On the contrary, when we mention an enemy of Israel or humanity, we add imach shemo vezichro, may his name and memory be blotted out.
Precisely, remember to erase. To remember to record that in each generation, and for all generations, we must be attentive to the different "Haman" and possible "Amalek" and remember them, without influencing our daily lives or subtracting an iota of our joy as a People still celebrating life.
Purim is another celebration where we are encouraged to celebrate and rejoice through food and in which we can (and must) drink alcohol “ad lo yeda”, until we cannot distinguish between good Mordechai and evil Haman.
Since we know there are people who do not have a way to celebrate, our tradition maintains the custom of sending “Mishloach Manot”, food to those who do not have it.
On March 3 and 4, the month of Adar II begins (because it is a leap year, we have two months of Adar). Each of us must do everything to increase joy; ours and that of those around us.
On March 16th at 6:30 pm, we will celebrate and rejoice together at the JCC, as an extended family, which is our Beth El Community.
Throughout the month, we will continue to collect clothing and non-perishable food that you may bring to 1607 Genesee St. to ensure the joy that we increase, won’t remain only within us.