Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Everyone has heard of the Zohar Khodosh of Yom KE-Purim, i.e. that , Yom Kippur, Yom HaQudish far from being the apex of Qedushas HaZ'man, is merely "A Day LIKE Purim". Most of us have heard the beautiful Torah from diverse streams of Jewish Thought expostulating on just how these two Moadim yin-yang-like complement one another or are mirror images of one another.
But in keeping with the ever heavier, more-serious and increasingly-demanding iteration of Judaism that is the Zeitgeist of the Frum world this equation between Yom Kippur and Purim is taking on a whole new meaning. Currently there is a movement afoot to end the Purim Silliness and make it more somber, sacred and sober...just like Yom Kippur. This essentially turns the Yom KE-Purim equation on it's ear. The thinking must go that taken to it's logical conclusion ונהפוך הוא transforms Purim into a Fast Day of Angelic asceticism and ultimate gravitas. After all, , on Purim turnabout IS fair play.
While the evidence may be anecdotal at best, seen in the context of larger societal developments I find it both convincing and, sadly, unsurprising:
1. A Shul has banned the use of cap guns as Grahggers. The smoke offends the nostrils of some congregants. This is years after another Shul forbade all but traditional Grahggers or pots with wooden spoons. Great way to alienate the cap-gun-toting children and become the Grinchs that stole their Purim.
2. Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb has published a very angry screed against drinking to excess on Purim.
3. A well-known Yeshiva has passed an edict that all those in costume (Silly Hats included???) will be refused admittance to their Mesiba. Burly bouncers with beefy arms and hammy-fists will enforce this new edict.
While all of the above mean well, are pursuing righteousness and have good reasons for their Takonos / appeals, especially insofar as excessive drinking and it's health and safety hazards, I can't help feeling that the צד השוה שבהן is a kind of prudish shame over the Purim Holiday itself as conduct / celebration unbecoming a Torah Jew. An attitude of "Well, we'll do it if we have to but let's make it as sane and serious as possible and get it over with quickly with a minimum of fuss and bother" like some family conclave with all the black sheep present.
I'm sorry. Merriment and mindlessness are the beating Heart of Purim. Indeed, it is because merriment and mindlessness are the ונהפוך הוא of default Jewish behaviors and mindsets of somber sobriety and intellectual acuity that make them so appropriate for Turnabout Day. To legislate and decree that all the fun on Purim be serious is to gut it. Sure Goyim have Mardis Gras, Halloween and St. Patty's Day but there must be, and TTBOMK there always has been, Qedusha-dika ways and means for Jews to drink spirits, masquerade, get loud and be rambunctious that showcases the הבדלה בין ישראל לעמים just when we seem to be at our most undifferentiated from them. It is only when we reach the unconsciousness that transcends normal Havdala Consciousness of עד דלא ידע that we can then grow savvy to the inner meaning of the lyrics of Purims Anthem: ברוך מרדכי היהודי ארור המן אשר ביקש לאבדי. There is nothing rational about the הבדלה בין ישראל לעמים. Hyper-rationality is antithetical to Qedusha-Havdala Consciousness the year round על אחת כמה וכמה on Purim.
Qedusha-Havdala...Have you had YOURS today??? Hmmm???