Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rabbi Kushner Says to Laugh this Purim

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of "The Book of Words," says of this Jewish holiday:

"Laughter is so important that Jews have institutionalized it into a holiday. Purim does more than celebrate the foiled attempts of anti-Semites everywhere, it makes us laugh at ourselves. The head of the famous Slabotka Yeshiva, on Purim, would dress up like a horse.

"It is interesting furthermore that we have made Purim, which celebrates the foiling of our enemies, into a time for laughter by dressing up like them. Zalman Shachter-Shalomi used to say that when the Purim play is over, all the actors get applause, but Haman, the villain, gets the most. Access to the most joyous part of ourselves comes through ritualized reminders that we are as bad as our enemies. On Purim we are enjoined to get so drunk we cannot even tell the difference. Indeed, only our ability to laugh at ourselves keeps us sane and from becoming like them."

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