“Purim is an amalgam of things, each distinct, together forming a tapestry that the rabbinic imagination weaves together – joining narrative with commemoration – in fascinating and curious ways. Two aspects of the Purim story that this essay focuses on is the relationship between Haman’s accusations against the Jews in Shushan, depicted below in an imaginative Talmudic exchange between Haman and Ahasuerus, and the rabbinic decree to become intoxicated on Purim ‘ad d’lo yada, until one cannot distinguish between cursed Haman and blessed Mordecai. What is the relationship between Haman’s accusations and Jewish intoxication? We could certainly celebrate being saved from national catastrophe with a festive meal and a glass of wine. But the tradition goes further and decrees obligatory excess as appropriate celebration.”
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