The Maharal, Rav Kook and others teach of the central theme on Purim of "Overturning"= V'Nahafoch Hu", but the question is: why is this so important? The class suggests 8 reasons why this concept is what convinced Yitro to convert to Judaism, and why this "boomerang" shows not only the irony and humor of God's history, but is so basic to understanding Judaism, justice, philosophy and more.
As in many aspects of Jewish life, myths abound concerning the Purim story. One of those myths portray Achashverosh as a harmless, bumbling old fool, pulled to and fro by his wives and advisors. Yet Gemara Megila makes it abundantly clear that Achashverosh hated the Jews no less - perhaps even more! - than did Haman.
Megillat Esther calls Mordechai a “Judean man” and “son of Yair son of Shimi son of Kish, a Benjaminite.” The gemara is bothered by the apparent contradiction; one of its answers is that while he was genealogically from Binyamin, the people of Yehuda would argue that they deserve the credit for him because, as a descendent of Shimi, had David Hamelech killed Shimi ben Geira, Mordechai would not have been born.
t can't be coincidence that all the Mitzvot of Purim start with a Mem: Megila (reading); Mishloach Manot (that's a double!); Matanot L'evyonim; Mishteh (the Purim Seuda) and Machatzit Ha-Shekel (giving 1/2 shekels in remembrance of the gifts to the Bet HaMikdash). What is going on here?
The Purim story, which has such an ominous section to it, certainly seems to end up superbly. The hodgepodge Jewish community, spread throughout the Persian Empire, came out unscathed after the great scare. Their favorite son and daughter became very high in the ranks of the powerful people of the world. But do our heroes really emerge unscathed?
When we are happy on Purim for the miracles we had in the past, and "recall surrounded from the days of Joshua", we remember the great spirit of Joshua and Caleb, who stood in front of all the difficulties and defeated the fortified towns protected by a wall.
Jacob could see the hand of God at work in the world, and therefore exile did not apply to him. We can reach the level of Jacob by accepting the Yoke of Heaven, and this demands being part the Jewish people, for God appears in the world via Israel.
There are unique individuals whose consumption of food is not due to any desire to satisfy their base appetites. Their souls are so capacious that they need large bodies. They are like instruments, elevating the material world to their own level.
The Sages say that the Almighty suspended Mount Sinai above the Israelites like an inverted cask and said, “If you accept the Torah, fine; if not, here will be your grave.” Why did God have to coerce the Children of Israel into receiving the Torah?