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.
When do we distribute shalach manos and matanos la’evyonim on different days? When do we distribute shalach manos and matanos la’evyonim on different days? When do we distribute shalach manos and matanos la’evyonim on different days? How can one bensch on the Purim Seudah without saying Al hanissim?
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.
Every moral & thinking Jew has asked questions about certain mitzvot which don't seem to "jive" with the morality of God & the Torah itself! Rav Kook, as usual, bravely deals with these issues, & explains that "eternity" means that the Torah also had to be relevant to the primitive world in which it was given 3,300 yrs. ago. He differentiates between some actions, like slavery & bigamy, that had to be "allowed" temporarily in the ancient reality, but were never obligated. Nevertheless, 2 obligations (!) which seem "immoral" are regarding Amalek (killing & remembering-Zachor), & conquering the Land of Israel. But upon a closer look, they aren't immoral at all! When we lack prophets & Sanhedrin, the God Who runs History solves many problems!
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?