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The Noon Study Group will not meet on Friday, February 26 (Chag Sameach Purim)
On February 19, we concluded our discussion of the Book of Esther with a look at its closing chapters (7-10). In our previous sessions we looked at this text as a bawdy burlesque, a satire on bureaucracy, a testament to female intelligence and assertiveness, a call for standing up against injustice, and as an excuse to make merry. This week we examined the Book of Esther by considering the graphic violence of the concluding chapters, the demise of Haman, his family, and many others, and the halachic connection between Haman and the arch-villain Amalek.
The central question discussed on Friday was ”Are the darker chapters of Megillat Esther a justification for, or an incitement to, violence—to fight for our lives—a sanction for mass murder? Given its context–the maftir reading on the Shabbat before Purim (enjoining us to ”Remember Amalek”–and the haftarah for that Shabbat Zachor (revealing King Saul’s being deposed because of his failure to remember Amalek)–a paradigm for using violence to respond to any opponent? Can these chapters be read more metaphorically, or as warnings against the oppressed becoming oppressors? Responses were rich and we agreed that there is much more that can be explored in our search for answers.
Our group will resume on Friday, March 5, when we begin a new topic of study–
Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion
Consult this site next week for more information. Rabbi Waskow’s book can be ordered through a variety of Internet sources.
Our informal discussion group is held online every Friday from 12-1. All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions. If you have questions, or would like the Zoom link, please contact Jay Jacoby at email@example.com.
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