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Old 08-15-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Do you have a few examples of Jews not listening to their leaders and the tragic consequences that resulted?
Book of Esther-Jews didn't heed Mordechai when he warned them not to partake in the feast of Achashveirosh, inviting upon themselves the decree of annihilation.
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:33 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
Book of Esther-Jews didn't heed Mordechai when he warned them not to partake in the feast of Achashveirosh, inviting upon themselves the decree of annihilation.
I just read the Book of Esther and it was very good, but I don't think I got the same interpretation as you suggested.

In summary, Mordechai's neice Esther was beautiful and she became the favorite of king Xerxes. Things were going OK until Xerxes' minister Haram wanted to kill all of the Jews. Esther used her influence to persuade Xerxes to spare all of the Jews, so he did that and had Haram executed. The Jews were treated well after that.

In my opinion, the moral of this story is that we are more effective if we work within the system, as Esther did. If we try to be like Mordechai and stay "pure" and live outside the system, it will irritate people like Haram who may use their power to hurt us.

Last edited by hiker45; 08-16-2013 at 03:44 AM..
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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I just read the Book of Esther and it was very good, but I don't think I got the same interpretation as you suggested.
It's in the mefarshim (commentary).
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
It's in the mefarshim (commentary).
Hiker, most all Jewish literature (Torah, Talmud, etc) is meaningless when given a surface read. The pshat (the least deep view of the material) has a meaning of its own, but taken out of context with the much deeper messages, it can be very misleading. Torah is like a limitless onion that can be peeled deeper and deeper, depending on the skill of the reader and learner.

Megillas Esther is a good example. Did you notice when you read it last night, that the book does not mention G-d one single time? The pshat would tell you this story is all about how Esther pulled up her proverbial boot straps and saved the Jewish people. Only a non-Jew, however, would read the story that way. The story of Purim (Esther) is all about how Hashem guides each and every action in the world, and it's only with Hashem's devine assisitance that we Jews find any merit.

The hashkala is all about pushing G-d out of the equation, and instead, buying the finest boot straps our goyish neighbors have to offer. i.e., it's the recipe for the destruction of the Jewish people.
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:44 AM
 
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Video: Purim Animated
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Flipflop, that was a very good response. Iwish, I enjoyed the video - it was written at my level.

However, I still like my interpretation of Esther better.
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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However, I still like my interpretation of Esther better.
Fortunately, the Jews of those times didn't think so:

Purim: Blame It on the Rabbis | Cross-Currents
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
Fortunately, the Jews of those times didn't think so:

Purim: Blame It on the Rabbis | Cross-Currents
That is a good link that you referenced. I did a web search on other interpretations of the Book of Esther and, even though most of them were Christian, they agreed with what you said.

I can understand that. I guess most Theists believe their god is present at all times.

It reminds me of a comment the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson made during the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in our Civil War. He said, "He who does not see the hand of God in this is blind,"

Anyway, thanks for pointing out the Book of Esther. It is good story, and I will keep its lesson in mind. At least, my interpretation of the lesson.
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:12 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Tough love, you might say. Do you think this applies in any way to our currect society and the people who disobey our laws by "running wild"?
I will give my opinion as a non-rabbinite. Yes when a culture is badly decayed, tough love is required to save it. I would say that America could only be saved by killing off most of the population since it is so badly morally decayed. But this isn't worth it, better to just let America rot and be replaced by something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
In my opinion, the moral of this story is that we are more effective if we work within the system, as Esther did. If we try to be like Mordechai and stay "pure" and live outside the system, it will irritate people like Haram who may use their power to hurt us.
No, Mordechai played in the system and out of the system as needed. Mordechai did exactly the optimal strategic thing in each case. If Mordechai had bowed to Haram, the Jews would have been enslaved as happened in Egypt and Mordechai wanted to prevent this. For an excellent analysis of Esther by a sensible Orthodox Jew, see The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Originally Posted by fschmidt View Post
Mordechai played in the system and out of the system as needed. Mordechai did exactly the optimal strategic thing in each case.
That is not what I got from reading the Book of Esther.

Mordechai appears to be a religious person who does not want to follow the usual pattern of behavior of the Persian citizens. For example, he does not bow down to Haram.

However, he does have enough sense to keep his ear to the ground, and he uncovers a plot to kill the Jews. Instead of doing something hmself, he asks Esther to convince the king to call off the plot.

I see Esther as the role model of this story, not Mordechai.

It reminds me of the way Benjamin Franklin dealt with the French king during our Revolutionary War. He hung around the French court for several years and did not accomplish anything, but he got the French to like him. Then, in the summer of 1781 when we had the British cornered at Yorktown, he convinced King Louis to use his fleet to prevent the British navy from rescuing their troops, and that pretty much ended the war.

I wonder if he ever thought about Esther?
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