I’m always reluctant to re-read religious texts with a political slant. The Left has, for the most part, sought to replace religion with politics with the sort of baleful results we saw in 20th Century Europe and Russia. Even today, the American Jewish left uses such Jewish concepts as “Tikkun Olam” to justify pretty much the entire leftist political agenda, and JCPA General Assembly resolutions to that effect almost always find some Torah text to torture into testifying on their behalf. So to the extent that I’m edging across a self-imposed line here, the people it’s most likely to unnerve are the very liberals who’ve gotten used to thinking of the Torah as their personal political property.
But to the extent that Judaism has a political holiday, Purim is it. The internal power and factional politics of the Persian Empire, the Jews’ place in a multi-ethnic society, Megillat Esther is steeped in politics, and thus, human nature.
So for those who think that voluntarily disarming Jews is a good idea, consider the manner in which Ahasuerus’s decree of doom is reversed. Not by repeal, which the text tells us is beyond the King’s legal authority. Instead, it’s negated this way (8:11):
…that the king had given to the Jews who are in every city, [the right] to assemble and to protect themselves, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish the entire host of every people and province that oppress them…
We don’t need to carry the argument to the reducto ad absurdum of the Holocaust or the Holocaust-that-wasn’t in the Megillah to make this point. Even in the US, from time to time, anti-Semitic riots do happen.
The President of the United States has invited the instigator of two such riots to the White House to advise him on economics, and granted him a television interview. Both the Crown Heights riots and the Freddy’s Fashion Mart riots were anti-Semitic and Sharpton’s handiwork.
The ADL was founded as the result of one such riot that turned into the lynching of a Jewish man - in spite of the efforts of the authorities to prevent it.
And Seraphic Secrets’s hair-raising description of being defenseless during the Rodney King riots in LA, when the police abandoned the field, should drive home the point that riots need not be anti-Semitic in nature to be deadly.
In a country where we have that right by law – the same as all other citizens, and without any special royal dispensation necessary – why would we voluntarily cheapen Jewish blood again by disarming ourselves?
So tomorrow night and Sunday, when we’re celebrating our victory over our enemies, let’s also spare a thought for the fact that, unless we choose to give it up, here in the US, we have as a matter of course the very same rights that gave us that victory.