Dear Friend,

With Purim in Jerusalem around the corner, I walk through the Machane Yehuda marketplace, and two signs of the impending holy day—one deliberate, one accidental—strike me.

The deliberate sign is the plethora of hamantaschen (or oznei Haman, “Haman’s ears,” in Hebrew) spread out on almost every other kiosk table. Every sweet filling your heart can desire. Chocolate. Poppy. Prunes. Walnuts. Jam. Halvah. Dates. And I think to myself: “Haman, how delicious your defeat is!”

The accidental sign is one not peculiar to Purim, yet Purim gives it new meaning. It is the ubiquitous presence of guns. Jericho 941s. Tavors. Micro Tavors. M16s. Galils. And I think to myself: “Haman, how incomplete your defeat is!”

Why are there so many guns in a sunny public marketplace? I conclude: the guns are there to protect the hamantaschen. We celebrate Purim because we survived Haman’s genocidal plan, true. But we survived only because we wanted to celebrate Purim. Even today, we continue to wage war on Haman. But not simply to stay alive. Life is not enough. We survive in order to experience a maximum of delight in the full Jewish existence that makes life worth living, worth fighting for. We survive on the merit of the desire to taste the sweetness, both on our tongues and in our souls, of the Torah and the honey dates of Jerusalem.

Michael Chighel,
on behalf of the Editorial Team