Here’s an interesting story about General (and President, but for some reason no one calls him that) Grant giving tzedakah to a Jew collecting money for his daughter’s wedding in Israel:
That piece links to a very interesting article (http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/national/gen_grants_uncivil_war_against_jews) by Jonathan Sarna about Grant’s Hamanistic edict evicting the Jews, “as a class” from a large part of the United States. The order was revoked by Lincoln (who was president at the time) when a Jewish emissary came and told him about it. Grant later did tshuvah and became a friend to the Jews.
And here’s a cool picture of Esther that came up on a google image search:
Purim is the one day a year that makes being yeshivish the rest of the time worth it. Ok, so we don’t have the warmth of chassidus or the normalcy of Modern Orthodoxy. We are stuck in a non-stop competition to out-Jew each other. But that’s what makes purim so awesome.
The pressure cooker is let up for one day where you get to party, dress up as whatever you want, drive around with your music blasting, dance in the street, give and take food from anyone you like, hand out money to anyone more unfortunate than you, drink until your frenemies turn back to just friends, and reconnect with the world.
I remember a halacha that says if you’re alone on purim, you do all the rituals by yourself. Read the megillah, give yourself a present, have a seudah (meal). That’s just horrible. Purim is about getting drunk enough to let your true self out in order to connect with other drunk people. There are no walls on purim; we’re all one. Man, I sound like a hippy chassid. But it’s true. People who waste their purim trying to score or burn themselves out giving shalach manos to a million people are missing everything.
Purim is the holiest day of the year. I really believe that. If you make the purim connection, you can live on those fumes the whole year. Every other holiday will tap into that connection and give you a little jolt, but it’s all dependent on you going deep inside to plug that cord into something real. All other holidays are between you and God. You have to make an effort to contemplate and meditate and think about it. Because of that, they’re all a little theoretical and removed. Purim is about the human element. You don’t need to think. Thinking just distances you from everyone. The megillah doesn’t mention God’s name once. Because that’s not the point of the story. That’s not how you survive a 2,000 year exile with your soul intact. You do so by getting plastered.
(Originally posted on Frumsatire)
You might not know this, but the holiday of Purim is traditionally a good day for davening. This is because the salvation that came about only happened after the Jews got together and prayed.
Now, many people have come out against yeshiva bochurim drinking on Purim. These people are a modern reincarnation of Haman. They are trying to destroy the two most important Purim customs, drinking and prayer. As a former Yeshiva bochur, I know that being drunk on Purim is a purely spiritual experience. When else do you get such heartfelt prayers as these?
“Owowow. My head! Oh my God, I think I’m gonna die.”
“Lord, I’m in your hands. Please guide my car on the straight path. Let me not swerve left nor right from it. And deliver me not into the hands of that evil cop.”
“Hashem, make sure my Rebbe doesn’t see me peeing on his car.”
“If you let me just throw up now, I’ll do whatever you want. Seriously. I won’t jerk off for a week. Ow! Ok two weeks.”
So moving! It’s like witnessing a modern book of Tehillim in the making. May the mouths of the evil ones be silenced so that this holy custom shall never cease from Israel.