To Kill, Destroy, and Annihilate*

This Purim note is written stone-cold sober, since the author will do his Slivovitz drinking at tomorrow's banquet. Any stylistic or grammatical errors are due to the writer's native intelligence.

The Book of Esther? Dark comedy -- maybe the darkest. We get murder, both the one-on-one variety and wartime slaughter, attempted rape (leaving aside Ahasuerus's droit de seigneur masquerading as comparative perfume testing), and a whole lot more, with drunkenness the very least of it. Behind it all, the machinations of a hideously incompetent monarchy, which can't manage to rescind an order for genocide even after the king's recognized his mistake. So what's to celebrate? Or, more to the point, why do I celebrate?

I see the moral imperfection, and I cringe at the way we clawed and slew our way to survival. If only things had ended differently -- better a revealed miracle, less Godly grandeur, and more peaceful resolution! But the story turned out the right way at least in one particular: a people was saved. An ending so simple, even in the midst of such bloody complication, is a cause for joy. And because we don't hesitate to tell such bloody tales of vengeance about ourselves, perhaps we can save ourselves in more moral ways, "in these days, at this time."

*A phrase from the Purim liturgy.

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