Carnaval of Consent

The many contradictions of Purim make a remarkable pairing. On the one hand, everything turned topsy-turvy and upside down.

On the other hand, the Jews "affirmed and accepted" the Torah. Why did they accept it then? Shouldn't they have done so at Mount Sinai? See the Babylonian Talmud, Shabbos 88a, which approximates a Rabbinic discussion of consent theory. (For a fuller treatment, see the Jewish Political Tradition, volume 1.)

Many theories can be advanced to explain why the Jews (re-)accepted the Torah after their victory over their Hamanite enemies. But one (certainly not original with me) is that upheaval is a natural setting for affirmation or stock-taking. At the very moment when the Jews thought they might be lost, they found reasons to accept what they might have been disinclined previously to consent to explicitly.

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