Monday, March 05, 2007

And now for Something Completely Different...

We interrupt this blog for a special announcement... Our normally scheduled programming on the City of David will resume in two days.

Last night, walking to shul, the explosions started. Bangs echoing off buildings, bombs set off in public squares. Is it Hizbullah? Hamas? Is the Jihad on again? Nope, it's just teenagers setting off explosives in celebration of... PURIM!

The holiday celebrating the defeat of the evil Haman, and his plot to use the Persian Empire to exterminate the Jews, is celebrated in Jerusalem one day later than in the rest of the world.

Why? Well, while Haman's minions of darkness were spread across the Persian Empire, the major concentration of Haman's power was in the Persian capital of Shushan. After the events of Purim, which ended with the King's granting permission for the Jews to spend one day eradicating Haman's forces before they had time to act, there were so many of Haman's men in the capital that the Jews of Shushan still hadn't finished the job by the end of the first day. The King therefore granted the Jews a second day to finish off Haman and his sons. Therefore, in Shushan, the holiday is celebrated a day later. However, the sages looked at this with dismay. That a foreign city, Shushan, could be granted such honor, yet the cities of the Holy Land itself would not? Would this somehow imply that the cities of Eretz Yisrael are on a lower level than Shushan?
To correct this potential misunderstanding, it was decreed that all cities which were walled cities in the Book of Yehoshua (Joshua), a city wall being a sign of prominence, would also celebrate the holiday one day later.

In fact, the only city in Israel which was for certain a walled city in the time of Yehoshua is Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, sadly it is again today a walled city.

Preparations began a week ago, as decorations went up throughout the Yeshivah. One of the niceties of learning in a Zionist yeshivah is the unashamed patriotism.

"And the Jews will rule their enemies." Posters of Israeli jets bombing Iranian nuclear factories adorn the halways.
Meanwhile, I began my own preparations for the holiday. One of the mitvot (commandments) of the holiday is to give food items called Mishloach Manot, "delivered portions" to friends. I headed down to the Machaneh Yehudah market to pick up some goodies to deliver about town. While there, I took a few interesting photos.
A bizzare vegetable of some sort.

An arched stairway.

Later, the holiday begins with the reading of the Megillah, after the afternoon Minchah prayers. All of the kids, and plenty of adults, show up in costume.

Shaliach Tzibbur (prayer leader) with an, eh, interesting yarmulke.

Cousin Rafi with the boys.

Rafi, behatted.
Later, on Purim day, everyone is in costume.

Even the beggars wear funny hats.

I headed out to Kiryat Moshe to get together with the guys from my yeshivah, Machon Meir. Rav Sperling from Machon Meir, who teaches my halachah (Jewish Law) class.

Next stop, the yeshivah of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, spiritual leader of the Sephardi/National Religious community.


Yaakova said...

A belated Chag Sameach!
I visited your old stomping grounds and friends (Yankel, Schternie, e al), at Chabad Walnut Creek this Shabbos. :)

Evan said...

Cool! It's odd, that my blog life can sometimes cross with my real life. Glad to hear you enjoyed the neighborhood.