Mendy Kaminker

Antisemites don’t learn history

Antisemites don’t learn history!

This is the only conclusion we can make from the most recent ridiculous antisemitic stunt.

I do not know what exactly they had in their twisted mind when they designated the last Shabbat as a “day of hate.” It clearly backfired. Instead of being a day of intimidation for the Jews, it became a day of Jewish unity. Many people, including those who are not regulars, came to Shul to show their support.

Come on, you antisemites! Won’t you learn some history and stop with this nonsense already?

Every time you try to intimidate us, we become more united. I mean, you should have just Googled what’s the next Jewish holiday and seen for yourself.

We all know the basic story: Haman, a notorious Jew-hater, attempted to eliminate the Jewish people. His evil plan was thwarted, and we now celebrate Purim, one of the most joyous holidays of the year.

Yet reading between the lines reveals the fantastic transformation of the Jewish people.

When Haman spoke to Achashverosh, he described the Jewish people as weak and divided: “one nation scattered and dispersed among the nations throughout the provinces of your kingdom.” Using this argument, he successfully convinced Achashverosh to allow the genocide of the Jewish people.

His words had the opposite effect.

Because of the imminent threat, the Jewish people got together. Gone were the differences: young and old, rich and poor, observant and those who were not; everyone was united.

And the Megillah highlights a crucial moment in the salvation of the Jewish people: a three-day gathering of all Jews in Shushan. This extraordinary display of Jewish unity brought everyone together with one heart, connected to G-d and each other.

Haman is long gone, but Purim is here forever.

Will the antisemites learn their lesson? I highly doubt it. We, however, should.

Because Jewish unity should not be dormant, only arising when outside threats remind us how we are all one. It should be something we actively cultivate and nurture.

Did you know that our sages designed the holiday of Purim with this in mind? They instituted Rabbnicial Mitzvot that would allow us – and encourage us – to connect to each other.

Yes, all Jewish holidays are times when families and communities get together. You can celebrate the Seder alone or blow the shofar with no one around. Still, to properly fulfill the Mitzvot of Purim, you need to connect with others.

One of the Mitzvot in Purim is Mishloach Manot. We are told to send food gifts “males to male friends and by females to female friends.” Every Jew can be considered a friend, and as long as you find someone to give them your Mishloach Manot, you did the Mitzvah.

Another Mitzvah is Matanot Laevyonim. This one asks us to give “gifts to the poor,” giving charity to at least two poor people, and of course, the more, the merrier!

For Purim this year, I encourage you to spend more time on planning and fulfilling this Mitzvot. Consider sending additional Mishloach Manot, especially to those who may not receive from others. Give more Matanot Laevyonim. With so much hatred out there, showing our love is even more important.

May G-d protect the Jewish people from all threats, and may we remember that we are – always and forever! – one people.

Wishing you a happy Purim!

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of
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