Monthly Clergy Message>
ESTHER WAS A BIG LIAR!
It’s true. In the Purim Megillah, Mordechai asks Esther to conceal her identity. As a matter of fact, some scholars believe that the heroin’s name, Esther, actually comes from the Hebrew word L’Haster – which means “to conceal.” And that she, and the rest of the story, were fabricated and/or was an amalgamation of many myths from ancient civilizations.
So the question one must ask is: Why would the Rabbis keep this story of dubious authenticity in our canon of sacred M’gillot?
One answer might be to keep us asking the eternal question: “Is it O.K. to lie?”
What would have happened to the Jewish people if Esther had not concealed her true identity? Have YOU ever hidden your Jewish identity?
In researching the question: “Is it O.K. to lie?” I found a great article by Rabbi David Samson (https://www.yeshiva.co/ask/1003) where he answered a young Israeli soldier regarding whether it was O.K. to lie to his parents about where he was stationed – since he was “in some pretty dangerous locations.” Rabbi Samson answered by quoting 13 different sources of Jewish text (which I’ve condensed below).
He began by quoting verses that said that one should not lie; however, he continued with times when it was permissible:
- Lying is permissible if its purpose is to maintain love and harmony between a man and his wife. [Genesis, 18:12-13]
- One can lie to bring peace between any two individuals or groups. [Yevamot 65B]
- The Sages of the House of Hillel taught that one can praise the beauty of a bride even though she is not particularly pretty. [Ketubot, 17A]
- It is also permissible to lie for the sake of humility. [Baba Metzia 23B]
- To safeguard a couple’s privacy. [Ibid]
- The rabbis also permit lying in order to preserve a person’s well-being. [Ibid]
- To avoid embarrassment, a person can lie. [P’ninei Halacha, Vol 3, Pg. 159, based on the Rambam, Laws of Theft 14:13]
Although these are all permissible reasons to lie by our sages, one must know when to lie and when not. And since this is very difficult, one is well-advised to not lie at all; hence the truism: “Once a lie, twice a habit.”
And speaking of habits, the Purim Schpielers have thrown off their habits of last year’s show and invite you to celebrate with us on Monday night, March 9, 2020. That’s when Megillat Esther meets the Broadway show “Rent” or as we’re calling it “Seasons of Love.” Based on Puccini’s ‘La Boheme,’ “Rent” tells the story of one year in the life of friends living the Bohemian life in the East Village, New York City, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Please join us to see how we’ve taken the music and story back to Shushan. And remember to bring your boxed pasta to use as a grogger and then leave with us so we can donate the pasta to our local food banks. It’s going to be a night of Purim fun!
Chag Purim Sameach!
Don’t forget to…
- Set the Post’s title to Monthly Clergy Message from <<INSERT NAME HERE>>
- Change the Featured Image to the proper Clergy member
- Set the Category to “Monthly Clergy Message”