Friday, March 14, 2014

Beth Schlesinger: Purim is not just about external enemies

 Guest Post by Beth Schlesinger

This Purim, like last year, I will not be spending with my children. My Sunday visit is cancelled. This year, like last year, I have no idea how Sammy and Benji will celebrate, if they even have a costume or if they will even be taken to a Purim party to be with all the other children. I sincerely hope so. Even if they can't celebrate this joyous day with their mother, I wish them all the fun, laughter and happiness in the world.  

As I think about my own personal tragedy, I reflect on the story of Purim and try to find new meaning behind the traditional and superficial story we tell our children. 

Since my boys attend the Chabad kindergarden, where better to look for a Purim lesson than in their teachings?

I found the following:

Purim teaches us that in a time of crisis, faced with a ruthless enemy like Haman, we must turn all the more tenaciously to our source of strength, and show that we are “the People of Mordechai, who would not kneel nor bow down” to anything that is contrary to Yiddishkeit.

As a child and even into adulthood, I was always taught and naively believed that our enemies are external; dangerously lurking on the other side of the fence ready to pounce, while we stand united with our Jewish brethren, smugly secure within the tightly protected confines of our communities. It is only now, as an adult after tasting the bitter pill of reality that I realise how childishly simplistic the story is told. Haman versus Mordechai, Vashti versus Esther. The goodies pitted squarely against the baddies, neatly delineated into 2 camps: Haman the evil gentile who tried to destroy us, the good and innocent Jewish victims. But we, the chosen People, stood together as one and defeated the menacing enemy. Everyone celebrated and was happy until the next existential threat rose up to conquer us once again.

But what happens when there is a Haman within our midst? When not everyone in the Jewish community is a Mordechai or Queen Esther? When elements within our own camp seek to mercilessly destroy us and rejoice over our downfall just like Haman tried and failed to do. What do you do when the lines blur so that you can no longer be sure who are your enemies and who are your supporters?

Kol Yisroel areivim zeh bazeh. All of Israel are responsible for one another, we are told. If only more people were to realize this dictum and take heed. 

Purim is an elusive festival. It is a story wrapped in disguise, hidden behind a costume, concealed behind a mask. While it may appear frivolous merry making from the outside, behind the costumes and spiels, a meta-story unfolds.  Just when Haman arrogantly believed his plot was all sewn up, everything suddenly turned on its head. Instead of destroying, he was the one destroyed. He tried to inspire hatred for the Jews but instead, he emerged as the hated one. 
 
Purim is traditionally associated with childish fun but there is also a serious adult message to take home.The word Purim comes from 'Pur;' the lots which Haman drew to murder the Jews but it is also related to the Hebrew word `porer, ' which means to dismantle, break, destroy, break into crumbs It is perhaps at times we assume we are most in control that we can be so wrong. Hashem may unexpectedly reveal His hidden hand at any moment and that is why even in the depths of darkness and despair, we must cling on to our faith and not lose hope. 

Purim Sameach

26 comments :

  1. The title of the article is distasteful despite the complex situation Beth finds herself, it is a private matter and not a Jewish matter. not only the title but the rest of the article connect her story to the story of the Jewish people which is indeed absurd.

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    1. I guess you aren't aware of the use of the term Amalek from whom Haman was descended to describe Jews that are viewed as a danger within the community?
      http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.co.il/2014/01/which-of-these-are-amalek.html reports

      Which of these are Amalek
      I am sorry, but I no longer know who I am supposed to kill.

      About six months ago one influential rabbi called Dati Leumi people "Amalek" .

      And yesterday a different influential rav, one close with Rav Shteinman, called followers of Rav Shmuel Auerbach and the Yerushalmi Litvishe group "descendants of Amalek". (source: Kikar)

      Maybe they are cousins.

      I am at a loss. How do I decide which is really amalek? Do I have a mitzva to be machmir and kill both, just in case? Maybe we apply the concept of "Eilu vEilu Divrei Elokim Chaim" and assume they are both right? Would killing both be a chumra or a kula?

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    2. RDE, you, Beth, and anyone else posting here are of no caliber to call another Jew "Amalek" or enemy.

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    3. Chuchem, Great, thanks a lot, todah rabah..I did not know Beth is a rabbanit now, giving a shiur on purim..And starting with an allegation, an unproved one- again. She cancelled the two last vivits, she did not care about a new visitation center when she was thrown out by the last one. The real Haman within the "jewish camp" is Beth.

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  2. Why wise Chochom shouldn't we relate Jewish events to our lives?

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  3. You chose a good name for yourself. you are indeed a Chochom. You are completely right about being a private matter and not a Jewish matter. YOU understood, but how many people are going to be manipulated by this distasteful article? I wonder whom she means by Haman. I truly hope she did not mean a Jewish person. Since Haman was the descendant of Amalek and the role model for Antisemitism and Hitler, yemach shemo, until this very day.

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    1. Hitler was Austrian too. Hmmmm

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    2. to all of you !!! never ever compare Jews to Hitler or Haman. it looks like you are all too young to understand what you are doing here.

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  4. You're free to keep making posts on this blog, but it is doubtful it will have any effect in your fight with your ex.

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  5. There is no reason that the children shouldn't spend Purim with their own father.

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  6. For a while now, I am following the story of the poor twins, having a close look at the matter due to it's affect of the way Jews are being portrait and viewed, and the affect it has on antisemites who are aware of the massive pain one Jew reflects on another.
    Here in Israel, we have founded a land, strong, secure, with the ability to express your views and stand your ground with no fear, knowing that the Goim will always preffer their own intrest on top of ours.
    The Galus way of living your life is to always know that you do not have full and actual control over it. This is why Mordechai had to have his niece marry a gentile and why Ester felt it was a good act for her Jewish poeple and was willing to give her life and marry an antisemite king that butchered by the thousands.
    Michael Schlesingers behaviour, with his Austrian comunity behind him, are acting in the same way that gave the jewish haters, through generations, the excuse to legitimize their longing for the basic antisemitic inspiration. A jew that is willing to do anything in order to inflict pain and misery over a fellow jew. I have shared this story in the past with a fellow German lawyer, who is an expert in family cases in Germany. After reading the courts protocols, he grinned, saying that Austria has not changed a great deal from the Reich's influence to this day. He told me that the way to deal with the situation is beyond court rooms, simply because Schlesinger's behaviour proves he will do anything to get back at the mother, and as he can understand from reading the material, that the court is playing along, with no regard of the facts which proved him to be an unfit parent, a constant liar, and an abuser.
    He then told me, as a friend, and after having read about the matter in a german objective articke, that it saddens him, as a true friend of Israel, to see a Jewish community in Vienna act in the same way his grandfather, a lawyer who received OT CHASID UMOT HAOLAM from yad vashem for saving Jew's, described to him Jewish communities did against each other before the second world war has started. He said his grandfather explained to him, that this was a major setback in trying to defend the Jewish morals and life form, given that they will go at each other with no mercy what so ever themselves.
    A Jewish father who is willing to trash the Jewish name and give weapons to antisemites, let along use his kids to destroy and get back at their mother - is unfortunately a good servant to Hamman's theory and propaganda.
    Living in Galus has responsibilities that has to make a Jew act in Rachmanut to a fellow Jew, and not as an evil servant of history.
    There are many movements in Israel which offer to defend the mother from the cruelty of an abuser of a father, sheltering her and protecting her, as the Austrian community should have done. I wish the mother could have come here and make use of it.
    Purim Sameach from Israel, where the PUR has and still is day to day, being fought by us, defending our daughters from judges who have no Jewish heart.
    Dr. M.
    Raanana.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mr. M from Raanana. You did not read one line of the court protocol.

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    2. Wow Dr. M. powerful words, Michael Schlesinger I hope you are taking note!!

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  7. You can publish my name - Mordechai Cohen. Chag Sameach.

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    1. Lily of the valleyMarch 14, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Dr Cohen, your comments are spot-on and your conclusions realistic. I'm not Jewish but have been following Beth's story with both interest and horror. I fear Dr Schlesinger will stop at nothing to defy the mother of his children and the woman he not so long ago fell in love with. I'm most worried about his very obviously severely damaged personality and the safety of the boys. For an outsider, it's tragic to see a Jewish man and member of the medical profession act like the Gentile, Haman. The twins will be going downhill day by day and are in the hands of a dangerous person who should be barred from practising medicine or "caring" for children.

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  8. here we go again. The father has cancelled another visit. How sad for the kids...

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    1. My dear Linda, He has not cancelled another visit. Beth has them every other Sunday and this week is not her week.

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    2. Tova you are wrong - see this post

      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2014/03/schlesinger-twins-documentation-of-dr.html

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    3. My dear Tova. You clearly do not know the new arrangement. The court has ordered that the children see their mother every Tuesday and every other sunday. since the centre has closed the father is not bringing the children on a tuesday which is so wrong but instead now every sunday. So please get the facts straight before replying.

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    4. TO TOVA, ARE YOU A MOTHER?!!!!

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  9. Wonderful article. Indeed the concept of Erev Rav is very common,maybe more common than Hamman in this case. BUt the idea of the costumes fits perfectly in your life story. I wouldnt compare anyone JEwish to Hamman but I do know there is apercentage of non Jews who left Egypt and were the source for many hardships the Jews went through until this day. Jews that dance with Palestinians for instance of others who purposely eat pork on Kippour- Those are the kind of people often tagged as Erev Rav in our community. And the truth is... the mask is there... there arent even JEwish to begin with because we recognize a jew by 3 things: one of them being Rahmanous... and someone able to purposely hurt and thrive on someone s pain... lets forget how kind Beth is on top of it all. Just any person who is insensitive to someone s suffering, their origins should certainly be questioned because we are a people compared to lamb. And even if we mess up on many levels ( financially, emotionally) with others, there arent cruely stories going around quite often in our communityand there is a reason for that. The other alternativeis sickness. Maybe the person is a Jew but is sick. IN that case, everyone should unite to help both the victim and the sick perpetrator. Happy Pourim
    Claudia

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  10. Wonderful article. Indeed the concept of Erev Rav is very common,maybe more common than Hamman in this case. BUt the idea of the costumes fits perfectly in your life story. I wouldnt compare anyone JEwish to Hamman but I do know there is apercentage of non Jews who left Egypt and were the source for many hardships the Jews went through until this day. Jews that dance with Palestinians for instance of others who purposely eat pork on Kippour- Those are the kind of people often tagged as Erev Rav in our community. And the truth is... the mask is there... there arent even JEwish to begin with because we recognize a jew by 3 things: one of them being Rahmanous... and someone able to purposely hurt and thrive on someone s pain... lets forget how kind Beth is on top of it all. Just any person who is insensitive to someone s suffering, their origins should certainly be questioned because we are a people compared to lamb. And even if we mess up on many levels ( financially, emotionally) with others, there arent cruely stories going around quite often in our communityand there is a reason for that. The other alternativeis sickness. Maybe the person is a Jew but is sick. IN that case, everyone should unite to help both the victim and the sick perpetrator. Happy Pourim
    Claudia

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  11. Perhaps we should be learning from our history and bring what we learn to our everyday lives. We should look at the evil that has been done and not
    to repeat it or are we just willing to accept the status quo?
    i think not
    We should try and turn it bad
    round and make it better. If we dwell
    on the evil there will only ever be evi
    At Purim we try to blot Haman out by
    making a noise to block his name. By
    doing this are we expecting things jus
    t improve by themselves. Yet year on
    year we repeat this process blindly.

    We seem to just do rituals without any
    meaning. Just following a set of rules!

    Wouldn't it be better for us to learn
    from the past and make an effort to make changes for the good.

    If we don't what is the point of any of it?
    We learn about Shalom Beit. Yet in
    modern day in many cases this is not to be. Are we just going to use the same principal as we do on Purim?

    Are we going to block parents from children's lives and think it ok to do so?

    Before we all go into Purim, I urge you
    all to think about how Beth is being
    blocked blotted out from her children's precious lives and how it is our duty,
    responsibility in the Austrian and
    British Jewishb communities can help bring about an amicable resolution.

    Gutten Purim




    from our mistakes in the past and turn


    bad into good. Each and everyone of



    us should think hard as we are now
    goong into Purim how we can make good comr out of bad. I hope you all agree!

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  12. I don't see any problem with comparing an abuser (even a Jewish one) to Haman. Unfortunately there are some Jews who behave in a way that is the complete antithesis of what Yiddishkeit demands of us. People who are speaking against the writer of this article must not know the context of what she is saying; anyone who does would never dare to call her manipulative.

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  13. TO TOVA!!! I REPEAT, ARE YOU A MOTHER?!!!!!!! WHETHER OR NOT, FOR HEAVENS SAKE,YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE A CORRECTION THAT BETH HAS THEM EVERY OTHER SUNDAY AND THIS WEEK IS NOT HER WEEK, HUH DO YOU NEED LESSONS ON HOW TO BE A CARING AND LOVING HUMAN BEING!!!!!!!!! THAT WOULD BE SOME HARD TASK FOR ANYBODY TO TAKE ON!!!!!!!

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  14. Towa did you see the boys in Shul yesterday?. Did you speak to them?
    If you are so close to the Schlesinger family, you must know the boys. In
    your opinion and I presume you are a
    mother and even a grandmother, do
    Sammy and Benji speak and behave
    like normal five year olds?

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