Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Purim roundup

Since Purim is almost upon us, here are some older Seforim Blog posts dealing with Purim themes (arranged chronologically):

Purim, Mixed Dancing and Kill Joys (3.06.2006); Mahar"i Mintz permitted cross dressing and mixed dancing on Purim. Also discussed are other rabbinic reactions to Purim merrymaking.

Review of Reckless Rites by Elliott Horowitz (4.07.2006). This controversial book subtitled "Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence" discusses incidents of Jewish violence toward non-Jews on Purim and the way Jewish historians sometimes downplayed these incidents.

Tussle Over Horowitz's Book (10.11.2006) discusses the resulting fallout of this book, whose thesis was disliked by Hillel Halkin in Commentary.

The Origins of Hamentashen in Jewish Literature: A Historical-Culinary Survey (2.28.2007), a classic post by Eliezer Brodt on this relatively recent Jewish custom.

Judah Wistinetzky and Mishloach Manot to his American friends (3.02.2007); Menachem Butler points out a post by Ari Kinsberg about a sefer distributed as a mishloach manot gift to the author's friends.

Purim and Parodies (3.17.2008) by Eliezer Brodt. Eliezer discusses everything from a humorous Purim piyut included in Mahzor Vitry, to Kalonymus ben Kalonymus's Massekhet Purim to the very rare Sefer Ha-kundas, a 19th century parody of the laws of trouble-making in the style of the Shulhan Aruch.

The Origins of Hamentashen in Jewish Literature: A Historical-Culinary Survey Revisited by Eliezer Brodt (3.18.2008). Eliezer revisits his post, updated with many additions and corrections.

"'Most of all you've got to hide it from the kids…' Reading Esther before Bed" by Elliott Horowitz (2.25.2010). This post discusses bible tales adopted for children in softened form.

The Origin of Ta'anit Esther by Mitchell First (3.3.2011). In this recent post, it is argued that this fast's origin is even later than the original She'iltot (8th century).

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Also, here are a few Purim posts from fellow-traveller On the Main Line:

A duel fought with swords on Purim, 1891 a duel fought with swords on Purim, between a Jew and a modern-day Haman.


1841 Purim in New York, to bang at Haman's name or not to bang?

1 comment:

Ben said...

These comments pertain to Mitchell First's "The Origin of Ta'anit Esther". While the article is very detailed, I find it hard to believe that a new/ancient custom of fasting on 13 Adar would have developed solely to prohibit fasting on Shabbat or erev Shabbat.
It seems to me that the facts are as follows:
1. 13 Adar could not have been a permanent day of fasting in Mishnaic times since the megillah could be read on that day.
2. 13 Adar was previously known as Yom Nikanor, a day when fasting was prohibited.
3. Taanit Esther, as we know it today, is late, as evidenced by the proofs cited in Rabbi Dr. First's article. In addition, the fact that the word Ta'anit and not Tzom is used to describe the day in nearly every instance is further evidence as to the lateness of the custom to fast. The word Ta'anit is only used once in the Bible, in the post-exilic book of Ezra. All other fasts are referred to with the word Tzom.
4. There seems to have been a Rabbinic agenda to de-emphasize the Macabean victory as a cause for celebration. This accords with the lack of mention of the holiday of Chanukah in the Mishna (exc. for en pessant references to nerot Chanukah) and the lack of the Maccabean victory being listed as a cause for Chanukah celebration in Gemara Shabbat. Presumably this Rabbinic de-emphasis was because the descendants of the Maccabees became Saducees.
Thus, I see the replacement of Yom Nikanor as another attempt to de-emphasize the Macabean victory. Because there was an ancient Palestinian tradition to fast Mon Thurs Mon preceding Purim, replacing a 3 day fast with a one day fast likely proved popular, esp. if it could be tied in to verses in the megillah.

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