Friday, February 26, 2021

Happy Purim!

 


(Just in case anyone needs the explanation: Tiger King, Chess Queen, Queen Maleficent, Beauty Pageant Queen (Miss RBS), Dairy Queen, King of Egypt, & the King of Cards!)

14 comments:

  1. Not sure if it went through before (or could be was not approved).
    I heard a nice vort. Why was Megillas Esther the only Sefer in Tanach not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
    If you’re a rationalist it’s because the story never actually happened and if you’re a mystic it’s because everything about Esther is hidden.
    (There are other possible answers however this is by the far the best.)

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    1. Some scholars feel that the Ester story is a parable. My only critique is, Ester does not need to be viewed as an allegory. There is nothing strange or supernatural about the book (Rambam's method of reinterpreting seemingly impossible events). Not Judaism or even G-d is mentioned in the book. It almost appears secular. Why does she need to be a metaphor? Couldn't she exist like Abraham and Moses?

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    2. I've never heard either explanation. Mystics won't even think about the Dead Sea Scrolls, so it's not like they would even think of a reason. As for the former, the Book of Esther is older than many books found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and there's no indication anyone thought it didn't happen.

      The usual reason is that the Dead Sea sect believed that everyone in Tanach kept all of Torah- their interpretation of it, that is- and they had a bunch of problems with the actions of the Jewish characters in Esther, most notably that under their calendar, 13 Adar was always Shabbat, so (again, under their rules), how could they have fought?

      A simpler reason is that it's a small book, and for some books of Tanach we only have small fragments in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It may just have disappeared. We *do* have books in the Scrolls that resemble Esther.

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    3. Hi Nachum. I hope you had a Freilichen Purim. Have you seen TheTorah.com's Purim Torah on Esther and the Dead Sea Scrolls from some years ago? :) Kol tuv, Ariel Segal https://www.thetorah.com/article/newly-deciphered-qumran-scroll-revealed-to-be-megillat-esther

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    4. Yeah CZ, I agree with Nachum - I think it's that the Dead Sea Scroll folks simply didn't like Sefer Esther for whatever reason. Remember, these were people with books that discuss things like "the Teacher of Righteousness" and recommending behaviors that are more similar to monastic groups. Esther living with a non-Jew would NOT have been an acceptable story point, even if that was the path to Hashem's salvation.

      But big disclaimer: I am not a Bible scholar. I just like reading stuff.

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  2. Shmuel- there’s nothing in the story that seems unnatural other then the likelihood of a Persian King marrying a Jew but the reason why people think it’s a metaphor is because there’s no other recorded history of such an event and it’s quite difficult to have it dated at that time; for sure when the Gmara dates it. some scholars believe it may have happened after the second Beis Hamikdosh was rebuilt which makes it possible (and the Megillah doesn’t say there’s no Temple) but definitely not like the Gmara learns. Which may be a more relevant conversation than sun going around the earth.
    Nuchum- obviously mystics don’t care which is why it’s a joke but the point is it fits in with the idea that even religious rationalists believe in certain non-rational points.
    the answer about the Dead Sea sect not following it is also a good and possible answer. “not finding doesn’t mean not existing” is technically possible although less likely.

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    1. Suppose Religious rationalists agree with Joseph ibn Kaspi and “views the Esther story as an allegory that shows how human beings can overcome unfavorable situations.” I believe in the Esther story literally. Besides, who's to say we won't someday find a Dead Sea Scroll with Esther?

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    2. Shmuel- it’s really ok people can believe in whatever they’re comfortable with. There are many answers to questions.
      Also I actually said that answer (look above) and anything is possible but it’s not likely

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    3. Where does Ibn Kaspi say that the Esther story is an allegory? He strongly criticizes such an approach in Shulchan Kessef. https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=35224&st=&pgnum=5

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  3. Shmuel continued- but if the Torah is our foundation and you add up all the not literal items the foundation can seem a bit shaky

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    1. I agree. If we say everything is a metaphors, even Esther, than perhaps G-d is a metaphors!

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