Jewish Hatred Of non-Jews
Purim will never be the same
By Ruth Meisels
"Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence" by Elliott
Horowitz, Princeton University Press, 340 pages, $35
Allow me to begin with a confession: For as long as I can remember, I never liked the holiday of Purim, with its story of the massacre of the gentiles and its message of revenge and rejoicing at the downfall of others. As if hanging Haman's 10 sons were not enough, the Book of Esther goes on to boast that "the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand" (Esther 9:16). In addition, we read Esther's appalling request that the Jews of Shushan be granted another day to act "according unto this day's decree" - i.e., to slaughter their non-Jewish neighbors brutally. To eliminate any doubt, the author of the Book of Esther emphasizes that this was not a case of self-defense, and that "no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people" (9:2).