The Shushan Purim day

Purim is a special day, feast, days of joys and rejoicing, also a commemoration that we have been saved and this rescu action continues. It is more special in our generation because we have been rescued directly, in a special part of the world, mainly Europe, a christened and Christian long-age traditional continent. Some people would speak of “apostasy”. others would prudent, discreet. We must be careful. Is there any “guilt or fault, sin, homicide” if whosoever individual, collectivity, group, nation is not aware or does not come to the point that they freely really freely can acknowledge and ascertain that they have committed a genocide and murdered with intimate conviction people for the only purpose that they exist as such and specific human beings? The Churches, as also the Kippur Service, insist on the fact that sin and homicide of any nature require “consciousness and full admittance”. It may come over generations. There is the terrible example of the attitude of the Turks toward the Armenian people (also Syrian-Orthodox and Greeks) were killed in 1915. Our identity has come up in our generation in a very unique way: we have a “face”. Our faces exist, can mirror who we are. Photographs and films have come to show who we are or think we are or fake to be or, on the contrary, seek to reach the very deep personality that abides us, each of us on the paths of each life and destiny.
In that sense, Purim (lots) is indeed profoundly linked to “Kippur(im)”. We do not play on words and meanings in Hebrew. Connections make sense. Purim is like a pre-foreseen deep understanding that Divine call leads to joy and raises jealousy, attracts to causing murder from the part of those who do not recognize the heart of is existant.
We are too often driven by the passion of our look, appearance. This is even why “images” drift away from “icons” that are like a mark, a light/flashprint of who we are to be, for a short time and thus also for always. Our generation thinks that we can “fix and put it stiff” on digital, paper, movie films or takes, shots and store these. We do not store pictures: we can, on the other hand, anticipate the very large ingathering of all those who lived and all those who are to come into the world through the ages to come. Why is it so that in our generation of terror and huge homicide, our techniques allow us to “store and remember, memorize” those we meet or may approach? This is why the Russian Orthodox tradition has accepted since quite a certain time that “photographs” can be used as “icons” in private home corners where icons of the saints hang.
As Purim shows, we are disguised. As an Orthodox priest in Israeli society, I always wear a cassock. We define ourselves by our dresses, clothes in Jerusalem and in this country. It does not mean that the clothes we wear truly depict and witness to who we are. On Purim days, in town, I am often asked with a smile and quite joyfully if I am a real priest!!! Then, what does it mean that as a priest I speak Hebrew without accent or even quite in an rather Ashkenazi way and Yiddish as I als odo write Yiddish blogs, articles along with English, Russian or Ukrainian, not to speak of Afrikaans. We all interrogate each other some way somehow in this region.
It can be very provocative. Interesting how on the networks and sites, blogs, individuals maybe reluctant to contacts in life. This has nothing to do with virtual life as such. When I suggest to some women friends online to meet at Jaffa Gate whenevr they might tour to Jerusalem some day as most Israelis love to do, the answer is “I have a boyfriend, I am married, I do not look for a friend”. I keep highly distant to everybody in daily real life and online. But there is a constant emotional input everywhere in this country. If I say that frankyl I do not look for any “friend, flirt, sweetheart or whatsoever of that kind” and that these people may just come and visit Jerusalem, not alone, but with their husbands, wives, boy-girlfriends, the answer is they think Jerusalem is too far from their home sweet home. or they postpone. Best: when some couples arrive and we meet much friendly, the women look, as kall sorts of personal questions the way we do here and tell me I should take of my “robe” (the cassock) and just be “me”.
This is the way: tempting to get away of what is existant, because it does not fit or complies with standars we are used to. At this point, it is indeed a Purim quest and question. Who are we that God accepts us for who He also calls us to be. We cannot hide from who we are or escape down to the pit or some hidden cave or tomb. As Victor Hugo wrote: “L’oeil était dans la tombe et regardait Cain/the eye was in the tomb and looked down to Cain”. This sounds a bit too judgmental or “tried for ever”.
On the other hand, Purim calls us to dsiguise in order to show what kind of humans we are. We do not hide. We are veiled to get unveiled and the masks do not have to fall. We just know they are not effective. Our identity does not depend on someone who would rerquire us to “undress” and get naked. The miracle is that, even when we are naked, God put on us the Tent of His very Being and that this is reflecting in the colors that our neighbors and other flellow people as our feuds do perceive. This is why it is so special on these days t oconfide in the lots that God will grant us for the coming days of our life. There is more: a kind of “pardon” that overshadows us much deeper and significantly than any desire to grasp or be seized by others and ourselves.
As an Eastern Orthodox theologian told me last year, I can’t help but just be a sort of “E.T.” or an UFO (Unidentified Flying Object). it makes no sense to be like if it does not allow the widest, largest and still humanly possible ablity t oconnect layers, peoples, individuals and still never feel “foreign or alien” to who we are in depth. Much more than our looks. Much more than we we glance at. Glimpses pass. Our “identity” is constantly questioned in this Land because we are summoned by the One Who is Who He is to be and become permanently.
Thus this feast drive us up and make up climb… on a move that both gives identity and awareness and cause us t obe so human, just mentshen as Yiddish says, “melting and liquid hearts, sensitive to all and each of us”.
Foto (credit: Vered Steinheimer)

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