Monday, March 09, 2009

Purim as a Temporary Remedy for the Economic Downtown

The Gemara (Megillah 7b) tells us that on Purim we have to drink so much wine that we don't know the difference between "Cursed is Haman" and "Blessed is Mordechai". There are different interpretations of this obligation, and it should not necessarily be taken at face value. However, the Torah La-Da'as (vol. 3 p. 137) quotes the Maggid of Vilna (which one? R. Jacob Joseph?) as explaining that there is a special rule on Purim that when poor people ask for charity, you have to give them money without checking whether they are really deserving.

Therefore, poor people love Purim because they can obtain a lot of money while rich people do not because they end up giving away large amounts. So on Purim, poor people bless Mordechai for the holiday while rich people curse Haman for it. Our obligation, according to this view, is to drink so much that we don't know whether we are rich or poor, whether we want to bless Mordechai or curse Haman. I am sure that those who have, or rather had, significant funds invested in the stock market will enjoy forgetting about that money.

(But remember: link)

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