Yet another introductory note from the Rabbi:
Lest you think I am being serious, keep in mind that Saturday night is Purim. We have a tradition of Purim Torah; writing humorous (or attempted humorous) comments about the holiday. The following column attempts to follow in this comical tradition. A disclaimer: The pizza image above has been inspected to be sure no meat was inserted. Any negative reference to vegetarianism is purely for sake of not so funny humor.
For many, many (that’s a lot…) centuries, this coming Shabbat has been called SHABBAT ZAKHOR; the Sabbath of/to/for Remembering. The name was based on the special, additional Torah reading for this Sabbath before Purim.
Conventional wisdom made a connection between the reading and Haman. The additional reading was a brief paragraph from Deuteronomy, commanding us: ZAKHOR ET ASHER ASAH L’KHAH AMALEK…REMEMBER WHAT THE TRIBE OF AMALEK DID TO YOU AS YOU LEFT EGYPT.
The Amalek tribe attacked the weary Israelties on their journey to freedom. SINCE Haman was a descendent of the Amalekites and SINCE we boo Haman this Satruday night, the special reading was considered appropriate for this coming Shabbat before Purim.
However (we Jews love ‘howevers’), a new study by JIFNWNCJLTA (Jewish Institute For Neurotics Who Never Can Just Leave Tradition Alone) suggests that the whole Amalek thing is an inaccurate portrayal of Jewish history. It was intended to perpetual the popular Jewish custom of celebrating Aggravation, Anxiety and Angst (the real origin of what is now the AAA Automobile organization).
The authentic tradition is as follows: Amalek was a tribe whose central religious/cultic practice focused on steak; rather than on pursuing Israelites. The name Amalek evolved from the tribe’s motto: let ’em eat steak. Over the course of time, the proliferation of vegetarians led to the untimely demise of the tribe and its customs. In the spirit of constantly seeking negative and neuroses-based interpretations of Jewish history, Amalek became associated with persecution and torment. Blame the veggies for this one…
The demand for creating traditions which breed anxiety and pessimism also led to this Shabbat being erroneously referred to as SHABBBAT ZAKHOR; a time to REMEMBER the Amalekites who attacked us. As reported by JIFNWNCJLTA, the original name for this Sabbath was SHABBAT ZOCOR; the Sabbath to Celebrate the Cholesterol Medication Zocor.
Shabbat Zocor celebrates both cholesterol and sugar (somehow, reference to SUGAR was omitted from the name given to this Sabbath. JIFNWNCJLTA is now wasting money researching that trivial and worthless subject). In honor of the ancient Amalekite tradition of steak; a tradition which the Amalekites introduced to ancient Israel, Purim was originally celebrated by eating the finest sirloin kosher money can buy. Due to the rise of vegetarianism, steak was dismissed from the Jewish Purim feasting. Consequently, the title SHABBAT ZOCOR inevitably disappeared and was replaced by SHABBAT ZAKHOR; a title which would insure that Jews celebrate misery.
As for hamentaschen, not even the new religion of vegan could render extinct the practice of eating these delicious and delightful pastries; made with butter and flour. Because ancient tradition demanded that each Jew consume a minimal of 18 medium sized hamentaschen (18 for chai), the holiday celebrates both the joy of cholesterol and the joy of sugar. Since happiness took precedence over health, the ancients did not mind watching their cholesterol and blood sugar levels rise precipitously. They refused to moderate and thereby to live in misery. Unfortunately, future generations opted otherwise. Hence, instead of Shabbat Zocor we celebrate Shabbat Zakhor, with all its accompanying neurosis and highlighting of misfortune.
Now, you know the rest of the story…
Simhat Purim, Happy Purim!!