Like every Jewish historical festival, Purim is a rather bloodthirsty celebration.
On Pesach, God made himself known to the Israelites specifically by the wholesale killing of the Egyptians (Exodus 7:5, 14:17). Jews also were less than politically correct then: the only time the Torah applies the word neighbor to our opponents is when we borrowed jewelry from the Egyptians without meaning to give it back.
On Hanukkah, we celebrate victory in a brutal civil war where Jewish ultra-Orthodox Maccabeans defeated the liberals who merely sought to introduce some elements of Hellenistic culture and tolerance for other religions. The Maccabean war was not one of independence: Judea merely turned from Syrian into Roman protectorate.
On Purim, we do not celebrate deliverance from evil Haman. He was hanged nine months before that (Esther 8:9) for two offenses: plotting against Esther’s people and apparently trying to rape her (7:8). Mordechai was appointed in his stead. It is unthinkable, in that order of events, that the planned massacre against Jews would have been carried out. According to Middle Eastern customs, an edict not actively lobbied for was doomed to oblivion, so with Haman’s demise the Jews were safe despite the fact that the Artaxerxes’ murderous edict could not be formally rescinded.
The celebration marks Jews killing “those who hated them” (9:1). It was not “an eye for an eye” retaliation or even the rabbinical, “He who comes to slay you, slay him first” because the midrash relates that the haters’ children were also killed. That was a classic war of preemption, albeit a belated one. Haman is called an Agagite, a descendant of Amalek’s King Agag whom Saul had initially spared and Prophet Samuel cut in half. The Haman debacle befell us because centuries earlier Saul, a good Jewish king, practiced “the mercy of fools”—after defeating Amalekites, he had mercy on those who would have had no mercy upon us.
Haman’s example follows the Torah’s exterminatory logic. God commanded the Hebrews to leave no trace of natives in the land he gave us. If they wish to leave, they may do so, but if they dare to fight us, they have to be exterminated to the last child. Divine logic is spotless: if allowed to remain, the natives would always remember that Jews took away their land, and they would hate and fight us forever, becoming thorns in our sides. Under Mordechai’s leadership, the Jews realized that they could not afford to leave their haters alive, and killed them. Leaving the haters’ children would have just perpetuated the violence, as children grow and take revenge.
Jews prevailed over their enemies on the thirteenth of the month of Adar (9:1). On the fourteenth, the Jews rested (9:18) and killed choice enemies (v.14). When we celebrate Purim on the fourteenth, it is about killing our enemies rather than saving ourselves.
This may sound odd to those taught the nonsense that Judaism is love. Sorry, then. Jews are only commanded to love their law-observant neighbors; enemies and transgressors must be hated and done away with. Jews are normal, and like other people we are entitled to hate and kill our enemies. We killed Hamas’ Ahmed Yasin together with his family just as 2,500 years we hanged Haman with his sons. And in case you were told there is no Amalek today, Rashi is adamant about equating Amalek with the Germans, and Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi has implied clearly that Arabs are Amalek. If you want consolation, take it in the fact that European settlers conquered America in precisely the biblical manner, exterminated the natives, and created a nice liberal country in the occupied territories. Two hundred years from now, I’d love to be sorry for what we did to the natives in the Land of Israel when conquering it.
On Purim, Jews must become drunk to the extent of not differentiating between blessing Mordechai and cursing Haman. In vino veritas. Drunken people forget the accretions of political correctness and return to the basic truth: Mordechai’s blessing consists in Haman being cursed; his death is our reward.
Lest Jews think that Purim’s course of action is antiquated, the characters’ names are suggestive: Mordechai from Marduk, and Esther from Astarte. The saviors were two assimilated Jews whose names even were pagan. One was a court Jew, another was a Jewish leader eager to become court Jew. In the critical times, they have changed.