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Jewish Journal

A Thought for Purim

by Rabbi John Rosove

March 5, 2012 | 5:58 pm

First chapter of the Megillah. Photo by Wikipedia/Chefallen

ְהָפוּך” in Hebrew means opposite, upside-down, reversed, or backward!

However, in regards to the reading of the Book of Esther backwards, Jewish law (Halacha) says: “One who reads the Megilah backwards has not fulfilled the mitzvah (commandment) of reading the Megilah.”

The Baal Shem Tov (the founder of modern Hasidism) comments, saying: “If you read the Megilah thinking it’s only about the past [i.e. looking backwards], you miss the point.”

We Jews need to look forward always. Though we are a people with a long memory and we do not forget very much in our history and experience, we become mired in the past to our own detriment because then we find ourselves responding to current challenges inappropriately and unwisely.

Chag Sameach!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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