Jews are under attack from all sides, at all times. Whether it's Nazi zombies, or zombie Nazis, or Hugo Chavez and his Venezuelan Anti-Semite Tumblers, or the Inquisition -
there's always someone out to get us Chosen folk.
Recently, though, there have been slings and arrows from unlikely places, namely: Amazon.com, and the rabbi at my synagogue.
Amazon, a glorious Eden of cheap books and the most random crap available for purchase outside a flea market, has come out with Kindle 2: The Forest Strikes Back.
The whole "library in a tablet" thing is fantastic, six days a week. But on the holy Sabbath, when I'm trying to avoid having an Important Conversation with Wife, or trying to be distant to Child so he'll learn to constantly strive for my approval and therefore go on to become wildly rich and successful, I need to read books. And since G-d Himself banned electricity ("Thou shalt not flip the light switch." "Lord, what's a light switch?" "Silence, heretics! Go get Me some more veal!") I can't be reading some computer thingy on Saturdays.
"But what about the trees, and the environment? We need to love Mother Earth!" Ordinarily, yes. But Reading Is Fundamental, or do you hate literacy as much as you hate G-d?
So Purim is coming up. It's a very spiritual holiday, filled with laughter and joy and binge drinking. It's like Halloween and fraternity rush week all rolled into a tidy vomit-filled package. I have the additional pleasure of speaking fantastically inappropriate truths while I'm drunk.
"Wait wait wait. You are SO in a relationship. He just happens to be marrying your suitemate in the summer. But you've got plenty of time before then."
And that's the one I can remember. Imagine the hilarity of the zingers I've forgotten!
Well the rabbi at my shul wants to take that all away. He's very much against all drinking on Purim, not just the excess. This, despite the Talmudic obligation, and the plethora of other sages who say that even if you don't get drunk, you should have a little, you know, just to ease the pain.
But no, not at my shul. This is the pull quote from the e-mail bulletin: "Please remember that ________ is alcohol-free on Purim and is always smoke-free. That includes inside the building and anywhere on the grounds. Anyone found violating that policy will be escorted out of the building and off the grounds by the security staff."
First of all, there is no "security staff." There's the rabbi, and the assistant rabbi, and some larger high school kids. Second, alcohol-free?? So all the kiddush wine, and the kiddush club whiskey and vodka stash, that's all being poured out on the street, Elliot Ness-style, right before Purim? I think not. Let's not be reactionary here. Just step away from the bottles, and go read about kinky Esther and her feminine wiles.