Friday, March 6, 2009

Laugh at Hate

What’s so funny about Purim? The plot line is tragically familiar. The Jewish nation faces the first of many crises to its existence through the long years of exile following the destruction of the Temple and the Israelite Kingdom. Why do celebrate by dressing up, getting drunk, pulling pranks and living the most laughable day possible?
The existence of the Jewish people for so long, under such extreme circumstances, is completely absurd. What are the odds of a people surviving a bitter exile as minorities in foreign lands? What are the odds of retaining an identity and culture through the seismic geographic, political and cultural shifts of two millennia of world history? What are the odds of these people being the greatest contributors to human progress in virtually every field? What are the odds of their culture surviving intact, and returning to rebuild their homeland after two thousands years?
The only thing more absurd that our survival is the fact that, throughout history, people have hated us for surviving. We have never done anything to wrong humanity, at least nothing that would warrant such extreme derision. It is a hatred without any rhyme or reason.
People throughout history - and today is no exception - perceive us as a threat. But a threat to what exactly is difficult to articulate. A threat to hegemony, a threat to the absolute power of reason, a threat to moral relativism... Perhaps they see our leadership in so many fields as a threat, or perhaps we have not done enough to capitalize on out collective talents and truly lead humanity to a new era; they accuse us of plotting to take over the world, which is partly true since we possess and uncanny drive and desire to contribute toward humanity’s quest for utopia and make the world in our moral image.
But these are very abstract criticisms, and there are plenty of people who have perpetrated very tangible evils, yet no such extreme hatred is reserved for them.
The only answer to those who adopt the doctrine of Haman and desire to wipe us off the face of the earth (like the rulers of his Persian homeland today), is to laugh. You can’t argue with such absurdity, since there is no logic to it. So you have to simply acknowledge the absurdity of it - its utter futility and self-destructiveness. Futile, because those who propagate it betray an absurd arrogance that they can defeat that which the tides of history have never been unable to - and will never. Self-destructive, because without the Jewish people humanity would never have evolved anywhere near where we are today.
So the only options are to freak out and get overwhelmed by all the hatred, or to put it in perspective and laugh at the mongrels who spew it. Freaking out about it never helped anyone. So we laugh, recognizing the absurdity of hate for what it is. And then, having delegitimized our enemies, we can fight back from a position strength, detached from their absurd reality, and proceed with our plans to conquer the world - because world domination is what the Jews are really after (didn’t your grandmother tell you?).
by Izzy Greenberg (Exodus Magazine)