Jerusalem Unmasked

To what degree do people in Jerusalem take advantage of Purim as an opportunity to transcend social borders?

March 9, 2017 10:58
Purim Jerusalem

A Purim street party in Jerusalem’s Nahlaot neighborhood.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Gemara famously states in Tractate Megila that on Purim we should intoxicate ourselves until we can no longer tell the difference between the pious Mordecai and the malicious Haman. However, shortly after this instruction comes a lesser-known story.

The sage Raba, the Gemara tells us, invited Rabbi Zeira for a Purim feast. Overnight, Raba became so drunk that he slaughtered Rabbi Zeira. Come morning, Raba asked for mercy, and Rabbi Zeira was resurrected. The following year, Raba invited Rabbi Zeira again for the holiday’s festivities; this time, Rabbi Zeira refused, excusing himself by saying “One must not rely on miracles.”


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