Purim Kattan: Halachic Prerogative vs Today’s Reality in Israel

by, Moshe Burt

I’ll start by departing from norm and writing this in the first-person and by asking forgiveness in advance for the absolute bleakness of this piece. But if you don’t forgive me, well — that’s okay too! But I’m gonna say what needs to be said regardless of forgiveness, and regardless of who holds of me where because I see the below as true and accurate portrayal, on the whole, of the state of Am Yisrael today. What’s more, I can almost see R’ Meir Kahane writing precisely this.

I utterly REFUSE to attend either a Purim Kattan celebration — not a Friday morning Seudah (of course it must be held before Chatzot — before the afternoon, before Mincha), nor any of the Motsei Shabbos Purim Kattan celebration bashes featuring the big singing stars.

And how can one have a special Purim Kattan Seudah on Friday — Yud Daled, or a big, sumptuous Motsei Shabbos bash — under these circumstances where, right here in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef, there are seriously aggrieved?? Aggrieved who have been physically and emotionally abused domestically, raped — not of their bodies, but of all of their money, property and possessions, although according to the understanding of Yaakov who was accosted by Eisev’s son and who turned over his belongings to him, thus rendering himself as if dead — they might as well have been physically raped. Aggrieved parties who were swindled, forged and criminalized out of all of their possessions by their estranged spouses. Aggrieved who I know about and am in pain for and those whose plight has not come into my sphere of awareness, but who I know are out there — victimized not just by criminal spouses, but by the Israeli police, Israeli lawyers, the Israeli Rabbanut, and the ENTIRE Israeli “judicial(sic)” [oxymoron] system as well. Injured, aggrieved victims of domestic abuse, theft, fraud and multitudes of criminality who are brutalized by the Israeli police while the perpetrators dance free and who thumb their noses at Civil, Rabbinic Court Heskemim with immunity.

Damn it, all up and down in every sphere Israel, in dire need of oversight, judicial and administrative review and constant monitoring by consumer advocacy and women’s rights commissions with power and teeth to impose forced change.

And it goes beyond just the domestic. It gets to fraud, thievery, lack of morality and ethicacy — all up and down, upside-down, sideways and through — from business, from the banks, to city and national bureaucracies, to merchant/customer, employer/employee situations and relations. In short, as the saying goes; “There but for the grace of Hashem go I.” What ever happened to V’ahavta L’ra’echa Komocha? Am Yisrael collectively, one all-encompassing pervasive Cancerous rot.

After ranting on this to a friend, I got this response; “I think you have written a pretty good paraphrasing of Navi, actually… HaShem hates it too.”

And if it is such a Halachic imperative that every Jewish home have a special Purim Kattan Seudah, what about the Oni?? What about the aggrieved who have bankrupted themselves trying to gain recourse by way of countless, successive, morally and ethically derelict and malfeasant Israeli legal counsel against estranged, criminal spouses under the top-to-bottom, utterly corrupt Israeli legal, judicial and Rabbanut systems?

And why do we only collect for the Oni on actual Purim and just before Yom Tov? Aren’t these people just as needy of food and Seudahs throughout the year?? And why shouldn’t they be zocha to receive their aid in enough time prior to Purim so as to be able to shop and make their Seudat like mentchin, like those who have??

And I’ll again harken back to a rendering of Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 22, posukim 21-23 (pages 470-473) as well as commentary — both by R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman) which expresses true national unity and which seems symbolic of the spirit of sanctification of our national and private lives as well as dedicated to fulfillment of His Commandments:

Posuk 21: “You shall not let any widow or orphan feel their dependent state.”

Posuk 22: “Woe [to you] if you, too, should let them feel their dependent state! For if they must cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.”

Posuk 23: “And then My anger will grow hot and I will let you die by the sword, and then your wives will become widows and your children orphans.”

Stand up for them and uphold their rights…

And for those local leaders who stand by their Jewish brother’s blood and who turn a blind-eye and deaf ear to these aggrieved, in their “Halachic” rush to Purim Kattan celebrations, these profound words from a biographical sketch of the Aish Kodesh found in his Sefer Chovas HaTalmidim (by HaGaon Rav Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira), page 595:

The Rebbe would work tirelessly to obtain release of any of his chassidim who had been drafted into the Polish army, often disbursing great amounts of funds to bribe the Polish clerks. He would concoct many different schemes, and would not rest until the young man was released. He was once asked by one of his confidants why he put so much effort into this, to the point of self-sacrifice… Rav Kalonymous Kalmish responded:

“A Rebbe who is not willing to enter gehinnom in order to prevent one of his chassidim from sinking into the depths cannot consider himself a Rebbe.”

Well, I cannot bring myself to say “Chag Purim Kattan Same’ach.” Good Shabbos!


Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.