All about the Benjamins: Ilhan Omar and Purim Katan, Adar I, 2019

Congresswoman's anti-Semitic tweets, when put in historical context, seem to be a modern version of the Megillah narrative. And we all know how that ended.

Rabbi Michoel Green, | updated: 22:05

Rabbi Michoel Green
Rabbi Michoel Green
INN:Layle Gurewicz

Did you know that Purim is quite literally "all about the Benjamins?"

Yes, Omar* is 100% right. It’s indeed all about the Jews and their "Benjamins.”

Still, a bit of historical context is in order:

Three and a half centuries before common era, Jews were in a precarious state. Antisemitism was rising everywhere. It had been barely seventy years since the previous horrific destruction of Jewish civilization during which time Jews had been murdered by the millions. But alas, just a few decades later, just about everyone had forgotten. Hatred of Jews was once again on the rise.

The superpower nation forbade Jews from returning to their Temple Mount, and all the Jewish lobbyists’ pleas to fortify and secure their ancestral homeland fell on deaf ears. Jews were seen as foreign occupiers, not just in Israel, but throughout the Diaspora too.

To make matters worse, an immensely wealthy individual rose to power as a result of his extensive lobbying efforts.  His anti-Israel position gained legitimacy in the eyes of the public due to his power and prestige. Everyone bowed deferentially to this unsavory fellow, and no one dared call him out for his antisemitic rhetoric.

That is, almost everyone. One individual refused to kneel to this corruption...

A Benjamin!

That's right, a Jewish man who hailed from the Tribe of Benjamin, who had survived the bloody Babylonian shoah seventy years earlier. Yes, this Benjaminite boldly walked the streets of the capital of mightiest nation on earth, unfazed and undaunted by the powerful antisemitic lawmaker. This Jewish Benjaminite proudly called Jerusalem his home, even though it wasn’t politically correct. Needless to say, the Benjamin stood defiantly and refused to bow. He also lobbied tirelessly to acknowledge the Jews’ eternal right to Jerusalem.**

Of course, all this enraged the antisemite and his powerful faction to no end. After much lobbying efforts, the Jew-hater was appointed to chair the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. Of course, his first legislation was to stymie all the Benjamin’s pro-Israel efforts at reestablishing the Jewish capital in Jerusalem. The new lawmaker effectively halted all (of what he called) “illegal settlement expansions.” But that was just the beginning. From there, he continued his dazzling ascent in Persian politics.

As he reached the upper echelons of power, he used his wealth to influence the government to marginalize the Jews further and single them out for intense hyper-focused and myopic criticism.

"We gotta deal with this Jewish problem,” he said. “These Jews and their Benjamin lobbyists have hypnotized the world. They don’t have the interest of this great nation in mind, they’re not loyal to the laws of the land,” he insisted, “and all they care about is their illegal occupation in Jerusalem.”

The executive listened intently as the powerful anti-Israel lobbyist spelled out his plan.

“Let’s boycott, divest and sanction them!” he urged. “There’s nothing wrong with doing that. We’d be simply exercising our Persian freedom of speech. Surely that will beat them to submission!”

“Anyway, they’re divided and at odds with each other,” he added. “They’re polarized between right and left. They don’t care about each other. Just wait… I bet you a bunch of them will naively embrace our devious BDS efforts in attempt to appear more ‘objective’ and ‘progressive.’ They won’t even care that it unfairly targets their own coreligionists. What fools!”

“They don’t deserve to exist anyway,” he continued. “They have dual loyalties. They control government, the economy, media, entertainment, even sports! They have their slimy tentacles in everything.  Who needs them?”

The executive nodded in tacit agreement, so the ambitious antisemitic lobbyist took it one step further.

“Let’s eliminate them entirely!” he insisted. “That will save us all the BDS effort. Let’s just cut to the chase.”

“They deserve to be liquidated anyway,” he added, “since it’s all part of the cycle of violence. How dare they violate international law with impunity? Who do they think they are?”

“They don’t deserve to be humanized at all!” he railed. “Those privileged white Jews, they are the enemy of all us brown underprivileged Asians. They stole all our privileges. They expropriated us. Time to eliminate them all, for the good of the state! For the good of humanity!"

“No one will care about their deaths,” he asserted. "It won't even be newsworthy. Just watch! I'll go out and lynch one and leave him hanging in my front yard, on a gallows 50 meters high in broad daylight! I bet you not one single mainstream Persian news site will even carry the story. Since when does anyone care about a few dead Jews?"

The commander-in-chief still wasn't convinced. "But what if the story leaks out somehow?" he asked nervously. "Won't that tarnish my reputation?"

"Don't worry about a thing," replied the seasoned antisemite. "If that happens, we'll just blame it all on the occupation, THEIR occupation. Remember, they’re ‘settlers,’ not humans. They don’t deserve to exist.”

The executive hesitated to go that far. “But what will we do without all those tax-paying Jews? We need all their Jewish Benjamins to offset our deficit,” he countered.

“No worries, Mr. Emperor,” the lobbyist said, pulling out an astronomical sum of money that amounted to many billions of dollars by today’s standards. "Use this for anything you’d like. Build another wall around our capital with it. Build ten walls with it. It’s all yours, sir. Just let me deal with our annoying Jewish problem.”

Just one glance at that huge wad of "Persian Benjamins" (buldging out from his stuffed briefcase) was enough.

The executive promptly declared a state of emergency and gave the lobbyist executive powers.

Not surprisingly, the JPA (Jewish Problem Act) was signed into law within minutes, without a single word of dissent from the ruling party. They all turned a blind eye because, you know, party loyalty.

To make matters worse, all 127 member states of the imperial United Nations unanimously voted to uphold the edict.

“Jewishness is racism,” they shrieked in uncharacteristic unison, “it’s Apartheid!” and proceeded to pass 127 resolutions in condemnation of Israel.

“Israel is the very worst offender of every crime on earth!” they thundered. “Jewishness shall cease to exist” they ordered.

The Jews’ fate was sealed. Their proverbial goose was cooked.

But just as all hope was lost, another fearless Benjamin saved the day.

This time, it was a beautiful young female, a direct descendant of the first monarch of Israel, who hailed from the tribe of… you guessed it, Benjamin!

Fearless and bold like her fellow-Benjamin cousin, but far more astute and creative, she proposed an appropriate Jewish response to the dire decree:

“Our vicious enemy invokes our divisions and polarity,” Ms. Benjamin observed. “So let’s strengthen our unity! Go out and gather all the Jews. All of them. The far-right-wingers and the far-left-wingers, the ultra-religious and the ultra-secular, and everyone in between. The old, the young, males, females, hermaphrodites, all identities and affiliations. Bring them all together, right here, in the capital city, for three whole days. And pray, fast, bond with one another. Forget about our divisions, our differing appetites, opposite preferences or opinions, our material differences... Let's just focus on what unites us… we are all Jews!”

“And I..." she declared with tears in her Benjaminte eyes, "I shall risk my life for my people. I’ll stand up to that cowardly anti-Semite. His billions and his power don’t intimidate me at all. Nor am I frightened by the inherent danger of entering the capitol uninvited and standing up for the truth. Even if I am destroyed, it will have been for a just cause. Pray for me.”

Inspired by her wisdom and self-sacrifice, her cousin readily agreed to organize the three-day vigil.

Well, the rest is history. The young Benjamin woman successfully lobbied for an opportunity to address the executive in the presence of the Jew-hating lawmaker, and after several attempts, finally confronted him! She fearlessly called him out for his atrocious antisemitism!

Sanity prevailed! The anti-Semite was executed on the very gallows he had prepared for the Benjamin pro-Israel lobbyist whom he'd so abhorred.

Due to intense and selfless lobbying efforts of the two Benjamin cousins, the Jews were finally given full permission to defend themselves against all anti-Israel terrorists, in Israel and abroad. A great battle ensued, but fortunately, at the end, all the terrorists were slain.

Several years later, the pro-Israel lobby finally succeeded in prevailing upon the government to allow Israel to reestablish its capital and Temple Mount!

(Parenthetically, it was the next executive of Persia who sanctioned that move. Some historians believe that this successor was actually the son of the brave Benjaminite woman herself. If that’s true, then he was a descendant of Benjamin too, which gives deeper meaning to the phrase, “It’s all about the Benjamin Baby.”)

Well anyway, I hope you enjoyed my history lesson.

The main takeaway is: don’t mess with Jews and definitely don’t mess with their Benjamins.

Let’s reaffirm our unity and we’ll certainly prevail, just like in times of yore. בימים ההם בזמן הזה

The other takeaway is: celebrate Purim!

It's all about those Benjamins. And all other Judeans too.

Happy Purim Kattan!***

See you next month in shul (March 20 and 21) as we relive and celebrate the miraculous story of these heroic Benjamins!


Notes:

* It must be pointed out that “Omar” means to say. While she might not be a Haman herself, she certainly “says” the same types of things that Haman says. Not sure if a simple apology is enough. Seems like she needs to be deprogrammed (or at least rehabilitated) from some rather hideously Hamanistic indoctrination.

** See Yalkut Shimoni Amos 545. See also https://dafyomi.co.il/parsha/purim2.htm

*** This year is a leap-year with two months of Adar. As such, the fourteenth of Adar I (February 19-20, 2019) is called "Purim Kattan" (literally the "Miniature Purim"), and the 14th of Adar II (March 20-21) is celebrated as the regular Purim.


**** Bet you didn't know that my middle name is Benjamin!

Let's celebrate all the heroic Jewish Benjamins! Happy Purim!





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