Prime Minister Netanyahu began his speech to Congress with a reference to the book of Esther – the book also known as the “Megillah” that we read on the holiday of Purim. In attempting to make the case for his controversial speech, Netanyahu implied that he was playing the role of the heroine of the story, Queen Esther, savior of the Jewish people. It sounds absurd, but he was quite serious.
In fact, the whole path leading up to the speech was a series of twists and turns that are nearly unbelievable, although they certainly fit the themes of intrigue and absurdity that characterize the Purim story. Indeed, the political circus surrounding the speech provided us with our very own “Purim spiel” - whether it was the spectacle of House Majority Leader John Boehner inviting a foreign head of state to come to Congress and attack the elected president of the United States, or Netanyahu’s flagrant efforts to exploit the invitation for his own electoral gains, or the entire history of Netanyahu’s gratuitous jabs at President Obama (nor his unmitigated chutzpah in pretending otherwise)!