Getting ready for Purim: Padre Ryan and Rabbi Danzinger team up for the Jewish holiday

Article / March 21, 2017

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By Captain Jonathan Link, 4th Canadian Division Public Affairs

Toronto, Ontario – ­After receiving donations to be distributed to soldiers across Ontario, 4th Canadian Division Chaplains Captain Lazer Danzinger and Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Ryan decided to share the workload. Last week, they spent an afternoon assembling food and gift packages destined for Jewish soldiers, public service employees and veterans for the holiday of Purim which was celebrated on Sunday, March 12th, 2017.

Purim marks the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia. Over 2,300 years ago, Haman, a wicked but highly influential advisor to the Persian King, sought to annihilate the Jewish people. Through the intervention of Mordechai and his courageous niece Esther, who was married to the King, the Jewish people were miraculously saved.

In modern times, Purim is commemorated by readings, giving charity to the needy and food to friends, and by holding a feast.

During the festive meal celebrating the divine deliverance, alcoholic beverages are customarily consumed. According to tradition, participants are encouraged to imbibe until the difference between ‘cursed be Haman and blessed be Mordechai’ cannot be discerned.

Rabbi Danzinger, the Canadian Armed Forces’ first Regular Force Jewish chaplain since the Second World War, explains one deeper explanation of this goal: “Our celebration should uplift us to an awareness of the importance of not simply recognizing and neutralizing negative influences in our lives but transforming these influences so that they are positive, and foster our spiritual growth.”

Presumably, understanding this spiritual aim negates any requirement to drink to excess and no alcohol was packaged along with the edible treats and noise makers mailed out by the Division. Though the gifts were appreciated by many, Rabbi Danzinger is very grateful for the incredible support he receives from the chaplaincy service and his chain of command for these initiatives.

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