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March 05, 1982 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-03-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Friday, March 5, 1982 7

Purim, Megilla Mean Laughter

(Continued from Page 1)
has been the visual delight
through the ages of looking
at and using a Scroll of
Esther, the best known of
all the five biblical scrolls.
The five — Song of Songs,
Lamentations, Ruth,
Ecclesiastes, Esther — are
found in the Ketuvim sec-
tion of the Bible. Each is
read on a particular holiday
or fast day during the year.
Only Esther must be read
from a scroll — for the
others it is merely optional.
Hence the Scroll of Esther,
because of its widespread
use and its well-known
story, became a scribal de-
light. In fact from the 16th
to the 18th Century, the
scroll itself became a fertile


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field for various forms of il-
lumination and miniature
drawings. That also
enhanced the delight of the
Purim festivities.
The regulations for
writing the Scroll of
Esther are similar to
those applied to the
preparation of a Torah
scroll. One major dif-
ference between the two
has to do with length; and
the second has to do with
the fact that the name of
God does not appear
even once in the book of
Esther, the only biblical
book for which this is the
The parchment used must
be made from portions of the
hide of a kosher animal
after it has gone through
various processes. The ink
with which the scribe writes
must be black and durable,
but not indelible.
In the process of writing
itself, the scribe puts aside
each parchment sheet (con-
taining several selections)
as it is completed, so that it
can dry properly. Then,
when he has completed the
entire Megillat Esther, he
sews together the various
pieces of parchment with
"giddin," thread made of
tendon tissue taken from
the foot muscles of a kosher
animal. He checks the scroll
thoroughly, and then it is
ready for use.
The Scroll of Esther pro-
vides the scribe with an in-
teresting challenge. The
word which appears most
frequently in the scroll is
"hamelekh," the king.
Therefore it has become a
custom for many
Ashkenazic scribes to pro-
duce what is known as a
Melekh Megilla. In it the
first word in each column of
text is "hamelekh," except
for the opening column and
a few columns at the end of
the scroll in which the word
"hamelekh" does not appear

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April 22, 1982

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Israeli security forces have
uncovered an Al Fatah ter-
rorist gang which operated
in the Jerusalem and Nab-
lus area.
A military spokesman
said last week that mem-
bers, of the gang were re-
sponsible for a grenade at-
tack outside the Old City of
Jerusalem last October in
which three Jews were
wounded, and for a grenade
attack last September in an
Old City alley in which two
Italian pilgrims were killed
and 27 wounded.
One member of the gang,
from East JerUsalem, con-
fessed during interrogation
to supplying grenades to
another terrorist gang in
Hebron and sabotage mate-
rial to gangs in refugee
camps in the Ndblus area.
The contact in the Nablus
area was apprehended and
during his interrogation he
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as frequently. To execute a
megilla where the initial
word of each column is al-
ways the same takes careful
planning. This ensures that
one does not end with an
extra word, which would
move everything out ofline.
The Megillat Esther went
through a stage between
1500 and 1800 when it was
illuminated and illustrated
with great artistry.
Stemming from Italy,
the cradle of the Renais-
sance, there are several
types of illuminated
scrolls. In one, the col-
umns of .. ext are adorned
with orr aments formed
from entwining ribbons
in brilliant colors. In an-
other type of scroll, the
opening section of the
text is fashioned into a
point into which is inter-
woven the coat of arms.
Possibly one of the most
interesting of megillot
comes from the ancient
Jewish community of Kai
Feng-Fu, where Chinese
Jews lived until their as-
similation into the popula-
tion during the 19th and
early 20th Century.
At the outset of the
megilla, classical Buddhist
and Confucian symbols are
depicted. Near the end of
the megilla there is a pic-
ture of an executioner in
Chinese dress and Chinese
children getting ready for
Purim and the festivities
connected with it. The late
Prof. Cecil Roth identified
this particular scroll.
Whether one owns an
Megillat Esther or just the
simple text, the story is still
the same — the Jews' strug-
gle for spiritual and physi-
cal survival. As long as we
realize that the struggle
must also be tempered by
laughter, then the message
of Purim will be clear and
the scroll of Esther, in
whatever format it is, will
have made its point.

Lawrence Jackier

Barbara Stollman

Dinner Chairmen

Rona Freedland

Barbara Cook

Susan Friedman

Dinner Committee

Rabbi Robert Abramson
Peter Alter
Jules Altman
Leonard Baron
Anaruth Bernard
Barbara Beznos
Norman Cohen
Gerald Cook
Amy Cutler
Mark Eichner
Robert Finkel
Herbert Freeland
Melvyn Friedman
Ellen Glen
Mark Goldsmith
Cheryl Guyer
Dan Guyer
Martin Hart

(in. formation)
David Hermelin
Doreen Hermelin
Rochelle Jackier
Jerome Kaufman
Stephen Klausner
Arlene Klein
Yale Levin
Robert Littky
Beverly Leutcher
Jack Liwazer
Aaron Lupovitch
Michael Maddin
Steve Medow
Allan Nachman
Judith Phillips
Julius Pollak
Emma Schaver
Neal Schechter

Sandra Schram
Phyllis Schwartz
Suretta Selik
Bluma Siegal
Rabbi Efry Spectre
Karen Spoon
Bernard Stollman
Alan Sussman
Charlotte Tessler
Warren Tessler
Arlene Tilchin
David Tisdale
Saul Waldman
June Weinberg
Melvin Weisz
Betsy Winkelman
Lawrence Zeff

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