The biblical story of Purim, as related in the Book of Esther, has long puzzled scholars, rabbis and readers. The name of God isn’t mentioned anywhere in the story, which tells a tale of palace intrigue, principled defiance of megalomania and Jewish reluctance to stand tough until it was almost too late.
Reckless Rites is a well-honed distillation of Professor Horowitz’s previously published work (mostly in Hebrew) on the topic, which examines the history of Jewish/non-Jewish relations carefully and thoroughly mulls over the issue of how the need for reasonable Jewish toughness has helped preserve Jewish life in many trying times and circumstances. The author is co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review and associate professor of Jewish history at Israel’s Bar Ilan University. Abbreviations, biblio., index.