Purim: What Purim Can Teach Us About Fake News



We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about “fake news.” It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is accusing someone else of being untruthful. And things seem to be getting more muddled by the minute. Take the most recent accusations that the Trump administration’s colluded with the Russians, and the counter-accusations of illegal wiretapping and leaking information. Who is telling the truth, if anybody?

This is especially unsettling in a world such as ours, undergoing much upheaval and confusion. How can we make sense of the world around us if we don’t know who to turn to for the facts? How can we find guidance, clarity, direction in the storm of growing schisms in the U.S. and abroad? How do we filter all the information and misinformation and discern what is really going on in the world?

Purim provides us with the answer. Throughout history the Purim narrative empowered the Jewish people to never take the ostensible “facts” for granted, no matter who tells them to you and no matter how things appear. Rather, we always look for the inside story – the story behind the story.

The mystery of G-d name not mentioned in the Purim Megillah, the reason why we wear costumes on Purim, the elusive search for truth, the story of Pravda and Emes (two Russian newspapers ironically asserting that they are offering the truth), peppered with a powerful anecdote from Zhou Enlai and the unique role of Jews – reminds us (Zachor) of the secret to our survival.

It teaches us – a lesson relevant today more than ever – how to see through the fogs of deception and untruth; how to view times of upheaval and uncertainty beyond their face value; how to tap into the deeper reality of the situation in which we find ourselves, globally and personally, and see the bigger picture.


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