Open Orthodox Clergyman Yanklowitz Calls Megillas Esther “Political Satire”

44 has reported in the past about the shenanigans of Shmuly Yanklowitz, an Open Orthodox rabbi and dean of the Valley Beit Midrash in Phoenix, Arizona.

Yanklowitz, who founded the Uri L’Tzedek Orthodox Social Justice organization, had deviated from the mesorah in the past. Now, he’s taking aim at Megillas Esther, calling it “mere religious imagination or political satire.”

On Facebook yesterday, Yanklowitz wrote: “The only way I can morally justify reading Megillat Esther as a religious experience on Purim (given verses 8:11 & 9:16) is to assume the text is mere religious imagination or political satire (not history) emerging from a culture of powerlessness (just enough power to evoke such a violent imagination). Celebrating the story as actual history seems even more problematic today in an era of Jewish sovereignty with unprecedented military strength. How do others grapple with this?”

Afra lepumei.

{ Newscenter}


  1. As the Chofetz Chayim said: When one has emunah there are no questions; without emunah there are no answers. We don’t “grapple” with this question as we are true believers.

  2. So what is the real Megillah story Poshit Pshat?. Could it Could it be a story about a Tzadik not wanting to bow to a Tzelem? Not even one word of a Tzelem is mentioned in the Pesukim,
    A bit further, “Vlo Kom Vlo Zoh Mimenu”, here Mordechai refrained from just greeting him. Why?

  3. Why do you keep giving this guy coverage. He’s just another nobody. Shmuly, I can recommend a good doctor to help you grapple with your issues.

  4. Why give a kofer in Tanach a place to spread his rhetoric? Matzav is giving him what he craves. He is a craven, attention-seeking grandstander , al pi derech of his rabbi muvhak, Avi Weiss.

  5. WHO CARES? Please stop giving this moron and his moronic ideas attention. What are you trying to accomplish? To let us know that some people in the open orthodox community twist the torah? We are all well aware. You might as well put this: Breaking: Neo-Nazi still hates jews!
    Why are you even acknowledging this guys opinion? Hes a nobody!

  6. Why even bring anything form chovevei torah it’s conservative Judaism and bringing them shows importance they are disraceful

  7. I don’t understand where Matzav gets a hettur to publish what this guy has to say? Would you of published what Moses Mendelssohn had to say, back in the 1700’s?

  8. Can anyone explain to us, since these people, movments, dont believe in torah min hasomayim, oral law…what are they practicing? Its thier own hobby doing what feels good and transgressing what they dont agree ,so name it some private social club?

  9. of what interest is it to us, ehrlicher yidd,en to know what pope john, cardinal cushing ,jack yankelowitz , avi weiss have to say about our shulchen urech, which inncludes written and oral torah

  10. There is not such a big Tayna on him. I am don lecaf zechus that he is serious issues which makes him halucinate.
    By why in the world would the editors publish such kefirah.
    You are publishing pure kefira.
    Why are you giving legitmacy to pure and unedulterated faleshoods?
    This does not belong on ANY website that claims to be jewish, let alone one that claims to represent bnei torah.
    No-one is interested in
    *Staements from Avi Weiss and those of his ilk.
    *Stuff on Toeiva people.
    *Loshon Hora
    You need to stick to your principals. When in doubt consult Daas Torah. Your achrayus is very great !
    Thanks in Advance

  11. I would guess that Matzav continues to publish articles about him, because Matzav is trying to continue to show the world that this person is not a Rabbi, and that his views are not representative of Judaism, whatever he calls himself – “Open Orthodox” or anything else.

  12. רָשָׁע מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם? לָכֶם ולֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת־עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל, כָּפַר בָּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת־שִׁנָּיו, וֶאֱמָר־לוֹ: בַּעֲבוּר זֶה, עָשָׂה יְיָ לִי, בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָֽיִם, לִי וְלֹא־לוֹ. אִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל:

  13. The problem is open orthodoxy does not redeem. That way, the megillah is not positive.

    This is why open orthodoxy is itself a political snake.

    We can expect this shenanigan. It tells us true orthodoxy must be protected.


  14. A great scholar said: Just as there is no limit to the heights of wisdom a talmid chochom can achieve, so there is no limit to the abyss of am-ha’aratzus. I think we are seeing a new level of the latter that has not been seen before.
    It is painful to read of such abuse of our great sages. It is like violence that sickens one who sees it.

  15. Matzav is publishing it because MATZAV gets publicity. That’s only reason I can think of… let see if you publish this comment.

  16. If he wasn’t such an am haaretz he would have had a problem with Torah Shebiksav as well; milchamas midyan the 7 nations of cannan etc. Afra L’pumei

  17. This guy represents himself as Orthodox and has a very large following leading many astray. Kudos to Matzav for standing up to him.

  18. He will defend himself by saying that he doesn’t chas v’shalom doubt the mesorah, etc. but he’s deliberately being ironic and disruptive to get reactions from the people who he’s trying to reach. Who are not solid in their beliefs b’ruach Yisrael Saba but who need outreach and chizuk and honest discussion.

    At least that’s what he (or it may have been one of his colleagues, I don’t remember) said on the Headlines interview.


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