On Feb. 25, a neo-Nazi group waged a worldwide “Day of Hate” dedicated to terrorizing Jews in neighbourhoods, places of worship, and schools. Here in Canada, despite copious previous public statements about Holocaust remembrance by public school boards and other institutions around the country, political leaders either ignored the day completely or, as was the case with a small group of Conservative MPs earlier in the week, chose to meet and photograph themselves with German neo-Nazis, apparently unknowingly. What does it mean to live in a society that recognizes hate and yet, actively, almost ritualistically, entrenches its roots? Jewish tradition provides sound insight. The upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim occurs in the most joyful month of the Jewish calendar. It is a mingling of opposites. Jews make cookies (hamantaschen) in the likeness of a genocidal court adviser. The hero of the story, Queen Esther, is a victim of sexual trafficking, living in harem. Some people follow the custom of drinking on the holiday until they cannot distinguish between cursing the genocidal court adviser and toasting the vigilant bystander who thwarted the evil plot. If we are to combat hatred in our midst, we must drop our polite illusions and pithy public statements about being or doing better. For no matter the global haze of injustice, each of us is soberingly responsible for intervening to save the other. And so, we must do the hard work of linking existing oppressions, antisemitism, sexual violence, brutal poverty, and other forms of racism. It is only when we deny nothing and face everything that we can change the direction of our topsy-turvy society. And like the children in Missouri last week who fought bans on their bodies and lives by advocating to politicians and subsequently making Purim cookies, we must find it in ourselves to write our own unscripted endings and embrace the resulting, paradoxical, life-saving joy. Devon Spier is a rabbinic student living in Kitchener, Ont.