What is Purim? Purim is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated exactly four weeks before Passover. It is based on the story told in the Book of Esther and offers an ancient blueprint for that age-old scourge, Jew hatred or anti-semitism. We read in the Book of Esther Chapter 3:1:
3:8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. 3:9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. 3:10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.
The rest of of the story recounts the escape from this cruel fate by the actions of Esther who manages to sway the king and acquire the right for the Jews to defend themselves. Those who attack the Jews are killed but the Jews do not touch their spoils. (Verses 9: 1 – 9:16) The Rabbis thought long and hard about whether to include this text in the Jewish cannon. and in our own time Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, the former chief Rabbi of England admits that he always wondered “Why is this book worthy of celebration.” And celebration indeed marks this holiday more than any other: Children and adults dress up in disguise, food and drinks are passed form neighbour to neighbour.
Play and laughter, food and drink is the order of the day. Here are some recent pictures posted to my facebook page from our recent Purim holiday which took place last Sunday.
Rabbi Jonathon Sacks says, “It is important to celebrate because here is an instance where Jews overcame their enemies and were victorious, and this is worthy of celebration.
And here is my favorite Purim video for this year – Move Like Graggers Remix (Purim Song) by Temple Israel, West Bloomfield, Michigan
How many Purim themes can you name here?