Forget Shabbat!
Ignore Chanukah!
Skip Passover!


Celebrate Purim!




According to Jewish tradition, when the Messiah comes, EVERY Jewish holiday will disappear…except for Purim. Why? Because Purim is a holiday of pure joy, when we celebrate our essential Jewish identities. It is a time to take OFF our masks of assimilation and acculturation and to rejoice in our Jewishness.

The fact of the matter is that the story of Purim (as told in the Biblical book of Esther) is both complicated and problematic. Not only is it the only book of the Bible not to mention the name of God, a majority of scholars believe that it is not a true story at all. Perhaps it is allegory. Perhaps it is historical fiction. Perhaps it is the Judaization of a pagan tale. Perhaps it is meant to instruct the reader on behaviors and identities.


(If you want to know more about the story of Purim, join me on Wednesday10:00-11:30 am.During our weekly Bible study, we will explore the story of Purim and discover where it may have come from and what are the messages we learn.)

Regardless of its origin or purpose, today it has come to be a “moment” in the Jewish year. We have raucous fun dressing in costumes, holding carnivals, celebrating with drink and food.

But there are four mitzvot that are essential to Purim. And you can observe all of them.

The four are:

  1. read (or hear) the Megillah (the book of Esther)
  2. drink until you don’t know the difference between “blessed be Mordechai “and cursed be Haman
  3. shalach manot – sending gifts (of food) to others
  4. matanot le-evyonim – give gifts to the poor

On Wednesday evening and Thursday – the days on which Purim falls this year, consider fulfilling these four acts. How?

purimanimated2Glad you asked!

  1. Go to a Bible and find the Book of Esther. Read it. It will take about 15 minutes. Or go online. CLICK HERE for one translation. It really is an interesting story. Palace intrigue. Sex. Anti-semitism. Violence. Heroes and villians. It’s all there.
  2. Have a Purim party. Invite one, two, or a dozen friends over and celebrate. If you drink alcohol, break out a little and enjoy. (By the way, there are those authorities who say you should drink ONLY UNTIL IF YOU DRANK ANY MORE you could tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman. It is NOT a command to get drunk. It is a mitzvah to celebrate!)
  3. Put together one, two, a dozen bags of fruit, candy, cookies, hamentaschen and give them away. Drop one at your neighbor’s house or apartment. It doesn’t matter whether they are Jewish or not. Give one to your teacher, your co-worker, your postal worker. Give THEM something to smile about and enjoy.
  4. Feed the hungry. (see below to find out how….)

Purim is Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Halloween all rolled up into one festive day. Take a moment this Wednesday and Thursday and remember the lesson….

They tried to kill us.
They didn’t succeed.
Let’s eat.