Celebrate Purim! March 21, 2019 (Adar, 5779)
Next Purim: March 10, 2020
Purim is not considered a major feast since it was instituted after God gave The Law to Moses. This is also true of Hanukkah. But Purim is the only Jewish Feast that is drawn from an entire book of the traditional Christian canon (the book of Esther). The story of Esther, her righteous Uncle Mordecai, and the villainous Hamen, has captivated people's imaginations for as long as the Jewish people have been celebrating this joyful feast.
Purim is an unusual Jewish feast due to the inherent irony and humor in the story. While all Judaic observances of Purim are joyful, some groups take the command to a celebratory mood to extremes completely out of character for any other religious event in Jewish life. Children's plays and humorous skits, wearing costumes and masks, the "telling of the whole Megillah," the use of raucus noise makers called "groggers" and a delicious triangular pastry called "Hamantashen" (Haman's hats) are all a part of the joyful festivities. Many in Judaism see these unusual measures as in keeping with the "topsy turvy" theme of the Purim story.
Purim Study: Rev. Huckel, Director
The celebration known as Purim (which literally means, “Lots”) from the book of Esther is a sarcastic reminder of the folly of a Persian prince named Haman who made a very serious error in judgment when he tried to eradicate Esther’s uncle (Mordecai the Jew) and all the Jewish people living in Persia during their first dispersion. The manner in which Haman decided the "BEST" day to slay the Jewish people was determined through casting “pur” (an ancient form of dice). It's the irony of Haman being hung on the very gallows that he built to hang Mordecai the Jew which is being mocked by naming the festival after the instruments (i.e. the “Purim”) Haman used to select the perfect day.
Cursings and Blessings
The whole point of the book of Esther comes down to the simple fact that the man who intended to hang Mordecai the Jew ends up getting the same curse he intended to give (Est 7:10a, 9:13): Est 7:10a So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Est 9:13 Then said Esther, 'If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.' And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons.
Jer 30:16-17 Therefore, all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. (cf. Isa 49:24-26, 51:22-23, 54:15-17)