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Purim

Purim is one of the most favorite holidays. On Purim we celebrate how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Persia from annihilation: The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.

Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther's cousin) defied the king's orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.

Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G?d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued—granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated.

On Purim we read the Ester Megillah twice, when Haman's name is mentioned is is customary to make noise with noisemakers (Raashanim). We also send food baskets to friends, we eat Hamantashen cookies (oznay haman) we have a festive meal (seudat purim) and we wear customs.

 

Last modified onMonday, 23 February 2015 14:58
More in this category: « Passover Lag Baomer »

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