Laws and Customs of Purim

Laws and Customs of Purim (From Gateway to Judaism, Mordechai Becher, Mesorah-Artscroll) Purim is preceded by the Fast of Esther on the 13th of the Hebrew month of Adar (usually corresponding to late February or early March).  The fast begins at dawn and ends at night.  It commemorates the fact that Queen Esther and the Jews of her city fasted before she entered the king’s chambers to ask him for ...

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Very soon Jews all over the world will celebrate the festival of Purim. Our Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, and we were exiled to Babylon and Persia (modern day Iraq and Iran). Haman ascended to power under the Persian Empire and was at the peak of his political influence and wealth.  As we know, Haman hatched a plot to destroy all the Jewish people, something with ...

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry – We Almost Died

As we approach Purim, I cannot resist talking about this beautiful festival.  It is one of two festivals of the winter, Chanukah and Purim.  While the events of Chanukah were principally a threat to our spiritual survival, Purim recalls a threat to the physical existence of the Jewish people.  Haman attempted to physically destroy every Jewish man, woman and child.  We celebrate our deliverance from this threat with mitzvot that ...

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Haman’s Final Solution

One of the most ancient and persistent enemies of the Jewish people was the nation of Amalek, the first enemy to attack the Jews after the Exodus from Egypt.  A descendant of the Amalekites, Haman, had ascended to the position of “prime minister” of the Persian Empire.  This rabid anti-Semite planned an empire-wide pogrom to eliminate the Jewish people.  He chose the date for this mass murder by casting lots. ...

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