Celebrating Under the Influence

One of the most peculiar laws of Purim is the obligation to drink wine, and even become intoxicated.  As the Talmud states, “A person is obligated to become inebriated on Purim, until he does not know the difference between ‘Blessed is Mordechai and cursed is Haman.’”  Excessive drinking is frowned upon by Jewish law, yet here it appears that the law specifically advocates drinking.  Clearly, a person may not become ...

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Survivor, Persia!

We will be celebrating the festival of Purim very soon, so I would like to give you an overview of the history, background and significance of this festival.  The Purim story begins about 900 years after the Exodus from Egypt.  The Jews had been living in Israel continually, since they first entered with Joshua.  For 410 years, King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem had been the focal point of Jewish spiritual ...

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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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