Celebrate Purim! March 23, 2024 (Adar, 5784)
With the heinous attacks in Israel October 7, 2023, the Feast of Purim, about a king duped into annihilating the Jewish people in Persia, takes on even greater modern importance. The often repeated vow of Jewish people of "Never again!"" came crashing down in pieces as the terrors of that horrific day unfolded. Jewish people, have, in fact, identified it as a 21st century pogrom.
While Purim is not considered a major feast since it was instituted after God gave The Law to Moses (also true of Hanukkah although Jesus celebrated it). 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, in spite of dark subject matter and themes. 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.