THE HISTORY OF PURIM

Danger in Exile

Jewish morale was at an all time low. The temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, the nation conquered and, for almost 70 years, had been dispersed in foreign lands. The prophesied end of Exile had not yet materialized and the blight of assimilation had set in.

Just then the enemy arose to carry out his evil plans. This time it was Haman. Descended from the Jew-hating tribe of Amalek, Haman devised his scheme to solve the “Jewish problem” once and for all, by annihilating every Jew: men, women and children throughout the world, in a single day.

Rallying the Jews

And it almost worked. If not for Mordechai, a descendant of King Saul and advisor to King Achasverosh. Mordechai sensed the danger. Donning sackcloth and ashes, he went to the gate of the palace, crying aloud, rallying the Jews to return to Torah true Judaism.

His niece, Queen Esther, called for him. He told her that she must go to the king and plead for her people. Officially in disfavor, she feared to go, but saw that she had no choice. She undertook a three-day fast of penitence and called upon the whole Jewish people to do likewise. Then she went to the king ...

Victory

It is a story of great courage and self-sacrifice: first and foremost by Queen Esther and Mordechai and ultimately by the whole Jewish nation. For throughout the duration of the whole year, not one single Jew chose to convert, even to save his life. The nation was awakened to a whole-hearted return to Torah and Mitzvot and throughout the year strengthened their faith and observance.

And in the merit of this, they were able to rise up against their enemies and overpower them, on the 13th of Adar, the very day destined for their annihilation.

The Jewish people revealed their true character which brought about their return to the Holy Land and rebuild the Temple.  As it was in those days, so may it be with us.

 

The Final Redemption

Our sages tell us that when Moshiach comes, although many of the Jewish festivals will no longer be celebrated, the “Yom Tov” of Purim will still be celebrated throughout the Jewish nation.

We all look forward to the speedy and ultimate redemption through Moshiach, and as the Rebbe pointed out the imminence of the revelation of Moshiach, may we celebrate Purim this year, all together, in Jerusalem, our holy city, forever.

 

THE MITZVOT OF PURIM

 

          Purim is the festival, which commemorates the breath-taking victory over the murderous designs of Haman. Observed on the fourteenth of Adar, this joyous festival reveals the hidden hand of G‑d in the events of man. It is a day to be celebrated by the entire family – not only adults and boys and girls past Bar/Bat Mitzvah, but youngsters too should be encouraged to fulfill the mitzvot of Purim.

            Here are the details of the Mitzvot of Purim, their significance and how to do them.

Listen To the Megillah

Megillah Reading (125x125)To relive the miraculous events of Purim, we listen to the reading of the Megillah (the scroll of Esther) on Wednesday evening, February 28th, at 6:45 pm at the family party and again at 8:00 PM, and again on Thursday morning, March 1st, 7:25 am. Whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, we: twirl graggers (noise makers) and stomp our feet to “drown out” his evil name. Tell the children Purim is the only time when it’s a mitzvah to make noise!

 

Send Gifts of Food

Megillah Reading (125x125)On Purim we emphasize the importance of Jewish unity and friendship by sending gifts of food to friends. Send a gift of at least two kinds of ready-to-eat foods (i.e. pastry, fruit, and beverage) to at least one friend on Thursday, March 1st, during the daytime. It is proper that men send to men and women to women. Sending these gifts should be done through a third party. Children, in addition to sending their own gifts of food, make enthusiastic messengers.


Eat
the Festive Meal

Festive Table - MuchnikAs on all festivals, we celebrate Purim with a special festive meal on Thursday, March 1st, during the daytime, when family and friends gather together to rejoice in the Purim spirit. Please join us for the JRCC Purim Banquet. Contact us to reserve your seat.

 

Give Gifts to the Needy

Pushkah (small)Concern for the needy is a year-round responsibility for the Jew. On Purim, particularly, it is a special mitzvah to remember the poor. Give charity to at least two, but preferably more needy individuals on Thursday, March 1st, during the daytime. Giving directly to the needy best fulfills the mitzvah. If however, you cannot find poor people, place at least several coins into “pushkas” (charity boxes). Even small children should fulfill this mitzvah.