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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Purim

Tonight starts the Jewish holiday of Purim:
Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.

The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.

The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them." Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.
Sarah Palin will be in Israel tomorrow, during the Purim festivities, which is causing quite a stir in Israel.

This video has gone somewhat viral, with over 500k plays on YouTube:

Also recommended, Purim 2011/5771 in Iran: A Call for the World to Do Something New .

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  1. Learn something every day. Happy Purim!!

  2. Sensible boys too. Not a glass of Mogen David (wine-flavored corn syrup) in sight. Everyone's drinking grape juice. I hope that doesn't break with any time-honored traditions.

  3. Everywhere in the world, including most of Israel, Purim began at sundown on Saturday night and ends after sundown on Sunday night.

    In Jerusalem however, Purim takes place one day later and begins at sundown Sunday and ends after sundown Monday.

    Governor Palin will join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for dinner in Jerusalem on Monday evening; The Purim dinner!

    "in deference to Jerusalem, the Sages determined that Purim would be celebrated on Adar 15 in all cities which had been enclosed by a wall at the time of Joshua’s conquest of the Land of Israel. This criterion allowed the city of Jerusalem to retain its importance for Jews, and although Shushan was not walled at the time of Joshua, it was made an exception since the miracle occurred there."


  4. I wish you a joyous holiday. Happy Purim!

  5. Two kinds of Jewish holidays. Sad kind where they almost got slaughtered and barely escaped. Happy kind where they almost got slaughtered and barely escaped.

  6. I've become a fan of the Maccabeats and I'm actually learning from these "kids"! haha. What a positive way to promote the faith, the culture and the cause. Thanks for sharing this. As for Palin, of course she'll cause a stir. I expect Palin-haters and Israel-haters to be shooting out their tv screens the world over! haha. And while it's certainly a day all Godly people should celebrate, it will be so much fun watching the academic elites and the godless pundits feverishly discrediting the meeting in every perverted way possible - irritating the Left is definitely something we can all celebrate! As a protestant Christian, I suppose the joy is of Purim is like the joy we feel at Easter - a feeling of hope and promise, maybe..? Anyway, I give the meeting my personal blessings, if for no other reason than as a gesture of the commitment American Christians feel in their hearts for Israel. But similar to this holiday, similar to our Easter holiday, we can certainly hope for escape from the current ruling class. Hope and pray.

  7. As we approach the celebration of Purim in the beginnings of the month of Adar, we must remember that this is the month of pure Joy and unbridled rapture over our connection with the Holy One, Blessed Be He, unified as one people with one mind, one heart and one soul. Understanding this beyond-nature Jewish unity is key to achieving the proper observance and intention in the celebration of Purim. At the time that the evil Haman made his decree to annihilate all Jews, this was the only time in our history that a descendent of Amalek actually had the ability to carry out such a horrific ruling because all of the Jewish people were living in exile in one realm. The people were unified to the extent that the evil Haman’s hatred of one Jew, Mordechai, was the same as hatred of all. Hence, the single heroic act of Esther inspired the Jewish Nation to make Teshuvah in unity as one body and one soul.

    Today, although we are spread out in all four corners of the Earth by Divine Providence, we are, once again, facing the same type of threat from the modern day Haman, the current prime minister of Persia threatening our Holy Land with nuclear weapons, G-d forbid. Thus, we need to surrender ourselves to the same Jewish unity that saved us before. And so we must remind ourselves this Purim that despite being spread all over the planet, we all live in exile in one realm—that of G-d’s Kingdom—with one mind, one heart and one soul, rejoicing over the fact that we are a Holy Nation unto G-d assured of our final redemption with Mashiach. May all of you experience the extreme Joy of a Freilicha Purim, to be blessed with G-d’s abundance and with good health; “For the Jews, there was light and joy, gladness and honor—so let it be with us.”