Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The Scroll of Esther
Purim, the most joyous holiday on the Jewish calendar, is today at sunset! It commemorates the victory of the Jews over Persia's strongman Haman, whose plan was to exterminate the entire Nation of Israel.

And how ironic it is that Israel finds itself surrounded by modern day "Hamans", openly calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

The current Hebrew month of Adar (אֲדָר) is known to be the happiest month of the Hebrew calendar. As Adar enters, we increase in happiness! Adar marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
The Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire were almost annihilated at the hands of the minister Haman. Haman persuaded the emperor, King Ahasuerus(אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ), to command the killing of all the Jews of his kingdom. The “submissive” queen Esther was able to change the king’s mind so the Jews were eventually rescued and were given more rights from the king. Haman, on the other hand, found himself hung from a tree with all his sons. 

The day of extermination turned to be the day of deliverance and the salvation, a day of joy and festivity. 

The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. (Esther 8:16)

Since then, we celebrate Purim with much happiness and festivity, fulfilling the biblical commands of Reading the Megila (the book of Esther), sending gifts to friends, giving charity to the poor, and eating a festive meal. Throughout the years many other customs were added, such as masquerading, making noise with a rattle called Ra’ashan (רַעֲשַׁן) each time Haman is mentioned while reading the Megila, and eating Hamantash (אָזְנֵיהָמָן, ozney haman) – a three-cornered pastry shaped like the ears (or the hat) of the wicked Haman.

No comments: