Purim <br>(Feast of Lots)

(Feast of Lots)

What is Purim?

Purim is the first of the Spring feasts. It is a one-day holiday that marks the salvation of the Jewish People from an evil plot to eradicate the community. God’s name is never mentioned, but His hand and guidance are evident in the plight of the Jewish people.

The traditional Jewish calendar is based on a lunisolar calendar, with 354 days. This means that while Jewish holidays are observed on the same date every year according to the Jewish calendar, these dates vary on the Gregorian calendar. The celebration of this date falls somewhere between the last week of February through the End of March.

Follow the link for future dates of this Feast Day: https://www.infoplease.com/calendars/holidays/jewish-holidays

The Meaning of Purim

Casting Lots

Purim literally means “lot”, which is a form of chance or fate. Ancient cultures would often use casting lots to determine the divine will in a given situation. The result of a casting lot was considered to be the divine response to the situation or question they were considering because the outcome was determined at random.

The Plan

The story of Purim is told in the Bible’s Book of Esther. Three to five hundred years B.C, a Jewish community flourished in Persia. The king banished his queen for failing to obey his every command, then married a new bride, Esther. Esther was told to keep her Jewish faith a secret by her cousin, Mordecai. When Mordecai refused to bow down before Haman, a royal official, Haman plotted to kill all the Jews as revenge. He and his officials joined to develop a plan to rid themselves of the Jews, and they “cast Pur” to choose the date to carry out their plan. The lot was cast to the 13th day of Adar, the 12th month in the Jewish calendar.

The Rescue

Mordecai discovers this plot and persuades Queen Esther to risk her life by going to the king without being summoned and revealing her faith. She requested that her people join her in 3 days of prayer and fasting. On the 3rd day, Queen Esther went before the king, inviting him and Haman to a great feast. It was at this banquet that she revealed that she was a Jew and persuaded the king to allow the Jews to defend themselves against Haman’s plot. The Jews defeated the assassins, Haman was executed, and Mordecai was appointed to take his place.

The Celebration

Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar (typically in March).  It is a celebration of God’s faithful protection of his people. It is a joyous day filled with fun, laughter and merriment. The most common customs followed are:

  • Fasting the day before (the Fast of Esther)
  • The Four Purim Mitzvahs
    • Reading or hearing the Megillah (Book of Esther)
    • Giving to the poor and needy
    • Sending Food Gifts to Friends
    • Feasting – fasting is prohibited
  • Other customs include:
    • Re-enactments or plays of the Story of Esther
    • Dressing up in costumes
    • Eating Haman’s ears – triangular cookies with various fillings
    • Parades (Adloyada)

Just like in the story of Esther, God’s hands and guidance are often working in our lives. We are protected by his love and faithfulness. Take this day to celebrate a time God has rescued or protected you.

Chag Purim sameach or Happy Purim!

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Romans 10:15

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