Thursday, March 10, 2011

Purim: Why two dates for Purim this year AND what is Purim all about...the quick version

Princess of Persia (A Purim Story) from

More Torah cartoons at

 We talked about the Book of Ester this week even though we are past the celebration of Purim for Adar Aleph which was back on Feb. 18, 2011 ( Biblical accounting of time is based on the biblical sighting of the new moon and ripened barley IN ISRAEL...)    Because it was video that we caught on "" this week instead of our weekly Torah portion video and B'lynne Faith wanted to watch it over and over... There was a princess (queen) involved so you know my girl B'lynne Faith would love it!  We had fun with the video:)

Purim:  An Overview.

Purim is not considered by many to be a "commanded festival" however, as with all of the word of G*D, the Book of Esther is for our learning as the days of Purim may likely be "A shadow of things to come" so it is needful for us to hear and learn from this story...I hope you enjoy:)
Purim occurs on the 14th of Adar (This year is a Jewish Leap Year and Friday, February 18, 2011 was the holiday of Purim Katan, or Little Purim, which takes place on the 14th day of the month of "First Adar" - in Hebrew "Adar Aleph". (There are two months of Adar during the Jewish leap year: Adar Aleph and Adar Bet).  The little-known, yet important holiday of Purim Katan takes place seven times in the course of the 19-year cycle of regular and “pregnant” years (as Jewish leap years are referred to) that make up the Jewish Calendar.

In a leap year, Purim Katan is frequently overlooked by the popular Purim Festival, which takes place during the "Second Adar" - in Hebrew "Adar Bet".  
Following Purim Katan is Shushan Purim Katan, which begins Friday evening and falls on Shabbat--February 19, 2011. Shushan Purim is regularly celebrated on the 15th of Adar Bet.)
The main event of Purim is reading the Book of Esther. Set in Persia 2,300 years ago, the "Megillah" (as it is commonly called) recounts how a seemingly unrelated series of events spun together to save the Jewish people from annihilation. The quickie version is as follows:
When King Achashverosh throws a huge six-month party and the queen refuses to follow orders, she is replaced by a new queen – Esther the Jewess. Esther's uncle Mordechai, the leader of the Jews, uncovers a plot to assassinate the king -- putting him also in a favorable position with the king. All this comes in handy when Haman, the king's top advisor, obtains a decree to have all the Jews destroyed.
In the end, through a complex twist of events, Esther gets the decree reversed, Haman is hanged on the gallows, and Mordechai becomes prime minister.
The name Megillat Esther (Scroll of Esther or book of Esther) actually mean "revealing the hidden." Unlike every other book in the Bible, Megillat Esther never mentions God's name even once. The hidden hand of God is revealed through the maze of events. There are no coincidences.
Megillat Esther teaches us that life challenges work out for the best, because what appears as obstacles are really opportunities to develop ourselves for the better. And it all comes from God's invisible hand that guides our fate, every step of the way.

The message of the Book of Esther is that God is there even when He doesn’t seem to be there. God’s presence in History is felt not just when the sea splits or when divine fire descends upon a mountaintop in full view of an entire nation. These fireworks are nice, but they aren’t the be-all-and end-all of Divine influence in the world. God is present in the everyday workings of life and history as well.

.God’s Will is present not just when the laws of nature are suspended. To the contrary...(Click here to read more...)

 the very workings of these laws are manifestations of the Divine. Every time a falling body adheres to the inverse square law of gravitational attraction; every time molecules dissipate in space in consonance with the second law of thermodynamics; every time a river flows downstream – every time these things happen, God’s Will is done in the world. And so it is with history. It is not just when plagues free the slaves of Egypt that God works in history; God’s influence is more subtle than that. He can be present, mysteriously, in the smallest and least obtrusive of ways.
Chekhov once said that if a rifle lies above the mantle in Act I of a play, it had better go off before Act III. The mark of a good playwright is that no plot element is superfluous. Everything, ultimately, gets used. And the same goes for the Great Playwright in the Sky. Everything we humans do “gets used” in the play we call life. But not necessarily in the way we imagine, or design.
The king asks Haman how the man the king wishes to honor should be treated. Haman, thinking the king wishes to honor him, advises making a royal parade. Does that advice get used? It surely does. But it is used to honor Mordechai, not Haman. Haman constructs a gallows to hang Mordechai. Does that gallows get used? It certainly does. But not the way Haman imagined. He himself is hanged on those gallows.
We all have choices to make. The making of those choices is up to us human beings; that is how we cast our lots in life. But what happens after we cast our lot – that is no longer up to us. One of the messages of Purim, is that God is very much around, even when He remains behind the scenes. Without the fanfare of miracles, in the space between human choice and ultimate result, the Master of the Universe will yet have His say.

Excerpts taken from "Understanding Purim in 5 Minutes or less"  by Rabbi David Fohrman
And the ABC's of Purim by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

Some ways Purim is celebrated:

  • Reading the Megillah (Book of Esther)
  • Festivity and rejoicing (the Purim meal)
  • Sending food to friends (Mishloach Manot)
  • Giving gifts to the poor (Matanot La'evyonim)
 I hope you enjoyed this information and find that it is applicable to your life today...and
food for thought...history does repeat itself so look up some of the prophecies associated with the story of Purim that point to future events.
Blessings, Traci

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