It is almost Purim! After the cold of winter and the first signs of Spring — right before the “Spring Festivals” — we have Purim. It is not one of the Mo’edim, the Appointed Times of Leviticus 23, but it is in the Scriptures.
Actually, it makes total sense that we don’t see Purim in the Torah. The events that it commemorates did not take place until after the wilderness, after the judges, after the Kingdom of Israel and the splitting of the Kingdom into Judah and Israel, after the captivity of Israel and even after Judah was taken away to captivity in Babylon. The holiday of Purim is recorded for us in the Book of Esther. It marks another miraculous redemption of HaShem’s people from enemies who sought to wipe them out.
Purim is celebrated on the 14th of the month of Adar in the Hebrew Calendar. In some years, like 2019, the Hebrew Calendar has two months of Adar. This is a leap year and, instead of twelve months, there are thirteen months and the extra month is Adar II. In a leap year, Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar II. This year, it starts on the evening of Wed, Mar 20th and ends on the evening of March 21st.
Purim is not a special Shabbat, but there are some activities that are derived from the instructions of Mordecai and Esther from the end of the book of Esther:
Mordecai recorded these events and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, urging them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar every year as the days when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration. These were to be days of feasting, celebration and sending presents of food to one another and giving gifts to the poor. – Esther 9: 20-22, TLV
From these verses we get the FOUR things that we traditionally do on Purim:
- Hear a reading of the Megillah, the book of Esther (Read more…)
- Exchange gifts of food with friends and family (Read more…)
- Give gifts of Charity to the Poor (Read more…)
- FEAST and CELEBRATE! (Read more…)
Read the next article in the series: The Whole Megillah
Be sure to join us for food, games, costumes, and the whole Megillah! Register for our Purim Party on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30!