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 that we find in 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 and 15th of the month of Adar (II) in the Hebrew Calendar. This year (2022 or 5782), it starts on the evening of Wed, Mar 16th and ends on the evening of Fri, Mar 18th.
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:
- FEAST and CELEBRATE! (Get your tickets for our Purim Party on Mar 19th!)
- Hear a reading of the Megillah, the book of Esther;
- Exchange gifts of food with friends and family; and
- Give gifts of charity to the poor.