Purim is the festival which commemorates the breathtaking Jewish victory over the murderous designs of Haman. It is a story of great courage and self-sacrifice, first and foremost by Queen Esther and Mordechai, and ultimately by the whole Jewish nation. This joyous festival reveals the hidden hand of G-d in the everyday events.
Haman, who descended from the Jew-hating tribe of Amalek, devised a scheme to annihilate every Jew.
Modechai, a descendant of King Saul and advisor to King Achashverosh, sensed the danger. He called for his niece, Queen Esther, and told her that she must go to the king and plead for her people. Haman was defeated and the Jewish people were saved.
What We Do On Purim
Listen to the Megillah
To relive the miraculous events of Purim, we listen to the reading of the Megillah (the Scroll of Esther) on Saturday night, March 15th and again on Sunday, March 16th during the day. When Haman’s name is mentioned, we twirl graggers and stamp our feet to drown out his evil name. Tell the children Purim is the only time when it’s a mitzvah to make noise!
Send Gifts of Food
On Purim we emphasize the importance of Jewish unity and friendship by sending gifts of food to friends. Send a gift of at least two kinds of ready-to-eat foods to at least one friend on Sunday, March 16th.
Give Gifts to the Needy
Concern for the needy is a year round responsibility. On Purim, particularly, it is a special mitzvah to remember the poor. Give charity to at least two, but preferably more, needy individuals.
Eat the Festive Meal
As on all festivals, we celebrate Purim with a special festive meal on Sunday, March 16th, when family and friends gather to rejoice in the Purim spirit.
Make a Purim Treat
Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim delight, is a three-cornered pastry. Make them with your children. Here’s a delicious recipe.
Mix cream, sugar, oil and margarine. Add eggs and juice and mix well. Blend with dry ingredients and roll into a ball. Divide into four parts. Roll out each piece very thin on a floured board. With the rim of a cup or glass, cut into the dough to make circles. Place ½ teaspoon of filling in the middle of each. To shape into a triangle, lift up the right and left sides, bringing both sides to meet at center, above the filling. Lift bottom side up to center to meet other two sides.
Brush dough with beaten egg before baking. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350˚ for approximately 20 minutes. This recipe yields 4 dozen Hamentaschen.
Message of Purim
By Rabbi David Laine, Director of Chabad Vocational Schools.