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Holidays

Megillat Esther – Part I

June 30, 2006, by

The Beginning of the Megilah – Another Feast! The Megilah begins by informing us that its historical context is the Persia-Media of King Achashverosh, who then ruled over the Empire. That MegillahEmpire encompassed one hundred twenty seven states and provinces (definitely not to be confused with the one hundred twenty seven righteous years of our […]

The Book of Esther

June 29, 2006, by

There is a puzzling statement by one of the most famous Rabbis, and experts in Kabbalah (Jewish mystical knowledge), of the last millenium, Rabbi Isaac Luria (known as the Ari’zal), who lived in the middle 1500’s in the beautiful city of Safed (Tzfat), in Israel. Commenting on the Jewish festival of Purim (which begins this […]

Parshat Zachor

June 29, 2006, by

The Mishnah Berurah (O.C. 685:1:1) explains in the name of rabbinic authorities that Parshas Zachor is read on the Shabbos prior to Purim because of the exhortation to eliminate Amalek, from which Haman stemmed, and to relate the mitzvah of obliterating the memory of Amalek to its execution on Purim during the days of Mordechai […]

Purim and Yom kePurim

June 29, 2006, by

“Rava said: One is required to become intoxicated on Purim until the point that he cannot differentiate between ‘Cursed be Haman’ and ‘Blessed be Mordechai.’” (Gemara Megillah 7b) Why is inebriation halachically mandated? Do other forms of celebration not suffice to express our joy at the salvation precipitated by the nes of Purim? The story […]

Shoshanat Yaakov

June 29, 2006, by

At the conclusion of the Megillah reading both at night and in the morning on Purim we say a prayer called “Shoshanat Yaakov” – “The Rose of Jacob”. This small paragraph reiterates the conclusion of Megillat Esther as well as restates the who’s who of the “heroes and villains” of the Purim story. As you […]

The Evils of Wine & Drugs

June 29, 2006, by

When the Jew celebrates, a glass of wine is almost always close at hand: Kiddush, Havdala, the Passover Seder, Purim, and every wedding ceremony and Brit Milah. Wine serves as the symbol of our sanctity, of freedom, of Divinely inspired victories, of the greatest, most joyous moments of our past, and of our dreams for […]

Purim is Forever

June 29, 2006, by

Our Sages teach that when the Messiah arrives the festivals will cease to be observed, but Purim will continue to be observed. The Midrash (Mishlei 9) derives this unusual conclusion from a statement in Megillat Esther, (9:28) “the memory of Purim will never cease from among their descendants.” Why should a relatively minor festival be […]

“Al HaNisim” Section for Purim

June 29, 2006, by

With great brevity, and without going into the details of the “nes nistar,” the “hidden miracle” which Hashem performed for the Jewish People, against the backdrop of the conspiracy and intrigue of the Persian royal palace, using “coincidence” and exquisitely fortuitous timing, the text of the Purim “Al HaNisim” recounts the evil plan of Haman. […]

“Ad D’lo Yada” – “Until one Cannot Distinguish”

June 29, 2006, by

The Talmud makes the following unusual statement regarding the required festive meal of Purim: “A person must drink until he cannot tell the difference between ‘Cursed be Haman’ and ‘Blessed be Mordechai.’ ” This is usually understood to mean that a person should drink until he reaches a level of intoxication such that he can […]

Background of the Hamentash

June 29, 2006, by

Jewish Tradition has it that the Hamentash, being similar to a three-cornered hat, is the kind of hat that “Haman HaRasha,” the wicked Haman, wore. But why do we wear the hat of our great enemy? Of one who wanted to destroy our People? Because Purim is the Holiday of “V’Nahapoch hu,” of Topsy Turvy […]