Jewish Holidays

Creative Gift Baskets For Purim

February 22, 2007, by

If you feel like a basket case as Purim approaches and are searching for interesting items for your shaloach manot gift baskets, read on! You’ll find lots of tasty treats that are sure to please family and friends. Your baskets will runneth over! The best-known treat for Purim is hamantaschen, those scrumptious three-cornered pastries shaped […]

Megillat Esther – Part II

July 2, 2006, by

PART II – The Golden Scepter On the third day of her fast, Esther donned her royal robes; according to the Midrash, it was the Holy Spirit that clothed her. She stood facing the throne. “The ball is now in the court,” as they say, of Achashverosh. His is the next great decision. The Talmud […]

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 and 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 […]