Purim is Sunday, 24 February, 2013 .
Shushan Purim is Monday 25 February, 2013 .
Purim is based on the Biblical account in the Book of Esther. As with many Jewish holidays, Purim can be summed up with the phrase:
They Tried to Kill Us,
Purim Customs and Laws
Purim customs are discussed in the Babylonian Talmud, primarily in Tractate Megillah. The Shulchan Aruch, Code of Jewish Law, discusses the obligations of Purim starting in chapter 686. The four obligatory rites are:
- Megillah reading -- Reading the Book of Esther from a scroll in the evening and morning of the holiday.
- Matanot L'evyonim -- Monetary gifts to the poor. Giving money to two different poor people.
- Mishloach Manot -- Sending food gifts to friends. Two cooked foods to one friend fulfills the obligation.
- Mishteh -- The Purim Feast. The time for the Purim feast is during the day of Purim.
Other customs and traditions include dressing up in costumes, giving children small monetary gifts, Purim comedy plays (Purim Shpiel), making noise during the Megillah reading when Haman's name is mentioned, and drinking wine at the Purim feast.
Favorite children's costumes include the Evil Haman, King Ahashverosh, Mordechai the Jew, Queen Vashti, and Queen Esther. The custom of costumes hints to the verse in Deuteronomy 31: "I shall surely hide my face on that day.."
The Purim Story is for all ages
Indeed, the Book of Esther reads much like a play. The Divine Name is not mentioned openly once in the text. All the miracles appear as natural occurrences coordinated by the Ultimate Producer and Director. The main plot revolves around the wicked Haman advising King Ahashverosh to annihilate his Jewish subjects. Many intertwining subplots include the rise of Esther to the throne, a plot to kill the King overheard by Mordechai and reported to the palace security, the sincere repentance of the Jews upon hearing that their fate has been given over to the sword, and a chain of drinking parties. Read all about it!
Purim traditional foods
Purim traditional cookies are called Hamentaschen (Haman's Pockets), or Oznei Haman (Haman's Ears). They are filled cookies shaped in a triangle. Favorite fillings include poppy seed, prune, chopped nuts, and chocolate. Any filling may be used.
A traditional food for Purim is kreplach, similar to wonton or verenikes. The symbolism is again the "hidden" filling wrapped in the every day look of dough. See Hamantashen recipes online for tons of recipes.
Jewishbyte.com presents the Shortened Purim Story gifts
Advertise the miracle of the Purim story with Jewishbyte's collection of gifts featuring the Purim story in short: "They tired to kill us. We won. Let's eat!". Available on t-shirts, sweatshirts, teddy bears, mugs (drink to your heart's content on Purim with these!), even a dog t-shirt. Click on the image below to go to the Jewishbyte.com Purim store:
Ten reasons for celebrating Purim.
- Making noise in shul is a mitzvah.
- Levity is not reserved for the Levites.
- If you're having a bad hair day, you can always wear a mask & no one will know who you are.
- Purim is easier to spell than Khanuka, Chanukah, Chanuka, Hanuka -- the Hebrew name for the Festival of Lights.
- You don't have to kasher your home and change all the pots and dishes.
- You don't have to build a sukkah and eat outside.
- You get to drink wine & you don't have to stand for Kiddush.
- Mordechai - 1; Haman - 0.
- You won't get hit in the eye by a lulav.
- You can't eat hamentaschen on Yom Kippur.
- Mordechai - 1 ; Haman - 0!