Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Printed from
Contact Us
Visit us on Facebook

Why is the holiday named "Purim"?

Why is the holiday named "Purim"?


"Haman sought to annihilate all the Jews, Mordechai's people, throughout Ahasuerus' entire kingdom. In the first month, which is the month of Nissan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus' reign, a pur, which is a lot, was cast before Haman, for every day and every month, [and it fell] on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar" – Book of Esther 3:6-7.

"For Haman, son of Hamdatha, the Agagite, persecutor of all the Jews, plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and he cast a pur, which is a lot, to shatter them and destroy them ... For this did they call these days "Purim," after the pur..." – ibid. 9:24, 26.

Haman drew lots to determine the day when to schedule the extermination of the Jews.

Why is this seemingly trivial detail of Haman's plot magnified to the extent that the holiday is named after it? And why is the holiday given a name drawn from the Persian language?


A Throw Of Dice

The Pur of Purim

The Illogical Holiday

Best wishes and Shabbat Shalom,

Chani Benjaminson,

Chani Benjaminson is co-director of Chabad of the South Coast, coordinator of Chabad’s Ask the Rabbi and Feedback departments, and is a member of the editorial staff of
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the discussion
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (2)
February 12, 2013
Thanks for the list of articles. But one of your questions was, why it is in Persian?
None of the articles you mention address that question, as to why we use the Persian name and not the Hebrew (Goral etc.) They expalin why it is named after the lottery, but not why in Persian.
I'd really like to know that!
Hopkinton, MA
March 16, 2008
The Real Reason
It's not true. The real reason is that Purim derives from the common phrase on Purim, "Pour him an adar cup."
The Guad