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The Fun Holiday


Purim, celebrated on the 14th of Adar, is the jolliest, most action-packed day of the Jewish year. 2400 years ago, Haman, the Persian prime-minister, ordered genocide of the Jews. His plan was thwarted by Esther and Mordechai—and we celebrate!

Here's how:

1. Listen to the Miracle

Head to your synagogue and get the whole Megillah. The Megillah, a.k.a. The Book of Esther, is the scroll that tells the Purim story. Listen to the public reading twice: once Purim Night and again on Purim Day. Pay attention—it is vital to hear every word. When Haman's name is mentioned in the reading, children twirl graggers (noisemakers) and adults stamp their feet to eradicate his evil name.

2. Share Some Food

Purim is about friendship, community and caringPurim is about friendship and community. Send a package containing at least two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages to at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of Purim.

3. Give to the Needy

Purim is about caring. Give food or money to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim. In case you can't find any needy people, your synagogue will likely be collecting money for this purpose. At least, place two coins in a charity box. Charity is a mitzvah the whole year round, but on Purim we give to whoever asks.

4. Feast and Rejoice!

Purim is about sharing your joy. During the daylight hours of Purim, gather friends and family for a feast with wine. Sing, laugh, have fun together. Traditionally, the Purim feast lasts well into the evening.

5. Thank G‑d

Add V'al Hanissim, a short section of thanksgiving for the Purim miracle, to the daily prayers and to the Grace after Meals.

On Purim, children traditionally masquerade—an allusion to the Purim miracle that was disguised in natural events. Make sure your children dress up as good, cheerful characters, such as Mordechai and Esther.

For more about Purim, visit our fun and informative Purim Site.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Menachem Posner for February 23, 2010

RE: Purim It must be hard to rejoice on the day that reminds you of your loss and of your beloved parent. A strange contradiction. One thing that may help is to remind yourself that your parent would want to you rejoice and not to be said. It may also be helpful to note that the Aramaic word sometimes used for yahrtziet is "hillulah," which also means "wedding." This is because along with the sadness, there is also the joy of knowing that the soul successfully completed its mission on earth and is now ascending from one spiritual plane to another. Reply

Anonymous Manchester, England February 22, 2010

Purim how can you rejoice when you have Yahrtzeit on purim Reply

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