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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Moses was born on the 7th of Adar of the year 2368 from creation (1393 BCE); accordingly, Adar 14 was the 8th day of his life and the day on which he was circumcised in accordance with the Divine command to Abraham.

The festival of Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from Haman's plot "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day."

The events of Purim extended over a period of several years, culminating in the victory celebrations of Adar 14-15 of 356 BCE. Below is a timeline of the major events. For the detailed story, see the Book of Esther and The Story of Purim




Achashveirosh ascends the throne of Persia


369 BCE

Achashveirosh's 180-day feast; Queen Vashti executed


366 BCE

Esther becomes queen


Tevet, 362 BCE

Haman casts lots to choose date for Jews' annihilation


Nissan, 357 BCE

Royal decree ordering killing of all Jews


Nissan 13, 357 BCE

Mordechai calls on Jews to repent; 3-day fast ordered by Esther


Nissan 14-16, 357 BCE

Esther goes to Achashveirosh; hosts 1st wine party with Achashveirosh and Haman


Nissan 16, 357 BCE

Esther's 2nd wine party; Haman's downfall and hanging


Nissan 17, 357 BCE

Second decree issued by Achashveirosh, empowering the Jews to defend themselves


Sivan 23, 357 BCE

Battles fought throughout the empire against those seeking to kill the Jews; Haman's ten sons killed


Adar 13, 356 BCE

Purim celebrations everywhere, except Shushan where 2nd day of battles are fought


Adar 14, 356 BCE

Purim celebration in Shushan


Adar 15, 356 BCE

Megillah written by Esther and Mordechai; Festival of Purim instituted for all generations


355 BCE

On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait. After five weeks of heavy fighting, coalition forces succeeded in liberating Kuwait, and a ceasefire was declared on February 28, 1991, corresponding to the holiday of Purim.

Despite threats from Saddam to bombard Israel with chemical warheads, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson, stated unequivocally that “the Land of Israel is the safest place in the world,” and predicted that the war would be over by Purim.

Links: I Will Show You Wonders; Purim Saddam; End the War Now!

Laws and Customs

Purim observances include:

a) Reading of the Megillah (Book of Esther), which recounts the story of the Purim miracle.

b) Giving to the poor (gifts of money should be given to at least two poor people).

c) Sending gifts of food to friends (a minimum of two ready-to-eat foods to at least one friend).

d) The Purim feast.

e) Reciting the Al Hanissim prayer.

Customs include dressing up in disguising costumes and the traditional Purim food, the hamantash. For more detailed information, see links below.

(In Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities, the festival is observed tomorrow--see entries for Adar 15.)

Daily Thought

The world is absurd. Ugly absurd.

To repair ugly absurdity, you can’t just be normal. You need an alternative absurdity. A beautiful absurdity.

We call it “divine madness.”