Purim

Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It is celebrated by the reading of the Scroll of Esther, known in Hebrew as Megilat Esther, which commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.

Purim is celebrated by the reading of the Scroll of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillat Esther, which relates the basic story of Purim. Under the rule of King Ahashuerus, Haman, the King’s prime minister, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia. His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of the land from destruction. The reading of the megillah is typically a rowdy affair, which is punctuated by booing and noisemaking when Haman’s name is read aloud.

Purim is an unusual holiday in many respects. First, Esther is the only Book of the Bible in which God is not mentioned. Second, Purim, like Chanukah, is viewed by tradition as a minor festival. The elevation of Purim to a major holiday was a result of the Jewish historical experience. Over the centuries, Haman became the embodiment of every anti-Semite in every land where Jews were oppressed. The significance in Purim lies not so much in how it began, but in what it has become-a thankful and joyous affirmation of Jewish survival against all odds.