Purim at BCC is More Fabulous Than Ever!
Purim 2020 will begin in the evening of Monday March 9 and ends in the evening of Tuesday March 10
The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
The Story in a Nutshell
The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.
Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.
Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G‑d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued—granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.
On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated.
Read the Book of Esther (Megilaht Ester). To relive the miraculous events of Purim, listen to the reading of the megillah twice: once on Purim eve, Wednesday night, March 4, and again on Purim day, March 5. At certain points in the reading where Haman’s name is mentioned, it is customary to twirl graggers (Purim noisemakers) and stamp one’s feet to “eradicate” his evil name. It’s a mitzvah to make noise!
Send Food Portions to Friends (Mishloach Manot). On Purim we emphasize the importance of Jewish unity and friendship by sending gifts of food to friends. Send a gift of at least two kinds of ready-to-eat foods (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage) to at least one friend.
Masquerades. The most well known Purim custom is to dress up and disguise yourself (like Halloween) —an allusion to the fact that the miracle of Purim was disguised in natural garments.
Eat Hamantashen. The traditional Purim food is the hamantash—a pastry whose filling is hidden within a three-cornered crust.
Give to the Needy (Matanot La’Evyonim). Concern for the needy is a year-round responsibility; but on Purim it is a special mitzvah to remember the poor. Give charity to at least two (but preferably more) needy individuals on Purim day, March 5.