Purim celebrates the Jewish people’s victory over a plot to annihilate them in ancient Persia (5th century BCE). Esther, the heroine of the story, becomes queen to King Ahasuerus. When Haman, the king’s advisor, schemes to kill the Jews, Esther, with her uncle Mordecai’s support, reveals her Jewish identity to the king, risking her life to plead for her people’s safety. Through a series of events, concluding with Haman being hung on the gallows he built for Mordecai, the Jewish people were saved. The holiday is a reminder of the Jewish people’s resilience in the face of adversity and God’s concealed protection of His people.

On Purim we read the Book of Esther (the Megillah), give gifts to the poor (matanot l’evyonim), exchange food gifts (mishloach manot), dress up in costumes, and feast on hamantaschen “Haman’s ears” a sweet triangle pastry filled with poppy seeds.

In Kabbalistic teachings, Purim carries deeper symbolism. Megillah, scroll, derives from “l’galot,” meaning to reveal. “Purim,” comes from “pur,” meaning a lottery or fate, referring to Haman’s reliance on lots to schedule his evil plot. The essence of Purim is the theme of revelation and reversal, illustrating life’s unpredictability and the hidden presence of a divine force.

Characters like Mordechai, Esther, and Haman represent different aspects and the personal struggles we face on our spiritual journey. Mordechai symbolizes our desire for connection with the divine. Esther, whose name means hidden, represents the everyday disconnection from our inner selves, and the hidden potential to influence positive change. Haman embodies our selfish desires that seek power and control.

In its essence, Purim teaches us about self-discovery and encourages us to emulate Esther by revealing our inner spark, strengthening our integrity and deepening our faith.

Despite the never-ending challenges faced by the Jewish people, the recent brutal painful events of October 7, and the surges of antisemitism worldwide, we remain resilient, our faith and spirit are stronger than ever. עם ישראל חי, The People of Israel Live now and forever as beacon of light in the dark world 🔯

In the pictures, Purim with my cousin Yaakov, circa 1957 Jerusalem, Israel.

Me with my cousin Yaakov, circa 1957 Jerusalem, Israel.