Purim

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Dorothy-Esther
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Purim is not one of the major festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23, but is still important because of the message it holds.  Purim takes place in the spring of the year, usually in February or March.

The Purim story is recorded in the book of Esther.
 

The Story

 
Many Jews were exiled and living in Babylon and other parts of Persia Media.

King Ahasuerus had ascended the throne.  Ahasuerus gave a great party for the men of his court.  He wanted to show off his great wealth and beautiful Queen, Vashti.  When Vashti was summoned, however, she refused to come.  Ahasuerus was so angry, that he had Vashti banished.

It wasn't long before Ahasuerus realized how lonely he was.  One of his advisers suggested that all the beautiful women of the kingdom be brought to the palace, and that Ahasuerus pick one of these women as his new queen.  He liked the idea.

The king's soldiers went throughout the entire kingdom looking for beautiful women.  When they came to the house of Mordecai, the Jew, they told him of the king's decree that all the beautiful women of the kingdom be brought to the palace...that one of them would be the new queen. 

Mordecai had a young girl living with him, named Esther.  Esther was Mordecai's cousin, and had come to live with him when her parents had died. 

Esther was not interested in going to the palace, but eventually agreed to do so.  Mordecai warned her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew.

The young women were dressed in fine clothing and perfumed.  When they were brought before the king, all were dismissed until he saw Esther.  The king was pleased when he saw her beauty, and a few days later she was crowned as his new queen.

King Ahasuerus had a new court adviser named Haman.  Haman was very wicked, and next to the king, he was the most powerful man in Persia.  One morning when Haman was passing through the palace courtyard, he passed Mordecai who was on his way to visit Esther.  Haman was greatly angered when Mordecai refused to bow before him. 

Mordecai told Haman,  "I am a Jew, and will bow to no one but God."

Haman was furious.  His anger for Mordecai and the Jews increased daily.  Finally he went before King Ahasuerus and told him how the Jews refused to bow before him as the law commanded, and continued to worship their own God.

When Ahasuerus asked Haman what should be done with these people, Haman did not hesitate with his answer.  "All the Jews should be killed!"

Haman drew lots to decide when the Jews should be executed, and King Ahasuerus signed Haman's decree into law.  Haman built a gallows with plans to hang Mordecai on it.

When word reached Mordecai that Haman planned to kill all the Jews, he made his way to the palace to see Esther.  Mordecai told Esther of Haman's plan and asked her to go before the King to plead for her people. 

Esther was fearful.  She knew that no one was allowed to go before the king without his invitation, an that if she went before the king and he did not extend his scepter to her, that she'd be killed. 

Mordecai told her that perhaps God had brought her to this place, "for such a time as this".

Esther was still fearful, but told Mordecai that she would go before the king.  She asked that Mordecai and her people spend three days in prayer and fasting.  After that she would go before the king.  "And if I die, I die!"
 
On the third day, Esther put on her crown and royal robes and went before King Ahasuerus.  As she waited, he extended his scepter to her, and asked her to enter.

"What is it you want, Queen Esther?", King Ahasuerus asked her.  "Ask and I'll give it to you ... up to a half of my kingdom."

Esther told Ahasuerus that she was giving a feast the next day and wanted him and Haman to attend.  Haman was thrilled that the queen would invite him to a feast that she was giving for the king.

The next day King Ahasuerus and Haman came to the feast that Esther had given in the king's honor.  Once again he asked her... "What is it that you want, Queen Esther?  Ask and I'll give it to you ... up to a half of my kingdom."

"If I have found favor with you, O King, and if it pleases you ... spare my life, and that of my people", Esther told the king.

"Spare your life?  Why", asked King Ahasuerus.  "Where is any man who would dare to harm the Queen?"

"The adversary and enemy is this vile man, Haman!", responded the Queen.

Haman was terrified and began to tremble. 

Ahasuerus commanded that Haman and his ten sons be hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai.

That same day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, and made Mordecai his royal adviser.

It had been a difficult time for the Jews living in Persia Media during the Babylonia captivity, but God never left them or forgot about them. 

They had always been, and will always be, the Apple-of-His-Eye.  Monarchs will come and go, empires will rise and fall, but Ha-Shem will always be in everlasting covenant with the seed of Israel. 

The Jews decided that the 14th and 15th of Adar be used to celebrate and remember how God had delivered his people.
 
How to Celebrate
 
 
1. Read the book of Esther.
2. Purim plays are frequently performed
3. Dress in costumes and masks.
4. Eat festive meals.
5. Eat special treats called Hamantaschen (or Haman's hat).
6. Give gifts the poor and needy.
7. Use Groggers to drown out the mention of Haman's name.
 

Purim Celebrations

 
2003 Purim Play

 
2004 Play "Here's Looking at You, Esther!"

The 2004 Purim play was a parody of the movie "Casablanca", but still told the entire story of Esther and God's deliverance for the Jews.

 

King's: The Place for Root Beer

 

         

Groggers, as well as Boos and Hisses, are used to drown out Haman's name each time it is mentioned.

 
 
Link: 2005 Play "The Story of Esther"
 
 
Link: 2006 Play "The Story of Esther"
 
 
Link: 2007 Play "The Story of Esther"
 
 
Link:  2008 Play "The Story of Esther"
 
 
Link:  2009 Play "Purim Wars"
 
 
Link:  2010 Play "The Wonderful Kingdom of AZ"
 
 
2005 Purim Play
2006 Purim Play
2007 Purim Play
2008 Purim Play
2009 Purim Play

2010 Purim Play

 
 

Family Purim Photos

 

Our daughter, Beth, and granddaughters. Alex (left) and Savanna (right),
enjoy the 2004 Purim Play and festivities.