history of purim

The Fast of Esther, observed before Purim, on the 13th of Adar, is an original part of the Purim celebration, referred to in Esther 9:31–32. The story of Purim is found in the Book of Esther, one of the books in the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Bible. Some of the rabbis protested against these uproarious excesses, considering them a disturbance of public worship, but the custom of using a ratchet in the synagogue on Purim is now universal, with the exception of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, who consider them a breach of decorum. His plans were foiled by Mordecai and Esther, his cousin[7] and adopted daughter who had become Queen of Persia. [92] According to some sources, the influential Rabbi Moses Sofer (the Chasam Sofer), who was born in Frankfurt, celebrated Purim Vintz every year, even when he served as a rabbi in Pressburg. The Book of Esther reflects a number of important features of the Persian culture, which are also found elsewhere in the Bible, above all in the Book of Daniel. At its core, this festive holiday grapples with deep and even troubling themes. The Story of Purim The Purim celebration is based on the biblical Book of Esther, which recounts the story of Queen Esther and how she saved the Jewish people from annihilation. [56] Alcoholic consumption was later codified by the early authorities, and while some advocated total intoxication, others, consistent with the opinion of many early and later rabbis, taught that one should only drink a little more than usual and then fall asleep, whereupon one will certainly not be able to tell the difference between arur Haman ("cursed be Haman") and baruch Mordecai ("blessed be Mordechai"). 1. Purim is celebrated at roughly the same time as the Venice Carnival and other Italian celebrations that began at about that period. המן־טאַשן homentashn, 'Haman pockets') is an Ashkenazi Jewish triangular filled-pocket cookie, usually associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim.The name refers to Haman, the villain in the Purim story.In Hebrew, hamantashen are known as אוזני המן, oznei Haman, 'Haman's ears'. [61], As early as the fifth century, there was a custom to burn an effigy of Haman on Purim. Their God communicates to believers through prophets and rewards good deeds while also punishing evil.Most Jews (with the exception of Messianic Jews and a few other groups) believe that their Messiah hasn’t yet come—but will one day.Jewish people worship in holy places known as synagogues, and their spiritual lead… [57][58], The custom of masquerading in costumes and the wearing of masks probably originated among the Italian Jews at the end of the 15th century. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. These pastries are also known as Oznei Haman. [32], Nineteenth-century Bible commentaries generally identify Ahasuerus with Xerxes I of Persia. Hallel is not recited. Purim is one of the most festive holidays in Judaism. A Jewish … Purim is a joyous holiday that celebrates the saving of the Jews from a threatened massacre in ancient Persia. THE FOUR MAIN MITZVOT OF PURIM. [25], A brief Persian account of events is provided by Islamic historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his History of the Prophets and Kings (completed 915 CE). Learning of this decree, Mordecai approaches the new queen, his cousin Esther, to intercede with the king. [51], Some Modern Orthodox leaders have held that women can serve as public Megillah readers. There are different versions of the story of Esther in addition to the one that appears in the Hebrew Bible. At this feast Ahasuerus gets thoroughly drunk, and at the prompting of his courtiers, orders his wife Vashti to display her beauty before the nobles and populace, wearing her royal crown (the Rabbis of the Oral Torah understand this that he wanted her to only be wearing her royal crown, meaning she would be naked, something she would have wanted to do, but due to a skin condition she refuses to do). Put together, these letters refer to the Jewish year 5707, which corresponds to the secular 1946–1947. [76], Kreplach, a kind of dumpling filled with cooked meat, chicken or liver and served in soup, are traditionally served by Ashkenazi Jews on Purim. During leap years on the Hebrew calendar, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar. Others who "dressed up" or hid whom they were in the story of Esther: Esther not revealing that she is a Jewess; Mordecai being dressed in the king's clothing; "[M]any from among the peoples of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them" (, To recall the episodes that only happened in "outside appearance" as stated in the, The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 00:33. The second reason is that women were also threatened by the genocidal decree and were therefore equal beneficiaries of the miracle (Tosafot). Esther discovers what has transpired; there follows an exchange of messages between her and Mordecai, with Hatach, one of the palace servants, as the intermediary. A children's song called "Light, Gladness, Joy, Honor," based on the previously-mentioned Esther 8:16 quote, is sung in some Reform Jewish communities, but since it is based on a liturgical quote, it wouldn't be in the list of songs above. Later, in deference to Jerusalem, the Sages determined that Purim would be celebrated on Adar 15 in all cities which had been enclosed by a wall at the time of Joshua's conquest of the Land of Israel. Purim is a joyous holiday that affirms and celebrates Jewish survival and continuity throughout history. The minimum interval between occurrences of Purim Meshulash is three years (1974 to 1977; 2005 to 2008; will occur again 2045 to 2048). Purim takes place on the 14th day of Adar, the 12th month of the Jewish calendar. Purim is not a public holiday in the United Kingdom. A custom developed of writing the name of Haman, the offspring of Amalek, on two smooth stones, and knocking them together until the name was blotted out. Purim - History Repeats Itself by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com On 1 October 1946, after 216 court sessions, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg delivered its verdicts sentencing the leaders of the Nazi party to death by hanging. Both Special Purims and Purim itself have proven particularly useful for adapting traditional Jewish narratives and customs to the changing historical circumstances of the Jewish experience. [67][68], Songs associated with Purim are based on sources that are Talmudic, liturgical and cultural. Further, he obliged women to attend the reading of the Megillah, because women were also part of the miracle. McCullough, Muhammad Dandamayev and Shaul Shaked say that the Book of Esther (despite its accurate details of the Achaemenid court[citation needed]) is historical fiction. With the king’s authority, he draws lots (pur) to determine the fateful day, which falls on the 13th of the month of Adar. This is based on the fact that the salvation of the Jews occurred through wine. These readings include numerous ancient customs, among which are jeering and making noise each time the villain Haman’s name is mentioned, as well as reciting the names of Haman’s 10 sons in one breath. A number of children's songs (with non-liturgical sources) also exist: Once There Was a Wicked Wicked Man,[70][71] Ani Purim,[72] Chag Purim, Chag Purim, Chag Gadol Hu LaYehudim,[73][74] Mishenichnas Adar, Shoshanas Yaakov, Al HaNisim, VeNahafoch Hu, LaYehudim Hayesa Orah, U Mordechai Yatza, Kacha Yay'aseh, Chayav Inish, Utzu Eitzah.[75]. [29] He refers to a Jewish woman who had married the Persian King Bahman (Artaxerxes II), and delivered her people,[28][30][31] thus corroborating this identification of Ahasuerus. [94][95], The Jewish community of Hebron has celebrated two historic Purims, both from the Ottoman period. The story is related in the biblical Book of Esther. [82], Iranian Jews and Mountain Jews consider themselves descendants of Esther. It is dated to the fourth century BCE[18] and according to the Talmud was a redaction by the Great Assembly of an original text by Mordechai.[19]. In. Seeds and nuts are customarily eaten on Purim, as the Talmud relates that Queen Esther ate only these foodstuffs in the palace of Ahasuerus, since she had no access to kosher food. Prohibitions were issued against such displays under the reign of Flavius Augustus Honorius (395–423) and of Theodosius II (408–450). According to the Book of Esther in the Torah, the Jewish people of the city of Shushan were threatened by the villain Haman, a prime minister who convinces the King Ahasuerus to kill all the Jews (because the Jewish Mordecai refused to bow down … Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. The first reason is that it was through a lady, Queen Esther, that the miraculous deliverance of the Jews was accomplished (Rashbam). A hamantash (pl. Other authorities, including the Magen Avraham, have written that one should drink until one is unable to calculate the gematria (numerical values) of both phrases. Purim History. According to the Scroll of Esther,[8] "they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor." Magnes Collection of Jewish Art, University of California, Berkeley. the Megillah is not chanted, but is read like a letter, because of the name iggeret ("epistle"), which is applied[45] to the Book of Esther. From at least as early as the 10th century, the emergence of “Special Purims” — commemorative days instituted by local Jewish communities employing any number of Purim-related customs — demonstrates Purim’s effectiveness as a prototype for engaging larger Jewish concerns in the context of shifting historical events, particularly in the case of communities or families who escaped from serious danger. They are apprehended and hanged, and Mordecai's service to the king is recorded in the daily record of the court. The story begins when King Ahasuerus (also spelled Achashverosh, אחשורוש) commands his wife, Queen Vashti , to appear before him and his party guests. Although written evidence of the Purim shpiel (Yiddish for “Purim play”) exists in Europe only from the 14th century, Purim entertainment is likely of ancient origin as well. The events commemorated by Purim took place in the ancient Persian Empire, in the fifth century BCE, under the reign of King Achashverosh. According to the Mishnah (Megillah 30b),[46] the story of the attack on the Jews by Amalek, the progenitor of Haman, is also to be read. A festive meal, packages of food and other small treats offered to friends and family (mishloach manot), and gifts to the poor (matanot la’evyonim) as cited in Esther 9:22 remain key components of traditional celebrations until today. Another reason for masquerading is that it alludes to the hidden aspect of the miracle of Purim, which was "disguised" by natural events but was really the work of the Almighty. During the time of King Ahasuerus, one of his ministers, Haman, sought to destroy the Jews in revenge for being snubbed by the Jew Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him. We dress up in our favorite costumes, share gifts of food with friends, give charity to those in need, have a festive meal with family and friends, and read a story (PJ Library’s favorite activity) – specifically, the story of Queen Esther – together.. Esther does not reveal her origins and that she is Jewish. Some wrote the name of Haman on the soles of their shoes, and at the mention of the name stamped with their feet as a sign of contempt. The Book of Esther prescribes "the sending of portions one man to another, and gifts to the poor". Having found out that Mordecai is Jewish, Haman plans to kill not just Mordecai but the entire Jewish minority in the empire. Jewish". No distinction is made among the poor; anyone who is willing to accept charity is allowed to participate. The text’s style of Hebrew and its lack of corroborating historical information from ancient Persia suggest that the Book of Esther was not authored until well after the time it claims to describe. Scattered, the Jews waited for the end of the 70 year exile prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah. More recently, prunes, dates, apricots, apples, and chocolate fillings have been introduced. [27] He places events during the rule of Ardashir Bahman (Artaxerxes II),[28] but confuses him with Ardashir al-Tawil al-Ba (Artaxerxes I), while assuming Ahasuerus to be the name of a co-ruler. Meet Esther, the young woman at the middle of the famous Purim story. The reading of the Book of Esther from an actual scroll, often an object of special decoration and care, is performed with distinctive cantillation on both the evening and morning of Purim. In addition to prayers and the reading of Esther, Purim includes gifts, food, giving to the needy, and a large meal. To Haman's horror, the king instructs Haman to render such honors to Mordecai. The first who mentions the Fast of Esther is Rabbi Achai Gaon (Acha of Shabcha) (8th century CE) in She'iltot 4; the reason there given for its institution is based on an interpretation of Esther 9:18, Esther 9:31 and Talmud Megillah 2a: "The 13th was the time of gathering", which gathering is explained to have had also the purpose of public prayer and fasting. (In the case of a leap year, it takes place in the 13th month, Adar II, while a minor holiday, Purim Katan, takes place in Adar I.) Thinking that the king is referring to Haman himself, Haman says that the honoree should be dressed in the king's royal robes and led around on the king's royal horse. The 2006 movie One Night with the King chronicles the life of the young Jewish girl, Hadassah, who goes on to become the Biblical Esther, the Queen of Persia, and saves the Jewish nation from annihilation at the hands of its arch enemy while winning the heart of the fiercely handsome King Xerxes. Meanwhile, Haman is again offended by Mordecai's refusal to bow to him; egged on by his wife Zeresh and unidentified friends, he builds a gallows for Mordecai, with the intention to hang him there the very next day. All Rights Reserved. [23] Josephus also records the Persian persecution of Jews and mentions Jews being forced to worship at Persian erected shrines. During the feast, she asks them to attend a further feast the next evening. In the Mishnah, the recitation of a benediction on the reading of the Megillah is not yet a universally recognized obligation. [35][36][37] Amélie Kuhrt says the Book of Esther was composed in the Hellenistic period and it shows a perspective of Persian court identical to classical Greek books. Adolf Hitler banned and forbade the observance of Purim. [99][100][101], Adolf Hitler banned and forbade the observance of Purim. The Feast of Purim was instituted as a result to commemorate God's protection of the Jewish people each year (Esther 9:26-32). An additional custom that probably began in Medieval times is that the congregation recites aloud with the reader the verses Esther 2:5, Esther 8:15–16, and Esther 10:3, which relate the origin of Mordecai and his triumph. [80], Among Polish Jews, koilitch, a raisin Purim challah that is baked in a long twisted ring and topped with small colorful candies, is meant to evoke the colorful nature of the holiday. The practice was only introduced into Middle Eastern countries during the 19th century. Pronounced: PUR-im, the Feast of Lots, Origin: Hebrew, a joyous holiday that recounts the saving of the Jews from a threatened massacre during the Persian period. Just then, Haman appears, and King Ahasuerus asks him what should be done for the man that the king wishes to honor. The weekly Torah portion (Tetzaveh or Ki Tissa in regular years, Tzav in leap years) is read as usual, while the Torah portion for Purim is read for maftir, and the haftarah is the same as read the previous Shabbat, Parshat Zachor. Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who has wrought miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season. Obtaining Ahasuerus' permission and funds to execute this plan, he casts lots ("purim") to choose the date on which to do this—the thirteenth of the month of Adar. One is called Window Purim, or Purim Taka, in which the community was saved when a bag of money mysteriously appeared in a window, enabling them to pay off an extortion fee to the Ottoman Pasha. Ahasuerus then orders all young women to be presented to him, so he can choose a new queen to replace Vashti. The Fettmilch Uprising in Frankfurt am Main (1612–1616) According to Megillas Vintz. [106] According to Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel, there is a code in the Book of Esther which lies in the names of Haman's 10 sons. Mordecai, who sits at the palace gates, falls into Haman's disfavor as he refuses to bow down to him. The maximum interval is 20 years (1954 to 1974; will occur again 2025 to 2045). [23][24], The Josippon, a tenth-century CE compilation of Jewish history, includes an account of the origins of Purim in its chapter 4. On Purim, Iranian Jews visit the tombs of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan. It begins when King Ahasuerus of the Persian Empire (modern day Iran) in the 4th century BC had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders. The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The outsized vav—which represents the number six—corresponds to the sixth millennium of the world since creation, which, according to Jewish tradition, is the period between 1240 and 2240 CE. [11] Today, only Jerusalem and a few other cities celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar. The Tractate Megillah in the Mishnah (redacted c. 200 CE) records the laws relating to Purim. [104] In 1942, on Purim, the Nazis murdered over 5000 Jews, mostly children, in the Minsk Ghetto. Three of the Hebrew letters—a tav, a shin and a zayin—are written smaller than the rest, while a vav is written larger. [84], Purim is celebrated on Adar 14 because the Jews in unwalled cities fought their enemies on Adar 13 and rested the following day. When either 13th or 15th Adar I falls on Shabbat, "Tzidkas'cha" is omitted at Mincha. [58] A sweet pastry dough is rolled out, cut into circles, and traditionally filled with a poppy seed filling; this is then wrapped up into a triangular shape with the filling either hidden or showing. [104] On Purim eve that same year, over 100 Jewish doctors and their families were shot by the Nazis in Częstochowa. Traditional Purim songs include Mishenichnas Adar marbim be-simcha ("When [the Hebrew month of] Adar enters, we have a lot of joy"—Mishnah Taanith 4:1) and LaYehudim haitah orah ve-simchah ve-sasson ve-yakar ("The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor"—Esther 8:16). When 15th Adar I is on Shabbat, "Av Harachamim" is omitted. Purim is celebrated among Jews by: Other customs include wearing masks and costumes, public celebrations and parades (Adloyada), and eating hamantaschen ("Haman's pocket”); men are encouraged to drink wine or any other alcoholic beverage.[10]. The second part may have been redacted as late as the eleventh century CE and contains commentary on the remaining chapters of Esther. It too follows the original biblical account and includes additional traditions matching those found in the Greek version and Josephus (whom the author claims as a source) with the exception of the details of the letters found in the latter works. She finds favor in the king's eyes, and is made his new wife. When is Purim 2020? [114], The 2006 comedy film For Your Consideration employs a film-within-a-film device in which the fictitious film being produced is titled Home for Purim, and is about a Southern Jewish family's Purim celebration. However, the Talmud, a later work, prescribed three benedictions before the reading and one benediction after the reading. Although it provides the blueprint for the festival of Purim, the origins of the Book of Esther remain obscure. The biting content of Puri… History of Purim. [104] Indeed, Julius Streicher was heard to sarcastically remark "Purimfest 1946" as he ascended the scaffold after Nuremberg. [50] Often in Orthodox communities there is a special public reading only for women, conducted either in a private home or in a synagogue, but the Megillah is read by a man. Mordecai requests that she intercede with the king on behalf of the embattled Jews; she replies that nobody is allowed to approach the king, under penalty of death. Sarcastic, humorous, and iconoclastic entertainment has become a universal component of Purim celebration. It is common to greet one another on Purim in Hebrew Chag Purim Sameach, Freilichin Purim (in Yiddish) or "Purim Allegre" (in Ladino). The commentaries offer two reasons as to why women played a major role in the miracle. Besides the traditional cantillation, there are several verses or short phrases in the Megillah that are chanted in a different chant, the chant that is traditionally used during the reading of the book of Lamentations. Just as in the story of Purim when it’s over we look back and we see how everything fits into place. At a banquet for the king and Haman, she denounces the evil Haman, who is eventually hanged. Another method was to use a noisy ratchet, called a ra'ashan (from the Hebrew ra-ash, meaning "noise") and in Yiddish a grager. She denounces the evil Haman, then history of purim Now one does not to... Esther remain obscure be Haman who sought to destroy me, blessed be Mordechai the Yehudi 1974 ; will again. Your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you celebrated over a period three! Compelling nature Jerusalem celebrate Purim on 14 Adar. found out that Mordecai is.! ] Stalin was suddenly paralyzed on 1 March 1953, and their hope generations... 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Authorities, business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim,! On sources that are Talmudic, liturgical and cultural such reinterpretation because of its timeless and compelling nature is... Records the laws relating to Purim 1953, which is absent in the miracle החוסים. Up to 707 the 70 year exile prophesied by the Nazis shot ten Jews were in... In worldly influence at its core, this joyous holiday commemorates the waited! Therefore equal beneficiaries of the Jews to protect themselves from their enemies its timeless and nature! The Mishnah on our site and bring you ads that might interest you Hermann Göring, an eleventh Nazi sentenced... The eve of Purim was instituted as a Source for Median and Achaemenid ''! Origins of Purim lends itself to such reinterpretation because of its timeless compelling. Agreement—With them as late as the eleventh century CE and contains commentary on the giving mishloach... 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