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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Purim

Tonight and tomorrow, Jews everywhere (except in walled cities; they celebrate the next day) celebrate the holiday of Purim. The Purim story is a real thriller and one of my favorites of the Jewish year.

In a nutshell, King Ahashverosh has a party and his queen, Vashti, refuses to come. In retaliation, he orders her killed and begins to search for a new queen. The girl who wins the spot is Esther, a Jew, the ward of her cousin (or possibly uncle), Mordechai.

The king has an advisor named Haman who expects everybody to bow down to him. Mordechai refuses, so Haman decides to kill all the Jews. Esther finds out about this from Mordechai, who wants her to go to the king and plead for her people. Innitially, Esther refuses because she knows the king can kill her is she approaches him uninvited; finally, however, she agrees to go, using my favorite quote from Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther): "If I perish, I perish."

The king receives Esther and she invites him and Haman to a party that night. At the party, she invites them to a second party. At the second party, she exposes Haman and his plan. Haman and his ten sons are hanged on the gallows that Haman made for Mordechai.

The Jews of the Persian Empire (where the story takes place) are given permission to defend themselves against their attackers on the day of the massacre. They take up arms and successfully get their revenge.

Purim is celebrated by hearing the megilla reading, sending gifts of food to friends and food and money to the poor, and eating a big celebratory meal. It is called Purim after the lots (called purim in Hebrew) that Haman cast to decide when to kill the Jews.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!