March 10, 2009


Purim is a Jewish Festival and it began last night. Purim celebrates victory over enemies, like the redeemer in Esther. Mordecai self-sacrificed himself in raising and teaching Esther - passing on the Torah by educating the children. Purim's lesson is to not lose hope and continue to teach the generations.

In the story of Esther lots were cast ("pur" in Persian) and a day was chosen for the annihilation of the Jews. Persian law could not be changed, but the people were allowed to defend themselves - yet only because of Esther's intervention. She was called, and she obeyed, saying, "If I perish, I perish".

Purim is a carnival celebration full of hilarity. It's celebrated with costumes and the story of Esther is either read or dramatized. Every time the name 'Haman' is said, everyone noisily stomps their feet, hissing and booing. Lots of cheering with Mordecai's name.

It celebrates survival, asking the question, "How do we live with people who hate us?"

Some years I make Hamantaschen (Haman's pockets) cookies. Sweet dough is rolled and cut in circles. A filling is added in the center and the edges are folded over to make three corners. The filling is either a poppy seed filling or fruit (often prune, but any jam can be used).

Some years Purim and Good Friday fall together and my first thought is, "Oh great, such opposite emotions." But it's only seemingly opposite when Purim is a 'Hilarious' holi(y)day. But maybe Good Friday (it is called 'good') should be celebrated hilariously too. With hissing, booing, and stomping of feet (much as Jesus did to the snake in the Garden of Eden in the "Passion" movie) over Satan, and cheering for our Redeemer Jesus who sacrificed his life for us, that we might have life. God provided a redeemer in Esther.

Purim reminds me to ask myself, "Who am I for such a time as this?"
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