Purim: The Holiday Commemorating Victory Over Evil By A Female: Queen Esther

PurimThroughout the Bronx, many Jewish people have started to celebrate the holiday of Purim. The night of March 4th starts the Jewish holiday and I would like to share a little information on what this holiday is about.

Purim commemorates the victory of the Jews from extermination around the 4th century BCE. The victory was brought about by Queen Esther after she “outs herself” as a Jew and, through her actions, saves the Jews of Persia from extermination by the evil Hamen (otherwise known as boo).

The ten chapter Book of Esther relates a fantastic story of honor, greed, deception, justice, irony, death, and triumph due to a Jewish feminist of many years ago. Hamen (boo) was a prominent prince in Persia and with that title, all people of the kingdom were supposed to bow in his presence. put out an order to kill all Jews  after Queen Esther’s cousin, Mordechai, refuses to bow to him.

Hamen convinces the King to go along with his plan by offering ten thousand worth of silver. Esther saves the day by being bold when she stood before the King in his royal court to ask that her life as well as all the Jews be spared.

This action was not simply asking for lives to be spared but was also her way of declaring herself Jewish. By the end of the story she is calling the shots. If you want to know what happened to Hamen (boo) read the Book of Esther or ask.

A grager, Hamen

A grager, Hamen, and hamantahen

Costumes abound as many dress up to represent the various characters in this magnificent story. During the reading of the story (the Megillah) whenever the name of the evil Hamen (boo) is said, people shout and make sounds using a grager to make noise. Jews are required to fulfill certain mitzvot to remember the significance of the day.

According to Judaic law people are supposed to:

  • Hear the Megillah, the Book of Esther
  • Exchange gifts
  • Give Tzedakah (charity)
  • Enjoy a celebratory meal

The dessert is the Hamantahen which is the shape of Hamen’s (boo) hat, triangular. It is traditionally filled with prunes or apricots. I have one of each to eat tonight.

To all who observe Chag Sameach Purim to all who celebrate, one final word about Hamen: BOO!!

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