Tuesday, March 06, 2012
HEY, IT'S PURIM. ARE YOU READY?
Purim is that overly-joyous, fun-filled holiday of masquerades, food and more food and gifts to friends and the poor. Here's your overview of what to do:
Esther was the heroine of the story- the Jewish gal who landed up in the lion's den and pulled off a massive rescue of the Jews from Haman's clutches. Although the fast is named for her, it's not the same fast she fasted. When the Jews battled Haman's cronies, they fasted (the Jewish custom was to fast when at war). We commemorate their fast with not food/ drink from dawn to dark on Wednesday.
DID YOU HEAR?
Even if your Purim knowledge is up to scratch, you need to hear the whole story read live, in the original Hebrew on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Hopefully the fellow reading it at your Shul doesn't drag it out, but even the ADD crowd can make a noise here and there when Haman's name is mentioned (he's the villain, so we want to blot out his memory).
Purim is a holiday of joy. For Jews holiday and joy must include food :) Pack at least two ready-to-eat snacks and deliver them on Thursday to a friend (more friends = more food packs). Who knows? Maybe you'll get a snack-pack back in return. (Traditionally, men give to men & women to women).
MORE THAN CHARITY
You should give charity every day. On Purim day, you are meant to give gifts to at least two Jewish poor people (or the organisations that care for them). On Purim, you should not turn anybody away empty-handed. (Remember, G-d treats us as we treat others, so try asking Him for things you need on Purim).
To commemorate the miracles of Purim (overnight turnaround of a madman in the Middle East threatening the lives of all Jews to a national holiday- that may sound familiar, so let's hope for a Purim 2012), we add the "Al Hanissim" segment to the Amidah prayers and the Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals).
HAVE A PARTY!
Thursday is the day to party with your family and friends. Set the table as if it was Yom Tov, have bread and drink a few lechaims. You should get the meal underway before sunset on Thursday, but can keep going all night long.
WHILE YOU'RE AT IT
One of the big mitzvos of Purim is to put on Tefillin. If you don't get to do it daily, make a point of donning yours on Thursday morning.
Have a wonderful, joyous Purim!