3.22.2008

Chag Purim

This past week we celebrated another Jewish holiday. What's this one about you ask? The same as most of the other holidays: "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat". For young children, Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.

The story is told in the Biblical book of Esther. 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. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahaseurus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.

The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman to do as he pleased, and he planned to exterminate all of them.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for 3 days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her and later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. In the end, the Jewish people were saved, and Haman was hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

Purim is a holiday filled with noise. The kids had a carnival on Wednesday at their school. They made hamentashen, triangular chocolate-filled cookies in the shape of Haman's hat, they played with gragers or noisemakers, which surprisingly disappeared upon their return home..., and they dressed up with all their teachers and friends; Sheridan as a dinosaur and Riley as Cinderella (before she went to the ball).

1 comment:

Danie said...

I love the story of Esther. Cool celebration and the kids look cute in their costumes.

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