Purim Party Time

Mar 03, 2012 No Comments by

By Ron Ross
“They tried to kill us! We won! Let’s eat!!!” This phrase is used by many to introduce the Purim holiday. (This year March 8). It is without doubt one of the most energetic and fun-filled of all Jewish holidays.

The Book of Esther (commonly called ‘the Megillah’) is read through Purim. The story is set more than 2000 years ago in Persia. The emphasis in the public reading of the Megillah is that Israel was saved from a diabolical plot. Jewish leaders are quick to point out this has been a cycle of their existence continuously.

Esther and Mordecai

King Achashverosh held a large party but his queen refused to attend. She was replaced by a new queen, Esther, the Jewess. Her uncle Mordechai uncovered a plot to assassinate the king. That information won him a position of trust in the royal court. That relationship proved particularly valuable when Haman, the King’s senior advisor, began to plot the destruction of all the Jews in Persia.

Esther courageously had that Haman-inspired decree reversed. Haman was sent to the gallows and Mordechai, who was mentor to Esther, appointed Prime Minister.

When I first experienced Purim in Jerusalem I was stunned, shocked and surprised. People throughout the city appeared to be on-the-edge, even reckless. They wore strange disguises and purple, pink or rainbow colored hair was not unusual.

I know now rabbinical teaching explains the disguise by the story of Esau and Jacob. Esau received Jacob’s blessing by disguise. By this Purim practice they say some outward activities may seem to be questionable, but in the heart the Jews remain a holy people, chosen by God.

Isaac failed to identify his own son Jacob. That did not hinder the blessings Jacob received because his heart was always known to Hashem (God).

Another explanation for the disguises and the costumes says God Himself is not mentioned throughout the Book of Esther but He is there. He positioned Mordechai and Esther to be in the right place at the right time and yet throughout the story He is the hidden, but orchestrating identity.

‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry’ is a physical Purim display of joy and appreciation. Haman planned to destroy the Jews physically. His plot was thwarted and the Jewish people celebrate with a focus on their physical rescue. They give money to the poor and provide gifts of food to their friends. They eat a festive meal and drink wine.

Haman described them as ‘a scattered and dispersed nation.’ The Purim Party explodes in the face of those words and the unity of the Jewish people is proclaimed by an open display of welfare and friendship.

Bible Blog

About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
No Responses to “Purim Party Time”

Leave a Reply