Purim – פורים

Hello Everyone,

We are already into the month of Adar Beth 5776 and it is said that in the month of Adar we rejoice more. In Hebrew we say:

משנכס אדר מרבים בשמחה which means

When the month of Adar comes we double our rejoicing

Purim is fast approaching. This year it falls on Thursday March 24, 2016 (Adar 14) but the feast starts on Wednesday March 23,2016  (Adar 13) after sunset.

The fast of Esther starts on Wednesday morning March 23, @ 5:48 a.m. (E.T) and ends in the evening @ 7:56 p.m.(E.T)

The Shabbath before Purim (March 19) is known as Shabbath Zachor (Shabbat ‘Remember’) as the portion “Remember what ‘Amalek did unto you” is read. It is important for all to hear this.

Both men and women are obligated to hear the Megillah reading. One who does not have a Kosher Megillah must hear every word read by the Chazzan. Prior to the reading, the Chazzan unfolds his Megillah like a letter, but the congregation read theirs like one would read a Sefer Torah.

The Megillah is read twice – first at night (March 23) then the next day (March 24). The time for the night reading is from nightfall until dawn .

The custom is to make noise at the mention of Haman’s name, to comply with the command to wipe out the remembrance of Amalek.

The holiday is called Purim after the selection process that Haman used to select the date of the Jews destruction: a lottery (or a “Pur”), using astrological forecasting. This method was supposed to result in the date that the Jews were most vulnerable to attack. In fact, this was astrologically true: The Jews were most vulnerable on the 13th of Adar. One of the miracles of Purim was that HaShem totally reversed the astrological implications of the day so that the Jews would instead be victorious. Because of this miracle that came about through the lottery, the “Pur,” the holiday is called Purim.

Esther and Hadassah  were different names for the same person:

Esther 2:7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

Hadassah is derived from the Hebrew word for myrtle.

Esther is derived from the Hebrew Istahar meaning as beautiful as the moon. Others say that Esther means hidden.

Esther is related to the word “nistar”, which means hidden, and the word Megillah which is related to the word “megaleh”, which means “to reveal”. Thus the Megillah of Esther can be literally translated as “the revelation of the hidden”.

Judaism, as the science of self-perfection, utilizes the technique of awakening one’s inner world through outer expression. When we understand the depth of these activities we can use them to develop a spiritual perspective on reality.

The word HaShem doesn’t appear openly in the Megillat, because in life the Divine remains hidden until we read between the lines of our own life-story. The very name Megillat Esther alludes to this, since in Hebrew, ”Megillat” also means revelation of, and Esther means that which is hidden. Putting the two together, Megillat Esther means revealing the hidden. This explains the custom of wearing masks and costumes on Purim: It causes those who see us to attempt to reveal that which we have hidden, since this is essence of what we all should do while reading the Megillat Esther.

There are four basic things to do on Purim and they begin with “M”:




Hear every word from the book of Esther

The book of Esther is read twice, once in the evening and again in the morning.

Mishloah Maanot

Sending food to our friends

We send two different portions of food to our friends

Matanot Le’evyonim

Giving money to poor persons

We give charity to needy people


Having a good drinking party

We have a festive meal during the day, replete with great wine!

“All prophetic books and the sacred writings will cease (to be recited) during the Messianic era, except the Book of Esther. It will continue to exist, just as the Five Books of the Torah and the Oral Torah that will never cease.” (Rambam, Megillah 2:18)

“All the holidays will cease except Purim, as it says: And its memory will not cease from their descendants” (Esther 9:28) (Midrash, Yalkut Shimoni, Mishlei 9)

Wishing you all A Very Happy Purim.

פורים שמח לכולם

2 thoughts on “Purim – פורים

  1. Pingback: Purim-פורים | Yefet's Blog

  2. Gilad Samuel

    Shalom Yefet,

    Thank you for the lovely detail of Purim. I was wondering about the derivation and translation of the name Esther. I heard that it is from the Persian language and means ‘star’, like other languages have astor, estelle, stellar, stella etc. Is there any truth to this?
    Thank you,


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