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purim

unmasked 5777/2017

Rabbi Benji Levy


Design by Blimi Hadad With thanks to David Wolfowicz, Daniella Lieberman and Oritt Sinclair Twitter content written by Miriam Wartell and reproduced with permission from Chabad.org


Introduction P. 4 Section I: Taking A Deeper Look At The Megilla The Beautiful Green Monster P. 6 Killing God P. 8 The Joy Of Exile P. 12

Section II: Who’s Who In The Megilla? Esther P. 16 Haman P. 18 Mordechai P. 20 Achashverosh P. 22 Charvona P. 24

Section III: What Are We Meant To Do? Laws Of Megilla P. 27 Laws Of Matanot La’evyonim P. 28 Laws Of Mishloach Manot P. 29 Laws Of The Purim Meal

P. 29

Section IV: The Story Of Purim Via Twitter P. 31


Introduction Imagine a time when worrying is a thing of the past, enemies become friends and resources are shared equally across the globe. This is not just some hippy utopia – this image predates the 60s and depicts the Jewish vision for the Messianic Age.1 In this new and improved version of life on earth, we will not need to be reminded of previous persecutions and exiles, so the Prophets and Writings sections of the Bible (nineteen out of the twenty-four books) will no longer be needed – no more Psalms, Joshua, Ruth…you get the point. But before you start ripping out the last two-thirds of that heavy book of yours, be careful to preserve one part. The one scroll that defies our Messianic “past is in the past” attitude is none other than the Book of Esther.2

1  See for example Is. 2:4; ch. 11; and Maimonides, Hilchot Melachim. 2  See Maimonides, Hilchot Megilla 2:18. 4


Why? What makes the Book of Esther so important that it will still exist beyond the End of Days? What is it about the messages, the characters, the story and the laws, that will enhance a time that already epitomises perfection? And most importantly, if the story of Purim is that powerful, how can we tap into it today?3 These underlying questions help us to uncover deeper relevance as we study about and celebrate this eternal festival. The pages that follow are an attempt to peer beneath the mask and offer an opportunity to access some of the spirituality and profundity that is Purim. In it you will find three thought-provoking ideas about the Megilla, a brief exploration of some of its key characters, a condensed overview of the four chief mitzvot and a twenty-first century summary of the story in tweets. Through this, I hope your Purim experience will be enriched as you reveal a little more of the power and poignancy that Purim represents.

3  See Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Kedushat Levi, Purim, Kedusha Rishona for an explanation of the enduring salvation that may be achieved through Purim (and Chanukka). 5


Section I:

TAKING A DEEPER LOOK AT THE MEGILLA The Beautiful Green Monster King Achashverosh was obsessed with externalities. This is reflected in the lavish party he throws for 187 days, his attempt to parade around his wife Vashti, and in his ordering of a national beauty contest to identify an even more attractive wife. While the beauty-crazed culture in Persia is subtly criticised, it is Esther’s beauty, ironically, that saved the Jewish people from destruction. The message seems clear – like many things, beauty in and of itself is empty unless it is employed for a positive purpose. But what kind of beauty did Esther really have? Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha says that “Esther was greenish, and a thread of kindness was drawn upon her.”4 The Vilna Gaon explains this to mean that Esther needed to have the attribute of kindness in order to counteract the effect that her shocking skin tone had on others.5 According to this opinion, she was not objectively beautiful in the traditional sense of the word. Indeed, Rabbi 4  Megilla 13a. 5  Cited in Kol Eliyahu on Megillat Esther. 6


Yehoshua ben Korcha asserts that Esther’s victory in the beauty contest was not because she was more attractive than the competition.

Esther’s Competition One of the most obscure books of the Bible is the book of Job, which tells the story of a man who still clings to his faith after being tested by God in unimaginable ways. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha says that Job lived in the time of Achashverosh, bringing a proof from the end of the book: “And in all the land there were no women found so beautiful as the daughters of Job.”6 Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha reasons that the time when beautiful girls were being sought was during the generation of Achashverosh. If Job’s daughters were the most beautiful in the land at the time, why wasn’t one of them chosen to be queen? Why did they lose to the girl who was green?

It is what’s inside that counts Esther was not chosen for her physical beauty; she was chosen because she exuded a profound inner beauty which is what captivated Achashverosh. Through this insight, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha presents a startling twist on the role of beauty 6  Job 42:15. There are a range of other opinions in the Talmud as to when Job lived, including one stating that he lived in the time of Jacob, another that he lived in the time of the Judges and yet another that he lived in the time of the Queen of Sheba (Bava Batra 15b). 7


in the Book of Esther. If Achashverosh, the beauty-obsessed king, could look beyond Esther’s complexion to appreciate her inner splendour, it is imperative for us to peer beyond the physicality and appreciate different kinds of beauty in the world around us.7

Killing God The stories that shape the Jewish festivals often follow a similar pattern, reflected in an old Jewish joke: They tried to kill us, God saved us, now let’s eat! However, one thing that sets the Purim story apart from all other Holidays and the Book of Esther from all other biblical books is the glaring omission of God from the text. The Megilla is scrupulous about naming every single character that played a part in the story, so why does it not mention God? There are three obvious ways to approach this question, and each one can build on the other:

God is mentioned, but not in the normal way.

God is not mentioned because He did not take part in the miracle.

God is not mentioned even though He did take part in the miracle.

7  This may aid us in understanding the meaning behind the widespread custom of dressing up on Purim, whereby we cover our outer appearance to encourage ourselves and those around us to focus on what’s behind the mask. 8


God is mentioned, but not in the normal way One of the names we use for God is: Our King. This title is used prominently on Rosh HaShana as well as each day in the recitation of many prayers. Our sages claim that many times the term hamelech, the King, is mentioned in the Megilla, it is also referring to God (as opposed to just melech, king). Having God mentioned in the Megilla, albeit in a non-traditional way, may be comforting, but the question remains: Why is the presence of God only hinted to?

God did not take part in the miracle In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche famously declared that God is dead. Many understood that he believed that God was no longer necessary in order to provide man with meaning since science and humanism could replace religion. However, Nietzsche might have been making a much deeper point: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?”8 Nietzsche does not portray the death of God as the natural consequence of human endeavour, but rather as a deliberate act whereby humans have killed God.

8  Friedrich Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882), 125. 9


The author of the Megilla deliberately left God out of the narrative,9 essentially killing an aspect of God from the story. So our main question still remains – why?

God did take part in the miracle Before they had learned its precepts, when God offered the Torah to the Jewish people they declared “we will do and [then] we will listen.”10 Through this experience, the Jewish people converted en masse,11 and emerged like newborn children.12 Thus the original acceptance of the Torah is akin to that of children, who blindly trust their Parent without knowing all the details. After centuries of maturation, the Jews re-received the Torah, this time with a new perspective. Based on a verse in the Megilla, the Talmud relates that this occurred on Purim.13 What was it about Purim that allowed us to accept the Torah in a new way? Perhaps it was because Mordechai “killed God” and buried His explicit name through HaMelech. A child’s view of the world is very different to that of an adult. Many children view their parents and teachers as flawless. Similarly, they often view God simplistically, as a parental figure. As we grow older, we learn that our parents and teachers make mistakes like everyone else. Our understanding 9  Many believe that Mordechai was the author of the Megilla, based on the simple understanding of the phrase “And   Mordechai wrote these things” (Est. 9:20). 10  Ex. 24:7. 11  Yevamot 46b; Keritot 9a. 12  Yevamot 62a. 13  Shabbat 88a; based on the verse “The Jews ordained and took upon them” (Est. 9:27) 10


of the world, and how it works, becomes more sophisticated. At the same time, however, we often retain a less complex view of God, as we don’t truly challenge ourselves to examine this area of our lives with sophistication. Childhood dies when adulthood is born and so, to truly grow, we must kill our preconceived notions of God. As we develop, we must delve into more sophisticated and philosophical facets of the Creator and ourselves. What one learns of God as a five-year-old is a dimension of God, but if God remains one-dimensional, so does one’s approach to Him. Mordechai “killed” the God of our collective childhood, allowing us to realise that God is HaMelech, the King, who is distant and distinct, but at the same time, approachable, real and present in the world. The latter needs to be uncovered through effort, in the same way that any relationship requires work. This realisation is what enabled us to accept the Torah anew. As we grow in every sense, we are called upon to sometimes kill previous paradigms and approaches, and must establish new ones that enrich our lives and the world around us.

11


The Joy of Exile Hallel is recited when the Jewish people are miraculously saved and there is an opinion that it was recited by Mordechai and Esther when they were facing Haman.14 However, for some reason, we don’t recite Hallel on Purim. One opinion suggests that this is because the miracle of Purim took place outside of the Land of Israel and another that the Megilla is considered a form of Hallel.15 However, the miracles associated with Pesach also took place outside of Israel and the Haggada is even more of a Hallel than the Megilla, given that it actually contains Hallel – so what is the difference between these two Holidays, and why do we get to celebrate with Hallel on Pesach and not Purim? The first difference can be seen in the opening scene of each narrative. On Pesach we were slaves (Avadim Hayinu), while on Purim we were invited to the king’s party (asah mishteh), along with representatives of many other peoples.16 Historians have identified Achashverosh as either Artaxerxes I or Xerxes I.17 However, both of these kings lived more than half a century after Cyrus 14  Pesachim 117a. 15  Megilla 14a; the opinions cited are in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Nachman. A third opinion is given in the name of Rava which states that we remained servants to Achashverosh, which strengthens the thesis of this article. 16  An opinion in Tractate Megilla (12a) states that it was the Jews’ assimilation, exemplified at the party where they indulged in non-kosher food, that led to their near destruction. 17  See p.13 below. 12


the Great, who issued the edict allowing the Jews to return to the Land of Israel. This means that the Jews were not in forced exile from their land during the Purim story. So why were they in Persia and why were they at Achashverosh’s party? When Cyrus the Great recognised the Jews’ right to return to their homeland (which had become a vassal state of Persia), he did not command them to make use of this right. Whoever wanted to return to Israel could return, and whoever wanted to remain in Persia could stay and continue to function as important members of Persian society. Like Diaspora Jews today, the majority of Jews chose to stay in Persia where they were comfortable, while only a small number returned to Israel with Ezra to rebuild the Temple.18 Achashverosh noticed that nearly seventy years after his grandfather had allowed the Jews to return to the Land of Israel, they had chosen to stay in exile, and he made a party to celebrate this. When we read the Megilla in this light, the entire tone changes. It now serves as a condemnation of the Jews who did not take advantage of the call of redemption and who opted to stay in exile, drinking wine from the vessels of the Holy Temple.19

Imperfect Redemption While both Purim and Pesach took place outside of the Land of Israel, the underlying intention of 18  The Book of Ezra indicates a return of around 45,000 people, which was approximately 10% of the Jewish population. 19  In Tractate Megilla (19a) it is stated that the “different kinds of cups” (Est. 1:7) were indeed the looted vessels of the Temple and to commemorate this, the tune used for this line is from the Book of Lamentations. 13


the Pesach story was to arrive in the Land of Israel, while the intention regarding the festival of Purim was to remain in exile. Many Jewish commentators have noticed that whenever we get comfortable in exile, we are sent a reminder that we are not where we are meant to be.20 One of our greatest challenges is sometimes not crisis, but comfort. In modern history, it was after we were afforded equal standing in Spain, Poland and Germany that we suffered an inquisition, pogroms and the Holocaust. One of our first tragic instances of complacency was the Purim story. Not only were we comfortable in exile, but we actively shunned redemption, which is why God sent us (through Haman) a decree of annihilation, causing us to remember our unique identity and sense of peoplehood and ultimately prevail. This is an additional reason that Purim outlives the Messianic Age, as was highlighted in the introduction – to teach that even when living in a time of redemption, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of complacency. Purim takes place one month before Pesach, to emphasise the contrast between the two redemptions.21 We may have been saved on Purim, but Pesach is what redemption truly looks like – a time when we are trying to connect to our Torah, our people and our land. Seen in this light, Purim is a springboard to Pesach, challenging us to question who we are before we set out on the journey beyond. 20  See for example Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook, Mo’adei HaRe’iyah, 67-70; and Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk in Meshech Chochma on Lev. 26:44, who chillingly criticised the Jews of the early twentieth century, saying that they believed “Berlin was Jerusalem” and said that “from a place such as that, our destruction will ultimately come.” 21  This is the conclusion of a dispute in Tractate Megilla (6b). 14


SECTION II:

WHO’S WHO IN THE MEGILLA? Esther Haman Mordechai Achashverosh Charvona 15


Name: Aliases: Place of Birth: Quirky Facts:

#Esther

About:

16


1 The Book of Esther (2:7) actually lists the name Esther second when introducing this character. There is some debate among scholars, but most see Esther as a Persian name that she adopted. The name Esther also means “hidden” in Hebrew and may reflect how Esther had to hide her Jewish identity before the king and the general theme of hiddenness in the Megilla, including the omission of God’s name; see “Killing God” above, p. 8. 2 The Book of Esther (2:7) initially refers to Esther by the name Hadassah. This is a Hebrew name similar to hadas, which means myrtle. This may be a reference to her green/olive complexion as discussed in “The Beautiful Green Monster” above, p. 6. 3 While she is not explicitly called by this name, which means “doe of the dawn,” the Talmud (Yoma 29b), based on Psalms (ch. 22), compares Esther to the breaking of the dawn, for “just as dawn arrives at the end of every night, so, the miracle of the Book of Esther comes at the end of all miracles.” 4 This statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha in Tractate Megilla (13a) may not have been literal, but rather expresses a deeper idea about true beauty; see “The Beautiful Green Monster” above, p. 6. 5 The Book of Esther (2:7) describes Esther as the daughter of Mordechai’s uncle, which would make her his first cousin. The verse also assigns Mordechai the role of adoptive father, stating that he raised Esther. In Tractate Megilla (13a), the word bat (daughter) is rendered as bayit (house), which is used as a euphemism for one’s wife. The popular notion that Esther was Mordechai’s niece is not found in the text of the Megilla or in any other traditional Jewish text. It may derive from Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews IX:198) who refers to her as his niece, and later rabbinic texts which refer to Esther as Mordechai’s niece may have been influenced by the translation in the Latin Vulgate Bible, which renders Esther filiae fratris “his brother’s daughter.” 6 The Talmud (Megilla 14a) lists seven prophetesses, namely, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther.

17


Name: Aliases: Place of Birth:

Quirky Facts:

#Haman

About:

18


1 Memuchan is an advisor mentioned at the start of the Megilla (Est. 1:16). He advises Achashverosh to kill Vashti for her refusal to parade herself around at his party. Achashverosh accepts this advice, ultimately setting the story in motion. The Talmud (Megilla 12b) identifies Memuchan as Haman. Other sources seem to indicate that Memuchan was the prophet Daniel, who lived at the same time; see Me’am Loez on Esther; Manot HaLevi ad loc.; Tosafot on Megilla 12b. 2 The Talmud (Megilla 16a) records a lengthy exchange between Mordechai and Haman that takes place when Haman is forced to reward Mordechai, leading him on the king’s horse throughout the city. In preparation for the reward, Haman cuts Mordechai’s hair, and we are told that prior to his life in politics, “for twenty-two years Haman was a barber in Kefar Karzum.” While the exact location of Kefar Karzum is unknown, its name suggests it as a small village, perhaps in the Land of Israel. 3 In the Book of Esther (3:1) Haman is called “the Agagite,” a descendant of the Amalekite King Agag who was killed by the prophet Samuel (I Samuel 15:33). This means that even if Haman himself was born in Persia, his roots were certainly in Canaan. 4 See note 2. 5 The Rema on the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 690:17) quotes the Abudarham who mentions the custom to make noise when Haman’s name is read out. Some do this at every instance, while others only make noise when Haman’s name is mentioned in full. 6 A major theme of the Megilla is the complete turnaround of the events. The Book of Esther refers to this phenomenon as venahafoch hu, “and it was turned to the contrary” (9:1), and it is the underlying idea behind certain customs such as dressing up in costumes on Purim.

19


Name: Aliases:

Place of Birth: Quirky Facts:

#Mordechai

About:

20


1 The Talmud (Megilla 10a) considers this name to be a compound of the words mira dachya, the Aramaic version of mor dror, which means pure myrrh (one of the sweet spices in the incense mixture in the Temple). 2 The name Marduk, or variations thereof, was fairly common in ancient Babylonia and Persia. There is an undated Aramaic text which mentions an accountant of the King of Susa (Shushan) by the name of Marduku. Some have tried to argue that this is none other than Mordechai from the Purim story. See C. A. Moore, “Archaeology and the Book of Esther,” The Biblical Archaeologist 38, No. 3/4 (1975): 62-79. 3 Straight after it lists Mordechai’s name as one of the important men who returned from exile with Zerubbabel, the Book of Ezra (2:2) mentions a man named Bilshan. The Talmud (Menachot 65a) identifies this as Mordechai’s second name, which means “master of languages.” As a member of the Sanhedrin, Mordechai was required to understand the seventy common languages of the world, but he held special distinction over his colleagues as he could also understand those who were unable to speak. 4 The Book of Esther (2:6) explicitly states that Mordechai had been exiled by Nebuchadnezzar some seventy years prior to the Purim story. 5 This riveting midrash appears in Yalkut Shimoni 856 and portrays a complex history between the arch-villain and the hero of our story. In this account, Haman cannot exact personal retribution on Mordechai as he is indebted to him for saving his life; see Nissan Mindel, The Complete Story of Purim (Literary Licensing, LLC, 2012), for a deeper exploration. 6 The Talmud (Menachot 64b-65a) makes it clear that Mordechai was a member of the Sanhedrin. Since members of the Sanhedrin were required to be of an advanced age (Sanhedrin 19a), it can be assumed that Mordechai was elderly at the time of the Purim story.

21


Name: Aliases: Place of Birth: Quirky Facts:

#Achashverosh

About:

22


1 The name that the Megilla gives the king is the subject of great debate. While the common historical identifications of this king are mentioned here, the Seder Olam Rabba (30) and Tractate Rosh Hashanah (3b) cite Artachshasta (another name for Achashverosh) as a title for the Persian kings, similar to Caesar or Pharaoh, rather than a first name. For a discussion of this fascinating debate between classical historians and the sages, see Chaim Navon, Teiku (Tel Aviv: Yedioth Aharonoth Books and Chemed Books, 2014), 12. 2 Ruling from 486-465 BCE, Xerxes I was the grandson of Cyrus the Great. Cyrus was the king who issued the edict allowing the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. The identification of Achashverosh with Xerxes I is primarily based on the linguistic similarity between the name Achashverosh and the original Persian form of Xerxes, Khshyarsha. See G. Law, Identification of Darius the Mede (North Carolina: Ready Scribe Press, 2010), 95. 3 Artaxerxes I was the son of Xerxes, and he ruled from 465-424 BCE. Although Josephus identifies Artaxerxes with Achashverosh, it is unlikely that this is accurate due to the fact that Artaxerxes reigned a significant amount of time after the edict of Cyrus the Great. For an insight regarding the time line of the Jewish exile, see “The Joy of Exile” above, p. 12. 4 The Talmud (Megilla 12b) records that Achashverosh had been the stableboy for the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, and he seized power during a time of political instability. To consolidate his power, Achashverosh married the daughter of Belshazzar, Vashti. The Talmud recounts that she mocked him over his humble beginnings, and this eventually led to his decision to have her executed. 5 The term hamelech, “the king,” appears 183 times in the Megilla. Some of the sages explain that many instances of hamelech are references to God, whose name does not appear explicitly in the Megilla. For a full discussion of this, see “Killing God” above, p. 8.

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Name: Aliases: Place of Birth: Quirky Facts:

#Charvona

About:

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1 Initially listed at the start of the Megilla (Est. 1:10) along with the other advisors of Achashverosh, Charvona appears to be an insignificant character with a regular Persian name. 2 The Midrash (Esther Rabba 10:9) states that Elijah the prophet is the hero who steps in at the end of the Megilla using the name of Charvona in order to deliver the final blow to Haman. Interestingly, his name is spelled differently in the two places that it appears. The first time it appears with an aleph at the end, and the second time with a heh. This could be because they are two different characters, the former a non-Jewish advisor to the king, and the latter, Elijah. 3 Little is known of Charvona’s personal life. This fits well with the opinion that he really was Elijah the prophet, with Charvona being a completely fictitious identity. 4 The Talmud (Megilla 16a) says that Charvona was a wicked man in the counsel of Haman and that he switched sides when he saw that Haman’s plan was not successful. 5 The importance of Charvona is seen most prominently in the hymn “Shoshanat Yaakov,” recited at the end of the Megilla reading, which states, “And also remember Charvona for the good.” Despite his apparent insignificance in the Megilla, this song has contributed to the widespread acceptance of Charvona as a hero.

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SECTION III:

WHAT ARE WE MEANT TO DO? There is a famous song, taken from the words of the Talmud, which goes: Mishenichnas Adar marbim besimcha, which can be understood as, “He who enters [the month of] Adar [with joy], has his joy increased.”1 There is no stipulation as to how this joy should be increased, perhaps in order not to limit or define how each individual increases happiness during this time. The day prior to Purim is called the Fast of Esther, when we fast to commemorate the Jewish people uniting and fasting for success in the war during those times,2 as well as Esther’s fast before she saw King Achashverosh,3 and to prepare with seriousness prior to the levity of Purim.4 When Purim falls on Saturday night the fast takes place on Thursday.5 On this day, one should give three fifty-cent coins

1  Taanit 29a. 2  Sheiltot D’Rav Achai Gaon, 67; Rabbeinu Tam cited in the Rosh on Megilla 2a. 3  Zedekiah ben Avraham, Shibbolei HaLeket 194; Asher ben Yechiel, Orchot Chayim, Megilla V’Purim 25. 4  Yosef Karo, Beit Yosef, Magid Mesharim Vayakhel 141. 5  Maimonides, Hilchot Taanit 5:5; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 686:2. Most hold that the fast is not an obligatory mitzva and therefore (especially when it is moved to the Thursday), pregnant and nursing women, someone who is sick and someone who experiences significant pain from fasting should consult a rabbi for a dispensation not to fast. One is allowed to shower and brush their teeth (as long as they do not swallow) on this fast day. 26


to charity in memory of the half-shekel (zecher lemachatzit hashekel) that used to be donated during Temple times in the month of Adar.6 There are four main mitzvot of Purim, best known as the four Ms: Mikra Megilla (reading the Megilla), Matanot La’Evyonim (gifts to the poor), Mishloach Manot (gifts to friends) and Mishteh (Purim feast). Besides for the Megilla, none of these mitzvot require a specific blessing, just like all other mitzvot that pertain to the relationships between people, such as tzedaka (charity). One reason for this is that our good deeds to others should not be dependent on the fact that we are commanded to do them, but rather they should be intuitive and come out of an expression of love and friendship.7 The following are three brief refreshers for each of the four Ms:

Megilla:

8

Twice to make sure.

Women and men are obligated to hear the Megilla twice – once at night and once during the day. 6  Maimonides, Sefer Hamitzvot, positive commandment 171. The tradition among Ashkenazim is to give a half of the local currency per coin as stated above, therefore, half a shekel in Israel for example would suffice. Among Sefardim, the custom is to give the current value of a silver half shekel, which today is the equivalent of approximately 18 shekels in Israel. 7  Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, Seridei Esh on Megilla 9a; Maimonides, Hilchot Berachot 11:2. 8  The laws concerning the reading of the Megilla are the most extensive of any of the laws of Purim. They can be found in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 787-792. 27


The art of listening. After the blessings are recited, everyone should answer “amen” and refrain from speaking until the reading is complete and the concluding blessings are recited.

Don’t want to miss a thing.

We have to be careful to hear every word of the Megilla or we will need to hear it again.

Matanot La’Evyonim:

9

One plus one is two.

On Purim day, women and men must give charity to at least two needy people. Once we have given matanot la’evyonim, on Purim it is appropriate to give some money to any other poor person who asks, without inquiring as to how much they really need it.

Food is always the answer.

Since the mitzva is to make sure that the poor have what they need for the Purim meal, one may give food for the Purim feast instead of money, however, one may not give clothes or other items that cannot be used for the feast.

I nominate the Rabbi.

The money should ideally reach the poor on Purim day itself and not afterwards. Since it can be difficult to find two needy people on the day, most shuls collect money and the Rabbi distributes it on the day. 9  Ibid. 794. 28


Mishloach Manot:

10

Two for one.

Both women and men are obligated to give two different types of food to one friend during the day of Purim.

Ready to go.

You can give lollies, but should try to give food that can be eaten as part of the meal. The food should ideally be ready to eat or in a state that can be easily prepared on the day.

Send regards.

A shaliach (messenger) can deliver the gift on your behalf, however, Mishloach Manot must reach the recipient on Purim day.

The Purim Meal:

11

Food is a sign of happiness.

We have a festive meal on the day of Purim to express joy over the miracle of Purim. One should try and eat meat during the meal, though if one does not derive joy from eating meat one should prepare other foods that make one happy. Someone of legal age should drink more wine than they usually do at a meal. 10  Ibid. 696. 11  Ibid. 29


Time to break bread.

One should not eat alone – the seuda should be held in the company of others, as having more people together increases joy. One should ideally wash one’s hands and eat bread in order for the meal to constitute a halachic seuda.

Miracle of miracles.

Part of the meal should be dedicated to being grateful. Like during the Amida on Purim, we recite the Al HaNisim blessing in Birkat HaMazon (Grace after Meals) even if it is said after sunset (after Purim is officially over).

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SECTION IV:

THE STORY OF PURIM VIA TWITTER

For those of you who don’t know twitter...… @ = directed at someone specific. 31


AchashveroshAdvisor1

HadassahEsther:

@JewsofShushan PARTY AT THE PALACE!

I’m not going.

KingAchash:

Royal Guards:

@AllAdvisors Bring Vashti ASAP #ShowOffTheWife

@HadassahEsther You must come with us.

QueenVashti:

Heigai:

@Advisor2 I ain’t goin’ nowhere…

@WomenofShushan Makeup counter is to your left.

KingAchash:

KingAchash:

Time for a new wife!

Picked my new wife! #Esther

AchashveroshAdvisor1:

HadassahEsther:

@WomenofShushan All the single ladies must come to the palace #UglyNotIncluded

:(

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B&S

MordiJew:

KingAchash:

@HadassahEsther I am sitting by the gate #WatchingYou

@Haman You’re gonna be my right-hand man

Bigsan&Seresh:

Haman:

Guess what we’re up to!?

@KingAchash Sweet! Everyone is going to have to bow to me now #Power

MordiJew:

MordiJew:

@HadassahEsther Bigsan and Seresh out to kill your hubby

@Haman Not gonna bow #JewsDon’tDoThat

HadassahEsther:

Haman:

@MordiJew Will let him know, thanks.

Problem solved #GetRidofJews

KingAchash:

Haman:

@KingAchash Those Jews are awful. Can I kill them?

Mordechai saved my life #Chronicles

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HadassahEsther:

KingAchash:

@Haman Sure, why not.

@KingAchash @Haman Please come over for a dinner party

AchashveroshAdvisor:

KingAchash:

13th day of Adar- Jews are going down!

@ HadassahEsther Sure

MordiJew:

Haman:

Oy! #JewsNeedToFast

@ HadassahEsther Free food, I’m there!

HadassahEsther:

KingAchash:

@MordiJew OMG!

Dinner with the wife and right-hand man #Awesome

MordiJew:

KingAchash:

@ HadassahEsther Esther, talk to the king!

@HadassahEsther What can I do for you, Esther?

34


HadassahEsther:

KingAchash:

@KingAchash Come over tomorrow with @ Haman for another dinner party

@Advisor2 Yes, what did he get?

Haman:

Advisor2:

Saw Mordechai today, he still wouldn’t bow! #BuildingaGallow

@KingAchash Nothing, Sir.

KingAchash:

KingAchash:

I can’t sleep

@Haman Tell me, what shall be done for a man the king wishes to honor?

KingAchash:

Haman:

@Advisor2 Read me my chronicles

The king must be talking about me #Awesome

Advisor2:

Haman:

@KingAchash I opened the book. Remember the time Mordechai saved your life?

@KingAchash Let him wear the king’s royal robes and a crown. Let him ride the king’s royal horse.

35


Haman:

KingAchash:

@KingAchash Let him wear the king’s royal robes and a crown. Let him ride the king’s royal horse.

@ HadassahEsther Who would do such a thing!?

KingAchash:

HadassahEsther:

@Haman Nice! Find Mordechai the Jew and do what you said #NiceGuysGetRewarded

@KingAchash Your wicked advisor @Haman!

Haman:

KingAchash:

Horrible day! At least I get another free dinner tonight #DinnerAtThePalace

Hanged Haman today. #EvilGuysAlwaysGetFoiled

KingAchash:

@JewsAroundTheWorld

@ HadassahEsther Great dinner, now what can I do for you?

Don’t forget to fulfill the mitzvot of Purim! Listen to the Megilla, have a Purim meal, send gifts of food (mishloach manot), and give gifts to the poor.

HadassahEsther:

@KingAchash Please spare my life and the life of my people!

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Profile for MoriahJLife

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