Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

February 24, 1989 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


A Toast
To Jewish Living

/0 .004

Purim And The Hidden Hand Of God




Rabbi William G. Gershon is
associate rabbi of Congregation
Shaarey Zedek and the author of
this month's main L'Chayim feature.
For each issue of L'Chayim, a rabbi,
a Jewish educator or other notable
from the community will present an
overview of the month's theme.
"Don't worry, be happy." These
words from the title of Bobbie
McFerrin's popular hit song seem to
capture the mood and character of
Purim. The rabbis state "With the
beginning of the month of Adar we
greatly increase joy." For in this
month (on the 14th of Adar) we
celebrate the holiday of Purim,
which recalls the victory of
Mordechai and Esther over the
wicked Haman.
The name Purim means "lots,"
for Haman used a lot to decide
when to destroy the Jews. Purim is
a time of great joy and merry-
making, quite apart from kind of
celebration which we associate with
the Sh'losh Regalim, the three
pilgrimage festivals. The rejoicing of
Purim is not limited by any sense of
sacredness. It is a free expression
in carnival-like style of our absolute
and overwhelming sense of victory
over the forces of evil which seek to
destroy us.
Purim turns reality on its head
and allows us to mock ourselves for
one day of the year, by permitting
us to masquerade around behind
masks and costumes, by turning the
Torah on its head with that hilarious
genre of Purim speeches known as
"Purim Torah," by changing the
musical modalities of the prayer
services to mimic those used on the
high holidays and festivals and by
permitting us to imbibe to such an
extent that we "do not know the
difference between 'cursed be
Haman' and 'blessed be
Mordechai' " — all of which create
screaming, laughter and fun. But

Continued on Page L-3

iti° Purim Seudah Traced To Queen Esther


The decree was sealed. The
evil Haman had convinced King
Ahasuerus of Persia that the Jews
must be destroyed. The entire
Jewish community of the Persian
Empire was shaking with fear as
their prayers and supplications
begged God to make a miracle and
deliver them from the fatal decree.

At the height of the danger, the
Persian queen, Esther, held a
banquet for the king and Haman. At
this banquet, she revealed to the
assembled guests that she, too, was
a Jewess and thus was scheduled
to die by royal decree. Upon
realizing that his own wife was a

Jew, the king saw that Haman had,
in fact, given him evil counsel. The
king reversed the terrible decree
and, instead, sentenced Haman and
his sons to die on the very gallows
set up for the Jews. The miracle
occurred and the Jewish community
of the Persian Empire was saved.
In commemoration of that
banquet held by Queen Esther so
long ago, Jews throughout the world
enjoy a special seudah (meal) on
The Purim seudah, perhaps
more than any other "mitzvah" of
Purim, is most reflective of the
unique character and message of
this holiday. The meal must be
eaten and celebrated with

"simchah," joy. It is this joy that
represents the unique message of
Purim. It is through joy that one can
best develop a close and
meaningful relationship with God.
While sitting at a festive Purim
meal, with plenty of food and drink,
in an atmosphere of frivolity that
accompanies one who has been
delivered from the brink of disaster,
we recall our special, ongoing
relationship with "Hashem" (God).
The Purim seudah recalls for us
how our security and health are so
dependent on God's blessings.
Traditionally, the Purim seudah
is a time for "partying down" the
Torah way, with plenty of song,
Continued on Page L-5

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan