PURIM GIFTS & GIFT BASKETS
Purim is a holiday that takes us back to the first time in history a genocide against the Jews had been attempted – some 2,300 years ago.
The holiday of Purim marks the Jews’ salvation from the plot of Haman, a high officer of the Persian Empire, an advisor to King Achashveirosh. Haman’s rage against the Jews was incited by the failure of a single Jew, Mordechai, to bow before him as he passed by. Rather than seeking to do away with Mordechai alone for this slight, Haman plotted revenge against Mordechai’s entire people. Haman sought, and gained, permission from King Achashveirosh to do as he pleased against the Jews, and Haman took this license and ran with it. He legislated a pogrom that would wipe out every living Jew in the empire on a single, blood-soaked day.
Haman’s message was unmistakable: A casual roll of the dice would seal their end, while the Jews’ God would stand helplessly by.
The story is long and detailed but it ends with king asking Haman how the man the king wishes to honor should be treated. Haman, thinking the king wishes to honor him, advises making a royal parade. Does that advice get used? It surely does. But it is used to honor Mordechai, not Haman. Haman constructs a gallows to hang Mordechai. Does that gallows get used? It certainly does. But not the way Haman imagined. He himself is hanged on those gallows.
THE FOUR MAIN MITZVOT OF PURIM
1. MEGILLAT ESTHER -- we read the story of Purim in the evening and the next day. And whenever Haman is mentioned, we make as much noise as possible to blot out his name and his memory!
2. SENDING GIFTS OF FOOD to at least one friend or relative, because Purim is a time of love and friendship between Jews.
3. GIVING GIFTS OF MONEY TO THE POOR because Purim is a time of sharing and caring and helping.
4. EATING A FESTIVE PURIM MEAL – the special holiday meal eaten on Purim afternoon.
AND DON'T FORGET, PURIM IS COSTUME-TIME! We celebrate how everything can turn upside-down and into something else, and nothing is exactly what it seems to be. So start thinking about who you want to be on Purim!