Queen Esther, Purim and Her Grave!
It’s safe to say that Purim is triumphant, noisy, even rowdy, and there's a playful carnival atmosphere to this holiday which will be observed come sundown March 20-21, 2019.
Traditions vary, depending upon where in the Jewish world you are.
Picture this: Halloween on steroids.
Actually Mardi Gras on steroids.
According to Tourist Israel, Purim is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in Israel.
When you look at all of the holidays within Judaism, they seem to be strewn with solemn sacred occasions. Many holidays do command reverence in its most solemn forms, such as atonement.
Then there’s Purim.
It's the ultimate heroine story-- it could actually be a HUGE movie production, a modern (or ancient) day tale where a female star saves an entire people from the bad guy and off with his head!
Oh, you mean Wonder Woman?
We've seen this movie a million times before of course, but in this case it was a true story with a true outcome.
Of course, there were some movies made about Esther, like the 1960's Esther and the King featuring Joan Collins
Lets just say they weren't Oscar winners, but the true story did better than a trophy, it saved the entire Jewish people.
Which, of course, amounts to more than any monetary value any film can bring in.
In a nut shell, let's travel back to Persia in the year 357 BCE.
Meet the King of Persia, Ahasuerus
He's the partying type, and loves a good looking lady. His wife, Vashti, isn't holding up her end of the bargain so she is dismissed and a beauty pageant of sorts begins in Persia.
King Ahasuerus has high standards for his next wife-- looks, looks and better looks.
Mordechai, his trusted advisor brings him his niece, Hadassah.
But, she goes by Esther, which is her Persian name, Hadassah being her Jewish name. (See, we had Jewish names back then too!)
Time goes by and the two are married.
More time goes by and the prime minister of Persia, Haman, decides he hates the Jewish people and they must be 100% gone, expelled, done away with.
An ancient Hitler.
Mordechai, the trusted advisor of the King learns of Haman's plot and knows he has to do something, for he and Esther are both Jewish.
So, the two come up with a plan.
A costume themed banquet is planned, where Haman, Mordechai and the King all attend and Esther reveals her religion and Haman's ugly and disgusting plot to kill all the Jewish people.
Ahasuerus is furious at Haman!
And, off goes Haman's head.
Queen Esther (and Mordechai) save the entire Jewish people.
And for that, we celebrate and celebrate hard.
With good reason, right?
But, aside from the mandatory "get really, really drunk" at Purim is another celebration of giving mishloach manot.
In The Book of Esther it commands us to give gifts of food (or money for food) to the needy. To ensure that everyone has enough food for the Purim feast held later in the day, and to increase love and friendship among Jews and their neighbors.
The gift baskes, mishloach manot, are incredible displays of generosity.
You should see the Pinterest listings on what you can create!
In this sense, we consider Queen Esther to be the grandmother of the modern-day “goody-bag’!
Baskets of cookies, especially the buttery poppy-seed treats known as “Hamantaschen”, are a Purim classic, and lots of other favorites find their way into Purim gifts.
There are a gazillion ways of making these three corned delicacies. They only thing needed is the three corners, to represent Haman's hat.
From sweet, like the one above to the savory (think pita and hummus homentaschen see recipe here, there are many varieties and tastes to choose from.
Our suggestion: in addition to snacks and sweets that will be gone before you can say, “baruch Mordecai” (“Blessed be Mordecai”), include a gorgeous, enduring piece of Alef Bet jewelry in your special Purim gift-baskets.
Our selection includes many small treasures, such as a bendel bracelet featuring the simple red “protection” cord, clasped by a delicate hamsa in sterling silver. Or perhaps a crown necklace for your modern day princess?
Or maybe a simple chai necklace to remember the sweetness in life.
Lots to choose from, something sweet and lasting to celebrate a joyful Purim.
Wishing you all a Happy Purim.
Oh, but before we go-- this facebook video takes a visit to Queen Esther and Mordechai's grave in Persia.
Watch it here-- it is goosebump chilling cool.
Happy Purim, and please let us know how you liked this post and the video in the comment section!