The Purim Dichotomy

Purim is this week (yay!) and I want to speak a little more about what Purim is, and what it is not. Even though children dress up and get treats, this is not Jewish Halloween. And even though a lot of adults are drinking, it is not Jewish St Pattys day.

Purim is a time to celebrate and thank God through joy. It involves elevating the physical into the spiritual. In contrast, Yom Kippur is about bringing otherworldly spirituality into our daily life. You’ll notice that Purim and Yom Kippur sound similar. Our sages say this is not an accident, that these holidays which are observed in diametrically opposed ways, both bring increased spirituality into our lives. May we see an increase in blessing for ourselves and the whole world!

I hope you enjoy my favorite Purim music video!

Purim is coming!



Hi Everyone, Spring is finally in the air, and we have just a few short weeks until Purim! Now is the time many of us are busy coming up with costume ideas and themes for the shaloch manos (gifts of food) that are given out on that day. But besides that, it is a good time to brush up on the Purim story and the underlying themes of the holiday.

To refresh your memory, King Achasverosh and his wicked advisor Haman agree on a plan that will have all of the Jews killed. The King has a new wife – Esther – with a mysterious background (she is Jewish but no one knows). Esther’s uncle Mordechai tells her she must plead with the King to save the Jews, but she is scared, and he tells her she was put in this position to help the Jews, and she risks her life to plead for her people. The King listens to her and the Jews are saved, and we commemorate this joyous time every year.

Unlike many Biblical stories, God is not really mentioned much. The name Esther gives a clue, since in Hebrew it means hidden. We say that often in this world God has a Hester Ponim – a hidden face. But as in the Purim story, if we look closely we see that God is orchestrating everything so meticulously behind the scenes. There are no coincidences, and God puts everyone into their situation for a purpose. It is up to us to discover our purpose and to do the right thing, without fear. May we all see great joy in our own lives by choosing to do the right thing, even when it is hard for us.