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Jewish Holy Days

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Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which usually falls sometime in February or March. Purim is such a popular holiday that the ancient rabbis declared that it alone would continue to be celebrated after the Messiah comes (Midrash Mishlei 9). All other holidays will not be celebrated in the messianic days.
The Purim Holiday received its name because Haman was angered by Mordechai when he would not kneel down to Haman. Haman then sets out to destroy the Jewish people. A pur or lottery is then placed in front of Haman to choose which day and month this would occur. When Mordecai discovered Haman’s plan to destroy the Jewish people he persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. Knowing she would be put to death for being in the king’s presence without being summoned Esther fasted for three day to prepare herself. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself. The king welcomed Esther and she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

Reading the Megillah on Purim
Reading the Purim Story from the Scroll of Esther, or known as the Megillah is the most crucial custom. The Jewish people will usually attend synagogue for the special reading. As Haman’s name is mentioned throughout the reading people will boo, howl, hoot and shake noisemakers to show their disgust for him. Listening to the Megillah reading is a commandment that applies to both women and men. Purim Costumes and Carnivals
Because this occasion is less serious than most synagogue occasions the Jewish people with attend the Megillah reading in costume. It was a tradition for people to dress up as characters from the Purim story, such as Esther or Mordechai. Although it is become a custom for people to dress up as all manner of different characters: Harry Potter, Batman, wizards, etc. Dressing up became a tradition based upon because in the story Esther concealed her Jewish identity. When the reading of the Megillah is over many synagogues will put on shpiels or plays to reenact the Purim Story. This is also done so they can make fun of the villain. Purim carnivals are often a part of this occasion as well.
Purim Food Customs
With the Purim Holiday like many other Jewish holidays, food plays a significant role. It is commanded for people to send mishloach manot to other Jews. The mishloach Manot are baskets filled with food and drink. According to Jewish law each mishloach manot must contain at least two different kinds of food that is ready to eat. Many synagogues will coordinate the sending of mishloach manot On Purim Jews are to celebrate by having a festive meal know as the Purim se’udah or meal. Serving hamantaschen (special Purim cookies) is a custom taken on by many of the Jewish people. One intriguing commandment related to Purim has to do with drinking. According to Jewish law, adults of drinking age are supposed to get so drunk they are unable to distinguish between Mordechai (a hero in the Purim story) and Haman (the villain). Those that are recovering alcoholics or have health problems are not required to participate in this custom. This drinking tradition stems from the joyous nature of Purim.
Charity on Purim
Another commandment during Purim is to be exceptionally charitable. This is often done by the giving of monetary donations to any charity they may support and or the giving of money to needy people.

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