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Archive for February 14th, 2009

What is Purim?  What are its origins?  Who celebrates Purim and why?  All these questions are answered in the following article, originally posted by Vic at:

http://www.seekgod.ca/forum/showthread.php?tid=160
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Purim

Purim is recorded in the the book of Esther in the Scriptures and was focused on the Jewish people and states clearly concerning the remembrance of Purim, in Esther 9:26-32, “The Jews ordained, and took upon them,” and “as they had decreed for themselves…”.It originally was viewed as non-religious and in an article “Purim”, written by Kaufmann Kohler and Henry Malter for the Jewish Encyclopeidia.com

“…Aside from the much-mooted question whether Purim is of Jewish or of heathen origin, it is certain that, as it appears in the Book of Esther, the festival is altogether devoid of religious spirit—an anomaly in Jewish religious history. This is due to the worldly spirit of the Book of Esther. The only religious allusions therein are the mention of fasting in iv. 16 and ix. 31, and perhaps the expression of confidence in the deliverance of Israel in iv. 14. This secular character has on the whole been most prominent in this festival at all times. Like Ḥanukkah, it has never been universally considered a religious holy day, in spite of the fact that it is designated by the term “yom-ṭob” (Esth. ix. 19, 22.). Accordingly business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim, although in certain places restrictions have beenimposed on work (Shulḥan ‘Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 696).

… It seems, therefore, that the observance of Purim was at first merely of a convivial and social nature. Gradually it assumed religious features….

The first religious ceremony ordained for the celebration of Purim is the reading of the Book of Esther in the synagogue, a regulation ascribed in the Talmud (Meg. 2a) to the “Men of the Great Synod,” of which Mordecai is reported to have been a member…” 1

From the article Legend of Hanukkah>

… In Rabbi Hyam Maccoby’s, Revolution in Judaea, and as discussed in the article, To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II : The Bible & The Talmud, he noted that:

In the volume, Josephus, the historian, also contrasts the views of the Pharisees and Sadducees regarding the Oral Law:

“…the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses; and it is for this reason that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, and not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. ” 22.

In defense and support of the Pharisees, Hyam Maccoby adds this tribute to their preservation and multiplying of religious rituals and traditions:

“The Pharisees added new Festivals (Chanukah and Purim) to the Jewish religious year; they added to the canon of Scripture…they added new doctrine to Judaism…they added new rites to the Temple worship…as well as being continual creators of new prayers and ceremonies in the synagogue.” 23.” 2

From the Wisdom of Kabbalah newsletter and their online site kabbalah.info, Purim is discussed in the article The Inner Purim:

“Purim – the holiday of opposites – joy vs. grief, concealment vs. disclosure, Mordechay vs. Haman, genocide vs. redemption…

A Kabbalist is a person who seeks deep inside the causes for the events in his life . It is evident to him that whatever it is he is about to discover, already lies within him, waiting. All he has to learn is how to come in contact with the force that makes things happen. That force will lead and guide him to control the future events of his life, his personal happiness and the bounty that will flow through him to the whole of mankind.

In the eyes of Kabbalah, Megilat Esther tells of the forces that unfold in the innermost parts of man. Forces that tell of what one discovers with one’s relationship with the Creator, the forces that guides the events of everybody’s life. These forces are called Mordechay, Esther, Haman, etc. …
Mordechay, the inner force within a Jew, which wants nothing more than to cling to the Creator and worship Him, lived happily and the kingdom was at peace…

The evil Haman, who represents the egotistical in us, the opposite of the Jew, wants to exploit the situation for self gain. He eventually wants to overthrow the king from his thrown.

He believes that the fact that the Jews are dispersed testifies to their weakness, confusion and lack of faith. Therefore he finds the situation to be a rate opportunity to eliminate the Jews from the face of the earth, as they are the sole force that stands between him and exploiting the Creator. …

What Haman fails to understand, however, is that the Jews are dispersed for a reason. It stems from the fact that the people of Israel has risen to a higher level now.

That higher level means a direct and open contact with the Creator. A bond so open, no one will be able to deny. Indeed we see the truth of it when at the end of the story, all peoples reform. The meaning is that all the desires in man, called Peoples, accept the main force that leads to confidence and happiness, called Israel. ….The Jew in a man is limited. That limitation can only be overcome by the evil Haman. That is why we need to find the Haman within us. ….”3

As we can see, purim has religious and mystical meaning to those practicing Judaism.

The question would be: Why are those who claim to believe the New Testament and Jesus Christ, involving themselves in these things? Eyerub

endnotes:

1 http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.j…3&letter=P
2. http://www.seekgod.ca/legend.htm
3. http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/holidays…_purim.htm

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