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Purim, also known as the Feast of Lots.

On Purim, we commemorate God's salvation of the Jewish people. The destruction planned by Haman, advisor to the Persian king and descendant of the nation of Amalek, known for their hatred of the Jews, was thwarted. Thanks to Queen Esther.

The Evening of Purim

We begin the festivities of Purim by listening to the reading of the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, the biblical book that recounts the Purim story. When Haman's name is mentioned, we twirl noisemakers, stomp our feet, and/or make noise because we do not want to hear his name.

Purim Day

Once again, we listen to the reading of the Megillah. Since the salvation came about through the collective efforts of the entire Jewish people, we fulfill mitzvot/actions that promote relationships among friends and help the poor. Therefore, we give at least two different types of food and/or drink to a friend and give money to at least two poor people or to charitable organizations for the benefit of the poor. Like other holidays, we partake in a special meal on Purim with family and friends to absorb the atmosphere of Purim.

Masks and Costumes

The miracle of Purim is unique because it happened through natural means. The sea did not split apart. The earth did not quake. There were no plagues. Everything happened because certain people were in the right place at the right time. God's hand was "hidden"; His help was "cloaked" in natural events. That is why in many communities, children come to the synagogue dressed in costumes on Purim, and they dress up while delivering the misloach manot, the food we send to friends. Many communities organize costume parties with this intention to celebrate this joyous day.

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