February 28, 2012
Purim: Are you doing it right?
Purim is a festival renown for celebration, excessive drinking and wild, outlandish costumes; or, as Chasids in Brooklyn call it, Tuesday. It’s the story of the Jews escaping genocide in Persia, marking it as the last time the region has ever made Jews uneasy. For the uninformed, I have some facts and tips below.
*The Purim story is read from Megilat Esther, named after the heroine of the story. Esther heroically took it upon herself to eventually ask the king, her husband, not to kill all the Jews. Hey, heroism was a lot easier back in the day.
*It’s considered a mitzvah to drink to the point where you cannot tell Haman from Mordecai. “Already done,” report Reform Jews.
*Hamantaschen are a traditional pastry eaten on the holiday, and are named after the ears of the villain, which were large, pointy, and apparently, delicious.
*Another purim tradition is the booing of Haman’s name with noise-makers, finally allowing eight-year-olds to boo at least 1% as much as they would like during shul.
*Dressing in costumes is traditional for Purim. If you want to confuse everyone, go as Santa.
*Before speaking to the king, Esther had all the Jews fast for three days and nights. This is commemorated today with a one day fast because, come on guys, three days is crazy.
*In many synagogues, it’s customary to put on a Purim-Spiel or satirical sketch during th holiday. This is perfect, as few people are funnier than Jews, and fewer people are easier to make fun of.
*Haman wanted to exterminate the Jews as he was furious that Mordecai would not bow before him. Earlier drafts of the story explained he would have, but oy, his knees.
*Finally, it’s worth noting that Purim is fairly well confirmed by historical research, meaning the most historically accurate event may very well be the one your dad wears his rainbow suspenders for.
Hopefully this helps you put together a successful Purim celebration. As for me? I’ll be preparing for the raucous, drunken holiday every night this weekend. It’s only responsible.