Be Happy! It’s Purim!

Adar is the month of the happy holiday of Purim, the celebration of the miracle of the story of Esther. The Sages say that in the month of Adar, joy increases. As the days grow longer and warmer and we sense the approach of springtime, our hearts begin to rise.


Called by the Name “Jew”

Though the name “Jew” has been spoken in hatred and rage, stamped on people’s arms and sown upon their chests as a badge of shame, this title for the ever-wandering descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is no byword, but a blessing. May we Jews merit to bear this name along with the Messiah, the ideal Jew of Jews.

The Enactments of Mordecai and Esther

The Torah says nothing about Purim because the story of Esther did not happen until about a thousand years later. And yet, four mitzvot of Purim are observed today. How could new commandments be given to the Jewish people so long after the revelation at Mount Sinai?

The Jews and All Who Joined Them: A Purim Celebration for All Nations

Whether or not the original writer of Esther had this intention, based on Isaiah 56, I believe this passage prophetically alludes to Gentiles who have been grafted into the olive tree of Israel. Purim is a Jewish holiday but it is also for Gentiles who have found Messiah and cast their lot with the Jewish people.

The Fast of Esther and the Spiritual Art of War

On the day before Purim, we fast from the first light of dawn until after reading the book of Esther. This fast trains us in the most ancient of all martial arts: spiritual combat. Even today, otherwise godly people fret about perceived existential threats. While evil must be opposed, let us not forget where the true battle rages.

Birds of a Feather: Haman, Amalek, and Shabbat Zachor

The Amalekites struck down not the warriors and soldiers but the weak, sick, and elderly who were traveling at the back of the pack. These were not the tactics of an army that sought to win a battle or a war but the merciless strategy of an enemy that desired to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

When Adar Enters, Joy Increases

The month of Adar offers evidence that, no matter how bad things may seem to be, they are going to get better. The same God who transformed the month of Adar from a month of mourning into a month of joy will surely transform our sorrows into joys.

For Such a Time as This

When I think of Purim, I think of the wonder and awe of God's sovereign plans for us. The theme of "For such a Time as This" perfectly pictures God's hand in the life of Esther, an orphan, reared by her uncle and then miraculously placed in the palace courts of the king.