In the Megillah, a Jewish woman named Esther becomes queen of the kingdom of Persia. Once in the palace, she keeps her religion a secret, at the advice of her uncle, Mordecai. Meanwhile, the evil counselor Haman, angered by Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him, secures the king’s permission to execute a plot to kill all the Jews of the empire. With extraordinary courage and ingenuity, Esther convinces the king to save the Jews, bringing about an astonishing turn of events.
Purim is a community holiday of joyful celebration. The centerpiece of Purim is the communal reading of the Megillah on the evening and morning of the holiday, where the narrative of Purim comes to life. This is a raucous affair, with boisterous costumes, along with whoops, hollers, and graggers (noisemakers) to drown out the evil Haman's name each time it is read.
The traditions of Purim include “…feasting and gladness, and time for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” (Esther 9:22) The sending of gifts is a popular tradition called mishloach manot. These baskets of at least two kinds of fruits, nuts, and Purim pastries, particularly the three cornered hamantaschen (shaped so because they resemble Haman’s hat) are sent to friends and family. Fill your Hadassah mishloach manot basket and enable the world to feast on the extraordinary work of Hadassah.
During Purim, we offer Matanot la-Evyonim (gifts to the needy) as tzedakah to enhance quality of life. Through Hadassah you can fulfill the tradition of Matanot la-Evyomin by continuing to support the extraordinary work of Hadassah and by promoting Hadassah’s life changing work to your friends, family and local community.
To learn more about Purim, visit www.myjewishlearning.com.