Purim Approaches!

By Rabbi David Laine

Purim—falling this year on March 21—is the festival that commemorates the breathtaking Jewish victory over the murderous designs of Haman. It’s a story of great courage and self-sacrifice—first and foremost by Queen Esther and Mordechai—and ultimately by the Jewish nation as a whole. This joyous festival reveals the hidden hand of G-d in the event of man. Haman, who descended from the Jew-hating tribe of Amalek, devised a scheme to solve the Jewish problem once and for all by annihilating every Jew. He complained to the king that the Jews celebrate too many holidays and that causes a loss to the king’s treasury. Almighty G-d ensured that after the death of the wicked Haman, the Jewish people would now add one more holiday. Modechai, a descendant of King Saul and advisor to King Achashverosh, sensed the danger. He called for his niece, Queen Esther, and told her that she must go to the king and plead for her people. Haman was defeated and the Jewish people were saved. They celebrated the holiday of Purim.


What we do on Purim

Listen to the Megillah

To relive the miraculous events of Purim, we listen to the reading of the Megillah (the Scroll of Esther) on Wednesday night—March 20— and again on Thursday—March 21—during the day. When Haman’s name is mentioned, we twirl “graggers” and stamp our feet to “drown out” his evil name. Tell the children Purim is the only time when it’s a mitzvah to make noise!


Send gifts of food

On Purim, we emphasize the importance of Jewish unity and friendship by sending gifts of food to friends. Send a gift of at least two kinds of ready-to-eat foods to at least one friend on Thursday, March 21.


Give gifts to the needy

Concern for the needy is a year-round responsibility for the Jew. On Purim, particularly, it is a special mitzvah to remember the poor. Give charity to at least two, but preferably more needy individuals.


Eat the festive meal

As on all festivals, we celebrate Purim with a special festive meal on Thursday, March 21, when family and friends gather together to rejoice in the Purim spirit.


 Make a Purim treat

Hamantaschen, a traditional Purim delight, is a three-cornered pastry.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tsps. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 lbs. mohn filling or jam

Cream sugar, oil and margarine. Add eggs and juice and mix well. Blend with dry ingredients and roll into a ball. Divide into four parts. Roll out each piece very thin on a floured board. With the rim of a cup or glass, cut into the dough to make circles. Place ½ teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle. To shape into triangle, lift up right and left sides, leaving the bottom side down and bring both sides to meet at center, above the filling. Lift bottom side up to center to meet the other two sides. Brush dough with beaten egg before baking. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Yields 4 dozen Hamentaschen.


Message of Purim

Each year, when we celebrate Purim, the miracles are remembered and reenacted in our lives. May this most joyous of Jewish festivals bring joy to you and all your loved ones.


Happy Purim!

For more information:

Rabbi David Laine- Director

Chabad Vocational Schools

T: 718-773-5670 F: 718-493-8692