Purim in 2023 starts on Monday, March 6th, and ends on the evening of Tuesday, March 7th. As you probably know, this is not a public holiday but a Jewish holiday that commemorates the delivery of the Jewish people from oppression and tyranny in the Persian Empire, which then spread over “127 lands” and is recounted in the Book of Esther (4thcentury BCE).
Esther rose to be Queen of Persia but failed to disclose to the King that she was Jewish. Her mentor was Mordecai, leader of the Jews and Esther’s cousin. Haman, the King’s Prime Minister, is determined to destroy the Jewish community in Persia because Mordecai refuses to bow down to him. He picks a date by lottery. However, his plans are foiled by Esther. With Mordecai’s counsel, she reveals to the King that she’s Jewish and exposes and denounces Haman’s intent. This turns the tables on the oppressor, and instead of being the focus of Haman’s decree, the Jews are able to “destroy their enemies by royal proclamation.” Mordecai is appointed Prime Minister.
Go to our YouTube channel–the Rabbi David Gellman Show–for a reading of the Book of Esther and an explanation of the holiday.
The day before Purim is often a day of fasting, but Purim is considered a joyous community celebration and is usually marked by reading from the book of Esther in the evening and the following morning. It is also celebrated by giving mutual gifts of food and drink to friends (two gifts are the tradition), plus two gifts of food, money, or clothing to the poor. It’s also traditional to enjoy a festive, joyous meal with family and friends of meat and wine (and other intoxicating beverages!)— and children and adults often dress up in masks and costumes—usually from the Purim story.
This year for the first time we’re celebrating online—and I hope you’ll come in costume.
If you’re in the GTA and need masks or something for parties—(weddings as well—especially if you’re a fan of vintage!). Reflections (Vintage) have some amazing masks.
You can check out their wares online (thanks to Dominique and Karen, proprietors for the mask photos) or in person at the store—here’s the link: to view vintage and new theatrical costumes, clothing, and accessories.