What is the Jewish Feast of Purim?
You have learned in this month’s Discovery that many of the feasts celebrated by the ancient Jewish nation were designed to help the people remember something. The feast of Purim was designed to help the Israelites remember a time when God saved their nation from destruction. The story is told in the Old Testament book of Esther. An evil man named Haman devised a plan to have all of the Jews killed. He did not know that the queen of his land, Esther, was a Jewess (a female Jew). She pleaded with the king of Media and Persia, Ahasuerus, to ruin Haman’s plan. King Ahasuerus made a law that the Jews could fight for their freedom instead of being destroyed. On the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, all the Jews throughout the land of Media and Persia fought their enemies and defeated them. The Jews in the capital city of Shushan fought on the 13th and 14th and defeated their enemies. Because of this great victory, Queen Esther and her advisor and cousin, Mordecai, established the feast of Purim to be celebrated on the 14th and 15th of Adar, the days the Jews rested from fighting with their enemies. Many Jews today still celebrate this feast.