Until we started watching “What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver” I had never heard of Purim. Purim is the Jewish celebration of the story of Esther. Purim means “to cast lots.” It helps the Jews remember the day that Haman cast lots to pick the day the Jews were to be killed.
I love Mordecai’s charge to Esther in Chapter 4 verses 13-14. “Do you think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape? For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14 NIV
Mordecai realized God is faithful to His promises and that the Jews would not be eliminated even if Esther did nothing. But He also realized that Esther had an amazing opportunity and God has placed her in a position to do something. She had the choice to be used by God or to let this wonderful opportunity pass, and thankfully she chose to be used.
This past year my husband thought it would be good to learn about some of the Jewish holidays and teach them to our children. Our first one we celebrated was Purim. One day a year the Jews would forget about all their troubles and celebrate the day that their life was saved. This holiday unlike the other Jewish holidays would be celebrated by having a huge, crazy party. There would be carnivals, parades and costume parties. People would tell jokes and there would be a lot of singing and celebrating.
The costumes would symbolize the fact that the King did not know Esther’s true identity as a Jew. It also reminded the Jews that although God’s name is not mentioned in this book, He was very present and will continue to be present for years to come.
Noise makers called groggers would be made. During the party the story of Esther would be read and every time Haman’s name was mentioned the groggers would be shaken and the kids would yell to drown out his name. They would also make Haman cookies to gobble up to make Haman disappear.
Last year to celebrate I invited three families from our church. The older kids were given a part in the play. (The skit I used came from the book “A Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays” by Malka Drucker. A skit for older kids can be found in the book, “Milk and Honey” by Jane Yolen.) Each family also came with a joke or song to share for our live comedy open mic night. The kids decorated masks that represented each of the characters in the story and we made Haman cookies to gobble up at the end.
One interesting fact that we learned was Haman hated the Jews because he was a descendant of Agag, who was killed by the Israelites in battle long ago. This adds some insight into Haman’s deep level of hatred!
A fun time was had by all! We learned a lot about the background to this wonderful story and what it meant to the Jews. The kids also had a great opportunity to practice speaking and reading in front of everyone. There were many laughs – especially during the open mic time!!
Do you celebrate any of the Jewish holidays? If you are a believer, you should look into some of them. They are a part of your history too.
Here is a link to a printable describing what Purim is all about and links to resources you can use to celebrate with your family.
Printable: | Purim! |