This week in Israel we are celebrating Purim. Thursday everyone will dress up and have parties all over the land celebrating God's deliverance through Esther from Haman and his evil plot to destroy God's chosen people.The word Purim means Destiny Change and there are four observances the Jewish people participate in during this season to bring fulfillment to this celebration.
1. Read through the book of Esther
2. Give festive sweets and food to others
3. Anonymously give gifts to the poor
4. Celebrate with a banquet or costume party
These four observances come from the interpretation of the Book of Esther. There are 2 Hebrew words ne'epach and hafuch mentioned several times in the book of Esther that carry almost identical meanings. These words mean upsidedown, reversed, or overturned. Through these words the book of Esther reflects the idea of reversing the fate of the Israelites where Haman planned to kill all the Jews of Adar. Fate was turned upsidedown and Haman was hanged on the gallows. Another interpretation comes from the idea of Esther hiding her true identity. Esther did not reveal her true identity of being Jewish to King Ahasuerus. Jewish people observe this when they give gifts to the poor anonymously. Also Mordecai put on the costume of a grieving man, sackcloth and ashes, when he heard about the decree from the king to massacre the Jews. Today Jewish people wear a variety of costumes to celebrate. These 2 days of Purim are a celebration of victory and freedom from the evil plots against the people of God and today in these turbulent times it is very appropriate.