Our Jewish friends will be celebrating Purim this week. (For 2009 Purim begins at sunset March 9 and ends at sunset on the 10th, though some apparently celebrate it for two days.)
The origin of Purim is found in the book of Esther, which is a beautiful and moving story:
In a rags to riches manner, Esther was whisked from obscurity to become queen. From her new position of access and influence, she was able to stop a plot to kill her people, the Jews. This was done at great personal risk as she could have been summarily executed. Esther’s bravery shows how one person can make a difference
To commemorate this event, an annual celebration was commanded, which is still celebrated today:
“And Mordecai recorded these things, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus, both near and far, to command them to keep the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and also the fifteenth, yearly, As the days on which the Jews got rest from their enemies, and as the month which was turned for them from sorrow to gladness and from mourning into a holiday — that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days of sending choice portions to one another and gifts to the poor.”
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