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23 February 2013

Purim Sameach!

5MFI Purim card

Purim fun ‘trivia’

Unlike other facts in Five Minutes for Israel these ‘facts’ are not meticulously researched but copy pasted from various sources. If they don’t stand the most rigourous examination? Hey, it’s Purim!

Tomb of Esther and Mordechai

Tomb of Esther and Mordechai,
Hamadan, Iran

  1. Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther).
  2. Purim is a joyful spring holiday that features a festive meal, gift-giving, costumes, noisemakers in the synagogue, and required drunkenness. Purim is thus sometimes nicknamed the Jewish Mardi Gras or the Jewish Halloween.
  3. God’s name isn’t even mentioned once in the entire Scroll of Esther.
  4. The longest verse in the Bible is found in the Scroll of Esther VIII: The original text contains 43 words while the English translation has 90.
  5. The day on which Purim is celebrated (14th of Adar) can never occur on, Sabbath. The 15th of Adar does occasionally fall on the Sabbath. The Jews of Jerusalem, who celebrate the 15th of Adar then must celebrate a three day Purim.
  6. Purim is such a joyous holiday that the rabbis teach it will still be observed in the messianic age, when most other holidays will be abolished.
  7. Purim has been celebrated since at least the second century CE, and probably long before.
  8. Haman’s name is read out during the public chanting of the Megillah  54 times. The congregation engages in noise making to blot out his name. The practice can be traced back to the Tosafists (the leading French and German rabbis of the 13th century).
  9. On Purim, Iranian Jews visit the tombs of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, N.E. Iran.
  10. There is also a tradition that Esther was buried at Bar’am, in Northern Israel, only 3 kilometers from the Lebanese border.
  11. King Ahasuerus is traditionally identified with Xerxes I (519 BC-465 BC) during the time of the Achaemenid empire.
  12. In a speech of Hitler on January 30, 1944, he said that, if the Nazis went down in defeat, the Jews could celebrate “a second Purim”.
  13. On October 16, as they put the noose around Nazi leader Julius Streicher’s neck, Newsweek reported: “He stared at the witnesses facing the gallows and shouted Purimfest, 1946”.
  14. In 2011, some Iranians observed Purim as a day of mourning for the ancient Persians who—according to the Iranian version of the story being broadcast by the state news agency Fars—were massacred by the Jews under the command of the Jewish Queen Esther.

If you are puzzled by the post title try standing on your head.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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