Hebrew Language Blog

Time for Purim! Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ta’anit Esther begins in the Diaspora on:

Thu, 21 February 2013 at dawn (11th of Adar, 5773)
Thu, 13 March 2014 at dawn (11th of Adar II, 5774)
Wed, 04 March 2015 at dawn (13th of Adar, 5775)
Wed, 23 March 2016 at dawn (13th of Adar II, 5776)
Thu, 09 March 2017 at dawn (11th of Adar, 5777)
Wed, 28 February 2018 at dawn (13th of Adar, 5778)
Wed, 20 March 2019 at dawn (13th of Adar II, 5779)
Mon, 09 March 2020 at dawn (13th of Adar, 5780)
Thu, 25 February 2021 at dawn (13th of Adar, 5781)

Torah Portion: Exodus 32:11 – 34:10

  1. Exodus 32:11-14 (4 p’sukim)
  2. Exodus 34:1-3 (3 p’sukim)
  3. Exodus 34:4-10 (7 p’sukim)

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. Purim has more of a national than a religious character, and its status as a holiday is on a lesser level than those days ordained holy by the Torah. Accordingly, business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim. Before the actual celebration of Purim, there are a couple of days that are also observed that is important to the celebration and festivities.

Ta’anit Esther – תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵר

תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵר (ta-‘a-nit es-ter – The Fast of Esther) commemorates the three days that אֶסְתֵר (es-ter – Esther) fasted before approaching King Ahasuerus on behalf of the Jewish people. The original fast that אֶסְתֵר (es-ter) made was on the 14th, 15th, and 16th days of נִיסָן (ni-san – month of Nisan). They fasted on פֶּסַח (pe-sach – Passover) because אֶסְתֵר (es-ter) reasoned it would be better to fast on one פֶּסַח (pe-sach) lest they all be destroyed and thus never be able to observe the holiday in the future. Because fasting during פֶּסַח (pe-sach) would be inappropriate in almost all circumstances, the תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵר (ta-‘a-nit es-ter) became attached to עֶרֶב פּוּרִים (e-rev pu-rim – Purim eve), the 13th of אֲדָר (ah-dar). If the 13th of אֲדָר (ah-dar) falls on a Friday or Saturday, it is moved to the preceding Thursday, because it cannot be moved forward a day (which is פּוּרִים (pu-rim).

Purim – פּוּרִים
Purim eve – עֶרֶב פּוּרִים
Ta’anit Esther – תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵר
King Ahasuerus – מֶלֶךְ אֲחַשְוֵרוֹשׁ
Month of Nisan – נִיסָן
Passover – פֶּסַח
Month of Adar – אֲדָר

Purim – פּוּרִים

פּוּרִים (pu-rim – Purim) is celebrated on the day after the great battle described in the מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter – Book of Esther), which is on the 14th of אֲדָר (ah-dar).

There are four מִצְווֹת (mits-vot – requirements) at פּוּרִים (pu-rim):

1. The מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter – Book of Esther) is read out loud at synagogue twice on פּוּרִים (pu-rim – Purim): once on Purim eve and once the following morning. The scroll is called a מְגִילָה (me-gi-la – Megillah) and it contains the story of Esther. The whole story is read for people to hear. One of the most fun things about the reading is that when the name of Haman is read out, people stamp their feet and make noise with a רַעֲשָׁנִים (ra-a-shan-im – noise maker) to drown out the name of the villain.
2. Many children, and grownups too, dress up in costumes for פּוּרִים (pu-rim). There are contests for the best costume, games, plays and fun for everyone.
3. Giving מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת (mish-al-ach ma-not – gifts of food) to friends, family and neighbors is traditional. Fruit, nuts and המן טאשן (ha-man-ta-shen) are the usual gifts.
4. מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִים (ma-ta-not l’ev-yo-nim – remembering the poor) and giving to those less fortunate then you are.

During the day a passage from Exodus 17:8-16 is read in addition to the reading of the מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter). This reading tells of the Jewish victory over Amalek. Amalek was the first nation to challenge the People of Israel after the Exodus from Egypt. After the battle was won, HaShem promised to erase the memory of the people of Amalek, because they alone dared to try to destroy the Jews after knowing the miracles that HaShem had performed. The story of Purim is another example of Amalek, in the disguise of Haman, tried to destroy the people of Israel, but failed.

Purim – פּוּרִים
Mitzvot – מִצְווֹת
Book of Esther (short name) – מְגִילָה
Book of Esther (full name) – מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר
Gifts of food – מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת
Remembering the poor – מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִים
Hamantashen (Yiddish) – המן טאשן  (In Israel, they are called אוזן המן (oz-ney ha-man) meaning “Haman’s ears”)
Noise maker – רַעֲשָׁנִים

Before reading the מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter), there is a blessing for it:

Boruch Atah Adonoi Eloheinu Melech Haolom Asher Kideshonu Bemitzvotov Vetzivonu Al Mikra Megillah.
Blessed are you Adonai, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us concerning the reading of the Megillah.

Shushan Purim – שׁושׁן פּוּרִים

שׁושׁן פּוּרִים (shu-shan pu-rim – Shushan Purim) is the day on which Jews in יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (ye-ru-sha-la-im – Jerusalem) and שׁוֹשָׁן (shu-shan – Shushan) celebrate פּוּרִים (pu-rim). The מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter) explains that while the Jews in unwalled cities fought their enemies on the 13th of אֲדָר (a-dar) and rested on the 14th, the Jews in the walled capital city of שׁוֹשָׁן (shu-shan) spent the 13th and 14th defeating their enemies, and rested on the 15th.

Although מָרְדְּכַי (mor-di-kai – Mordechai) and אֶסְתֵר (es-ter – Esther) decreed that only walled cities should celebrate פּוּרִים (pu-rim) on the 15th, in remembrance of the battle in the walled city of שׁוֹשָׁן (shu-shan), the Jewish Sages noted that יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (ye-ru-sha-la-im), the focus of Jewish life, lay in ruins during the events of the מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter). To make sure that a Persian city was not honored more than יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (ye-ru-sha-la-im), they made the determination of which cities were walled by referring to ancient cities walled during the time of Joshua.

Book of Esther (full name) – מְגִילָת אֶסְתֵר (me-gi-lat es-ter)
Book of Esther (short name) – מְגִילָה (me-gil-a)
Esther – אֶסְתֵר (es-ter)
Fast of Esther – תַּעֲנִית אֶסְתֵר (ta-‘an-it es-ter)
Gifts of food – מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנוֹת (mish-al-ach ma-not)
Hamantashen (Yiddish) – המן טאשן (ha-man-tash-en) In Israel, they are called אוזן המן (oz-ney ha-man) meaning “Haman’s ears”
Jerusalem – יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (ye-ru-sha-la-im)
King Ahasuerus – מֶלֶךְ אֲחַשְוֵרוֹשׁ (ma-lak a-hash-ver-osh)
Requirements – מִצְווֹת (mits-vot)
Month of Adar – אֲדָר (a-dar)
Month of Nisan – נִיסָן (ni-san)
Mordechai – מָרְדְּכַי (mor-di-kai)
Noise maker – רַעֲשָׁנִים (ra-‘a-shan-im)
Passover – פֶּסַח (pe-sach)
Purim – פּוּרִים (pu-rim)
Purim eve – עֶרֶב פּוּרִים (e-rev pu-rim)
Remembering the poor – מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיֹנִים (ma-ta-not l’ev-yo-nim)
Shushan – שׁוֹשָׁן (shu-shan)
Shushan Purim – שׁושׁן פּוּרִים (shu-shan pu-rim)

Traditional Greetings

These greetings are used for wishing others a Happy Purim.
chag pu-rim sa-me-ach (חג פּוּרִים שָׂמֵחַ) – Joyous (or Happy) Festival (of) Purim)
hag pu-rim sa-me-ach (הג פּוּרִים שָׂמֵחַ) – Joyous (or Happy) Festival (of) Purim)
pu-rim sa-me-ach (פּוּרִים שָׂמֵחַ) – Joyous (or Happy) Purim)

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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.


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