At HCRJ, we celebrated Purim last Friday night. However, the actual date of Purim was on Tuesday.
Throughout the years, I have discovered that Purim is one of the most overlook holidays in the Jewish calendar year. Most non-observant Jews associate Purim with hamantaschen and carnivals, and because of its focus of fun and festivities, Purim is all too often dismissed as a children’s holiday.
The truth is that Purim is a holiday with many faces. One face is rather serious. This face is the face that helps us recall and retell our people’s struggle to overcome the forces in history which have sought to destroy us. On this level, we celebrate the lofty ideals of bravery, sacrifice, luck and fortitude.
Another face of Purim is spiritual. While God is never mentioned in the Scroll of Esther, Purim is a holiday with a powerful theological message. It teaches us that God works through us in our daily lives, and that each of us, through the choices we make, can become an instrument of God and make a true difference in the world.
Finally, Purim is playful and mischievous. It is a time to joke and be jolly, and it is in the spirit of this face that our sages suggested that we bring joy and gladness into our lives throughout the entire month of Adar.
With each of these faces, Purim serves as a timeless reminder of the fact that Jewish survival depends faith: faith in God, faith our capacities to stand up for ourselves, and faith in the idea that no matter how dark and disparaging the world can become, there is always room for laughter.