14 Adar 5779

The festival of Purim is celebrated each year on the 14th of the Hebrew month Adar (late winter/early spring). The observance commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in Ancient Persia from a deadly plot by Haman, an official in the king’s palace, who sought “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”

The story takes place in the Persian Empire of the 4th century BCE, a kingdom extending to subjects in 127 lands, including all the Jews living there. When King Ahasuerus had his wife Queen Vashti executed for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl named Esther found favor in his eyes and became queen though she refused to divulge her identity or nationality.

Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire and Mordechai, leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed. He convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.

Mordechai rallied all the Jews to repent, fast, and pray to G‑d while Esther invited the king and Haman to join her for a feast where she revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Ultimately Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister to replace Haman, and a new decree granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies was issued. 

In this Purim season 
*You are delivered from your enemies
*And it is the LORD’s decree that your enemies will fall by their own counsel.

Declare Psalm 124 over your life and the lives of family members:
“If it had not been for the LORD who was on my side . . . when men rose up against me they would have swallowed me alive as their wrath kindled against me. But no, blessed be the LORD who did not allow it, but stood between destruction and me. He made a way – created a way where there was no way. My soul escaped the snare, the snare is broken, and I (we) have escaped. My help, thank God, is in the name of the LORD who made heaven and earth.”

Amen.

Book of Esther | Psalm 124