Israelis are gearing up for Purim, beginning on the evening after the Sabbath. The festival of Purim is a commemoration of Jewish deliverance from the Persian Empire, which sought their annihilation.
Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar as commanded in scripture. Jews will attend synagogues around the country on Saturday evening and read the book of Esther.
The story of the miraculous deliverance of the Jews, scattered throughout the 127 provinces of the fifth century B.C. Persian Empire, which stretched from India to Ethiopia, is recounted in the book of Esther. God miraculously used the queen, a Jew, to intervene on behalf of her people so that the decree of the king to kill all the Jews would not be carried out. Haman the Agagite, chancellor, convinced Persian King Ahasuerus, to approve a plan to murder all the Jews in the kingdom. When the
In the end, God miraculously delivers the Jews from annihilation; Haman is hanged on the gallows he prepared for Queen Esther's cousin Mordechai, who replaces him as the king's chancellor.
The name of God doesn't appear in the Book of Esther, but it is a story of His sovereign grace, orchestrating every detail as tragic events unfold and in the end the Jewish people are able to defend themselves and are delivered from death.
During the reading, it is customary to yell and make noise when Haman’s name is mentioned and cheer when Esther’s name is read. Jews also eat Hamantaschen or Haman’s ears, a pastry filled with a fruit, nut or chocolate mix. Children dress in costumes.
Throughout the centuries, there have been numerous attempts to destroy the Jewish people and today is no different. Today’s “Haman,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also of Persian descent, has openly declared his plans to wipe the State of Israel off the map.
Ahmadinejad funds Islamic terrorist groups such as Hizballah, Hamas and others, and supplies them with weapons and explosives to perpetrate suicide bombings and missile attacks against Israel.
At times like this, the story of Esther remains a source of great encouragement, giving Jews a sense of God's sovereignty, perfect timing and ultimate deliverance from those who seek their destruction.
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