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Celebrate Purim

Let the People Rejoice
Let the People Rejoice
Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

In the year 5774, or 2014 according to the Gregorian calendar, a special celebration will begin at Sunset, March 15, and conclude at nightfall, March 16. It celebrates one brave girl who made a decision to risk her life to save her entire People. Her name was Hadassah, but in the land she lived in, she was called Esther.

The main players in this historical drama are real. Mordechi was Ester's doting uncle, who also was highly favored at King Ahasuerus' court. The villain was called Hamen, a jealous, conniving power player who sought to rid Persia of the Jewish people. He hated Mordechi because he would not bow to Hamen. Young Queen Esther was the most beloved wife of the King, although she was secretly Jewish, as her Uncle had cautioned her not to reveal her real identity. Sounds like many plot twists in a good novel? This story is true.

In Esther 3:8 we read that Hamen, who had the King's ear, whispered: "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them."

A King is a King, and wants to be obeyed. Not knowing that his beloved Queen was Jewish, “the king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.”

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai. []

This is the weekend of a great celebration, where we celebrate one brave girl's decision to be used by God for 'such a time as this.'

The twentith century has seen two significant figures who have threatened the Jewish people, and there are echoes of Purim in their stories.

“Many have noted the echoes of Purim in the Nuremberg war crime trials. In the Book of Esther, Haman's ten sons were hanged (Esther 9:13); in 1946, ten of Hitler's top associates were put to death by hanging for their war crimes (including the crime of murdering 6 million Jews). An 11th associate of Hitler, Hermann Göring, committed suicide the night before the execution, a parallel to the suicide of Haman's daughter recorded in the Talmud (Megillah 16a). There are rumors that Göring was a transvestite, making that an even more accurate parallel. One of the men seems to have been aware of the parallel: on the way to the gallows, Julius Streicher shouted "Purim Fest 1946!" See: The Execution of Nazi War Criminals. It is also interesting that, in the traditional text of the Megillah (Book of Esther), in the list of the names of Haman's sons, the letters Tav in the first name, Shin in the seventh name and Zayin in the tenth name are written in smaller letters than the rest. The numerical value of Tav-Shin-Zayin is 707, and these ten men were hanged in the Jewish year 5707 (the thousands digit is routinely skipped when writing Jewish years; there are no numerals for thousands in Hebrew numbering). They were not hanged on Purim, though -- they were hanged on Hoshanah Rabbah.

Another echo of Purim is found in the Soviet Union a few years later. In early 1953, Stalin was planning to deport most of the Jews in the Soviet Union to Siberia, but just before his plans came to fruition, he suffered a stroke and died a few days later. He suffered that stroke on the night of March 1, 1953: the night after Purim (note: Jewish days end at sunset; you will see March 1 on the calendar as Purim). The plan to deport Jews was not carried out.
A story is told in Chabad (Lubavitcher Chasidic Judaism) of that 1953 Purim: the Lubavitcher Rebbe led a Purim gathering and was asked to give a blessing for the Jews of the Soviet Union, who were known to be in great danger. The Rebbe instead told a cryptic story about a man who was voting in the Soviet Union and heard people cheering for the candidate, "Hoorah! Hoorah!" The man did not want to cheer, but was afraid to not cheer, so he said "hoorah," but in his heart, he meant it in Hebrew: hu ra, which means, "he is evil"! The crowd at the Rebbe's 1953 gathering began chanting "hu ra!" regarding Stalin, and that night, Stalin suffered the stroke that lead to his death a few days later. [[]

Enough history! Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. Let us continue to rejoice as Israel is in the Land, and those dispersed are still making their way home.

In Bradenton, Florida, there are those that love the Jewish people, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and pray for the land. After Purim, Passover will soon be celebrated with the dynamic worship leader Paul Wilbur, at Christian Retreat Family Church on Friday April 18, 2014. Currently, evangelist Joan Pearce is speaking Friday 3.14.14 at 7 PM in the Tabernacle, and on Saturday morning she will be taking a large group to the streets to share about the Lord, and pray for needs.

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