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Thursday, Adar 6, 5781 / February 18, 2021


Purim is next week, Thursday night, February 25 and Friday, February 26.


Q.   Why is the holiday called "Purim"?


A.   Purim means "lots".  The Megilah tells us that upon receiving permission to kill the Jewish people, Haman cast "lots" to choose the day and month in which to execute his plan. 


When the lot fell on the month Adar, Haman was very pleased. He knew that Moshe (Moses), the greatest leader of the Jewish people, who led them out of Egypt, passed away in the month of Adar. "My plan will succeed for Adar must be a bad month for the Jews," he reasoned. 


But, Haman didn't know that Moshe's date of birth was also in Adar. Thus, it turned out to be Haman's downfall and a good month for the Jewish people.


Q.  On which day in Adar was Moshe born and on which day did he pass away?


A.  Moshe was born on the seventh of Adar and passed away on that same day, one hundred and twenty years later.


Q.Why is the Megilah spread out in layers during it’s reading, rather than rolled like a Torah scroll?"


A.  In the Megilah, Esther and Mordechai refer to the Megilah as "Igeret," the "letter". Thus, we fold the Megilah to look like a "letter".


Q.   Why do we make so much noise when Haman's name is mentioned in the Megilah?


A.   Haman descended from Amalek and the Torah tells us that we must "erase the remembrance of Amalek". Thus, when the reader mentions Haman, we "erase" his name by making noise. However, because every word of the Megilah must be heard, the one who reads the Megilah must be careful to wait until all is quiet before continuing the Megilah reading.


Q.   On Purim we exchange gifts of food - "Shalach Manot".  What is the reason for this mitzvah?


A.  One reason is that according to the Talmud, G-d allowed Haman's terrible decree to take place because Jews participated and ate non-kosher food at King Achashverosh's party. By exchanging kosher food items, we rectify this fault.


Another reason: Sending Shalach Manot-gifts on Purim, is an expression of friendship and unity.  We thank G-d for the great miracle of Purim in which our lives were saved by showing that we are united and care for each other. It is the greatest pleasure to our Father-in-Heaven to see His children united.