Purim, How to do it Up Right !

    February Purim 2002            
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Purim Guide

By Uri Lampoon

When is Purim?

This year, 2002, Purim falls on Monday night, the 25th of February and Tuesday, by day, the 26th of February. In certain cities that have an ancient tradition of being enclosed with a wall, such as Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated on Tuesday night, the 26th of February and Wednesday all day. The fast of Esther is on Monday, the 25th of February. The fast is from sunrise to sunset only. Anyone who is in ill health or suffers pain from the fast may eat.

What are the basic things to do on Purim?

There are four basic thing to do on Purim and they begin with "M"
 Meaning Description
Megilah The book of Esther The book of Esther is read twice, once in the evening and again in the morning.
Mishloah Maanot Sending food to our friends We send two different potions of food to our friends
Matanot Le'evyonim Giving money to poor persons We give charity to needy people
Mishteh Having a good drinking party We have a festive meal during the day, replete with great wine!

Is it true that we are to get drunk on Purim?

Yup! Unless drinking is difficult for you.

How much are we to drink on Purim?

We are to drink until we do not know the difference between "Blessed is Mordachai" and "Cursed is Haman". Of course, if you don't know the difference to begin with, then you should not begin to drink! So the first thing to do is to read the Megilah and know a bit about Mordachai and Haman!

When is the Fast of Esther?

The day before Purim, Monday, on 25th of February from sunrise to sunset.

Do I have to fast?

Yes, but if you have difficulties fasting and experience pain, you may break your fast.

Do people dress up in costumes on Purim?

Children have the custom to wear costumes and many drunken men seem to have taken hold of this custom also.

What exactly is the portions of food to be sent to my friends?

You can send anything that is edible with out preparation. There should be two different types of foods. As an example: a bottle of wine and cake, or a can of sardines and a bag of popcorn. Even though asprin and alkaselzer are a welcome relief, they do not qualify as two portions of food, since they are not food. Two different types of foods are generally foods with two different blessings. It is not unusual to take this oportunity to send a great friend some really great things.

The purpose of sending food portions is to spread the simcha (happiness). The minimum is two items to one friend, but many people try to send many food items to many of their friends.

What about giving charity?

Giving charity is considered a really big thing. How can we sit down to have a great time if some person is suffering because of financial straits? The minimum is to give two needy persons money. The more you give, the more praiseworthy you are. On Purim, we give to whom ever asks for money, hence the custom of Purim gelt (money) for children.

How is the meal to be conducted?

Invite over your family and friends. Prepare a scrumptious meal. Don't be embarrassed to ask your guests to bring over a salad or cake. Have plenty of wine on hand. Make sure you invite everyone that you can think of. Make certain that you have some nice Jewish Purim music. Don't forget to sing some songs too! Call me up and invite me too!

When should the meal take place?

The meal is on Purim day. Even if you ate and drank like a truly rightgeous person on Purim night, you are required to have another meal by day. The custom is to have it in the afternoon. Some people make it late in the afternoon, since many people are busy delivering food portions and visiting other friends. As long as the meal begins during the day, it may extend into the night - and many invite other friends to visit and continue dancing and singing through the night.

May one drink other alcoholic beverages besides wine?

Yes, however, wine is the best, since the miracle of Purim came though drinking wine. Some people prefer other drinks such as beer, vodka, whiskey and/or alka-seltzer. Although other drinks, such as whiskey, can make a person drunker faster, the concept is not to get stoned, the concept is to get mellow - but very mellow - until you can't remember the difference between . . . who was dat again?


from the February Purim 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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