By Uri Lampoon
When is Purim?
This year, 2004, Purim starts on Saturday night, the 6th
of March and continues Sunday, the 7th of March untill night time. In
certain cities that have an ancient tradition of being enclosed
with a wall, such as Jerusalem, Purim celebration begins on Sunday
night, the 7th of March and continues untill nightfall Monday. The fast of Esther is pushed ahead to the week before Purim, (since the day before Purim is the Shabbat) to Thursday, the 4th 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
|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
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 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?
This year, 2004 it is pushed ahead to Thursday, March 4th 2003, 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.
purpose 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. Call me up or send me an e-mail and invite me to your feastive meal, too! How could you have such a nice meal and not invite a nice person like me??
When should the meal take place?
The meal is on Purim day. Even if you ate and drank like a truly rightgeous person Purim night, you are required to have another meal by day. The custom is to have it in the afternoon.
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 refer other drinks such as beer, vodka, whiskey
from the March 2004 Edition of the Jewish Magazine