Purim and Unity

Question

Dear Rabbi,

Is there a single theme that unites all of the mitzvahs of Purim? Thank you for this wonderful service. And happy Purim!

8 months

Answers

  1. Yes. Unity of the Jewish people and the happiness we experienced then and now as a result of this unity.

    Purim recalls a threat to the physical existence of the Jewish people. Haman attempted to physically destroy every Jewish man, woman and child. We celebrate our deliverance from this threat with mitzvahs that focus on the physical. We give money to the poor and gifts of food to our friends; we eat a festive meal and drink wine.

    Giving gifts of food to our friends and money to the needy promotes unity among the Jewish people. When first proposing his evil plot to Achashverosh, Haman described the Jewish people as a “scattered and dispersed nation.” He did not mean only that we were geographically dispersed, but that we were not unified, and thus would be easy prey for our enemies.

    On a spiritual level, we also understand this to mean that when the Jewish people are lacking unity, God does not protect them fully. National unity brings about spiritual wholeness and closeness to God. To counteract this situation, our Sages decreed that we must be concerned with the welfare and friendship of our fellow Jews. We strengthen Jewish unity by giving gifts to the poor, food to our friends, and by celebrating together with festive meals.

    We read the “Scroll of Esther” at night and during the day to recall the series of events that led to our national unification in the face of peril, which led to our victory over overwhelming odds. And aside from rejoicing and celebrating on this holiday, we offer a special “thank you” prayer to God for saving us. Purim is a time that assures us that — despite any apparent threat — we should neither fear nor doubt our eternal existence. We should unite to fulfill our nation’s purpose and rejoice in our unity.

    Happy Purim from the Gateways Family and the Gateways AskTheRabbi.org team!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team