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  ISRAEL    
 
 
  PURIM  
 
MACCABI WORLD UNION, DESCRIPTION & IDEOLOGY, BY RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO Chag Purim and its Costumes
Why do we dress up on Purim?

By: Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
Deputy Director-General
Maccabi World Union, www.maccabiworld.org
 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

 

 

Kfar Maccabiah, March 2015

חג פורים

CHAG PURIM AND ITS COSTUMES

Why do we dress up on Purim?


 

Dear Friends,

Purim is a time of celebration. 2400 years ago, the Jewish people were in danger of total annihilation - for the first time; instead, the Children of Israel fought for their lives, defeating completely an army composed by 75,000 troops. Why do we change our identities - using costumes - to remember and celebrate such liberation? Three related reasons to the salvation are been provided:

 

  • The Book of Esther -Megillat Esther- that we read on this festivity, explains: "...the enemies of the Jews had expected to rule over them, but the fortunes were altogether reversed, and the Jews did rule over their enemies" (Esther 9:1).
    The victory of Purim transformed the Jews from victims to victors, and, in memory of this switch, we change our appearances to celebrate Purim - dressing up as different characters.
  • The Ba'al Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of Chassidism, teaches that there is a direct connection between the Purim's mitzvah (the precept) of matanot laevionim (helping the poor people) and the costumes. The reason for this is simple: the best way to give charity is secretly, when the identity of the giver and the recipient are unknown to each other, so as not to embarrass the recipient of the money; therefore, we dress up in Purim. Nor the giver neither the recipient can be recognized; there can not be any embarrassing situation while giving and receiving the charity.
     
  • Purim's miracle was a "hidden" one. In the book of Esther there is not a single mention of God's name, as if everything occurred "by pure chance": By pure chance Esther was chosen to be queen; Mordechai overheard the conspiracy against the king Achashverosh; the king was in a receptive mood when queen Esther came to call; the king slept badly one night and read in the book of his Chronicles how Mordechai saved his life; Haman entered just as the king was thinking of how to reward Mordechai; Harbona, the chamberlain, broke in at a critical moment to report that Haman had already erected the gallows to kill Mordechai... Too many  casual things lead not to casualty, but causality.  In memory of this hidden miracle, we "physically hide ourselves" by dressing up.

 

In the spirit of our Maccabi Movement, perhaps the most significantly component of the Book of Esther is that we did not stand in passivity while being in absolute danger, but we took the destiny in our hands, fighting for our life and continuity. We knew we had a shared destiny, and we united as a people to face the challenges together.

 

Let this Purim festival bring lots of happiness to our Movement, and to the whole People of Israel everywhere, overcoming today's challenges.

With best wishes,

 

Chag Purim Sameach!

 

Chazak ve'ematz!

 

Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero

Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

Maccabi World Union

carlos@maccabi.org



 
   
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