book of esther
When is it appropriate — nay, even encouraged, both socially and spiritually — to turn up at your house of worship in full costume, make a boisterous racket, and proceed to get drunk as a lord?
Well, if you're a Christian (or a Muslim or a Buddhist) the answer is never.
But if you're Jewish, it's Purim!
WASHINGTON — Debby Levitt's four children are dressing up big time for Purim, one of the more raucous of Jewish holidays, which begins on Wednesday (March 7) this year.
Commemorating Queen Esther's brave and successful efforts to save the Jews of Persia from extermination, Purim calls on Jews to rejoice in costume and to give goodies to neighbors and friends.
Girls often dress up as the beautiful queen, and boys as her valiant cousin Mordecai, who refused to bow down to the evil Haman, who aimed to extinguish all vestiges of Judaism from the kingdom.
The goody baskets — mishloach manot, in Hebrew, or the "sending of portions" — are meant to contradict Haman, who asserts in the biblical book of Esther that Jews were a people riven by strife.
Costumes? Goodies? Sounds like Halloween. But for the Levitts, it's nothing like Halloween.