March 8, 2012
Although Purim is only a one-day holiday, here in Israel it seems like it is celebrated for an entire week! For days leading up to Purim, children go to school in costumes, special holiday music is played on loudspeakers throughout the city, and everyone wears a smile. The motto of Purim is a popular Hebrew verse that says “it is a mitzvah to be happy, always!”
Purim is a fun holiday for children. Besides the fun of dressing up, they also deliver special baskets of treats and candy called mishloach manot to their friends. This teaches them the holy value of sharing and making others happy. It gives me so much joy to watch my children smile as they hand out treats to others in the spirit of Purim.
On Purim, the streets in Israel are filled with people of all ages laughing, singing, and dancing. It is so beautiful that all of this joy is in celebration of the miracle that God performed during the days of Esther, when he saved the Jewish people from wicked Haman. I love the message of Purim. The biblical story of this holiday – the fact that the Jewish people were going to be annihilated by Haman, but that decree was miraculously overturned – reminds us that things are not always as they seem, and God never abandons His people.
On Purim, I try also to absorb the lesson of Mordecai and Esther, which tells us that prayer and faith can change any decree from punishment to salvation. Purim reminds me that God wants to send blessings to the world, but we have to open up the channel for blessings by taking a bold stand for righteousness and holiness, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
When looking around the streets of Israel on Purim, it might seem like people are dressed up in costume only to have fun, but there is truly a deep lesson behind the masks. When we wear masks and dress up, we are making a statement that people’s outer appearance is just a show; it is the inner thoughts and prayers that define who we really are. The deepest prayer that we say on Purim is that God would reveal His goodness to the world, and remove the masks that blind us to His love.
What it all amounts to is this: We need to have unwavering faith in God’s goodness, and knowledge that He performs miracles for us every day, many that we often miss, simply because we’re too wrapped up in our day-to-day lives. That’s a lesson that applies not only at Purim – but every day of the year.
Join with me in prayer during this week’s Purim holiday that God will turn around the dire situation that Israel currently finds herself in – surrounded by enemies on every border – and reveal His kindness for the entire world to see. Thank you my friends – your prayers and support are truly a blessing to Israel!
With blessings from the Holy Land,