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Jewish believers will observe Purim or the Feast of Lots as it falls on the Hebrew calendar date of Adar 14. The time is one of reflection, forgiveness, boldness and celebration. Thanks in part to a young and brave Jewish girl. 

Purim is based on the heroine Queen Esther and is one of the greatest stories ever told. Purim celebrates events set in ancient Persia, as illustrated in the Book of Esther. When Babylon was taken by the Medes and by the Persians, the Jews left for Israel. However, Esther stayed behind and was part of the Jewish minority under King Ahasuerus. When the king of Persia observed Esther, he fell in love and she became the new Queen of Persia. Nevertheless, the new queen did not share that she was Jewish as her cousin Mordecai directed. Her delay paid off because Haman instructed the king to exterminate all Jews. 

Esther had a choice to be silent or to make a stand. She took a deep breath and approached her husband to disclose her true identity. The king's heart became softened. To spare Esther and to spare the Jewish people, the king allowed Esther to make her own decree. The Jewish people had the legal right to strike against any and all possible Persian would-be attackers. Her people were finally free to defend themselves and flourished under their queen and king. 

Purim celebrates this remarkable journey and shows us the importance that this narrative has for us today. Here are some thoughts to consider.

God is still in control.

The Torah shared "Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.” God was working behind the scenes as He worked to deliver the Jewish people and take down Haman. Many times we can't see God working in our lives. But rest assured, He is always there. Similarly, Esther and Mordecai experienced what seemed like silence from God when their people were suffering in Persia. God's timing is always perfect even in our darkest hour.

Take a stand for others.

When Mordecai found out Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews, he got the message to Queen Esther. It is recorded in Esther: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai believed that God had a purpose. It took guts for Esther to follow God's purpose for her people. Telling the king this could have backfired. But the deliverance of her people took precedence.

Celebrate freedom.

“And many of the people of the land became Jews for the fear of the Jews fell upon them," said Est: 8:17. The people who still dared to attack the Jews were defeated. The Jews decided to have an annual celebration of this deliverance. We need to remember that God still delivers us today. Get away for a moment of silence during Purim to thank God for His faithfulness and His deliverance of the Jewish people.

Pray for Israel.

Just like Hanan tried to exterminate the Jews then, world leaders are working viciously to achieve their objective to destroy the Jewish people today. Look at Iran. There are leaders that called for the destruction of the Jewish people, just as it was the case 2,500 years ago. Benjamin Netanyahu said that the "Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us."

You have a purpose.

We are all called to do something special on earth. It may not be saving an entire race of people, but you are instrumental in being part of the puzzle. Esther was scared to confront the king about Hanan. Mordecai told her if she didn't, someone else would be raised up. "The Seder reminds us that in every generation, there are those who rise up to destroy us, but God saves us from their hand. In the time of the Book of Esther, Haman was the one who tried to destroy us," shared Jewfaq.org. Think about this during Purim when you are hesitant in following God's lead. If not God will choose someone else to take your place.

Fasting will reconnect you with God.

The Fast of Esther is often used to follow in her footsteps as she fasted for 3 days leading up to her meeting with the King. Fasting has amazing benefits. It draws you closer to God, gives perspective and boosts your health. Getting quiet during this time of fasting helps you pause. This might take some practice as we are so connected to our electronic devices, but unplugging will help you unwind and be still. Fasting gets you mind off your own worries and allows you to intercede on behalf of others. Simple, right? At least you are not preparing to meet a king like Esther!

Enjoy your blessings.

Many places on Purim put on plays and other parodies. The time is likened to a Jewish Mardi Gras. We need to have fun and enjoy the fruit of our labors. God instructs us to do so. You can host a party and cook as it is a celebration of the Jewish people. People bake triangular fruit-filled or poppy-filled cookies that represent Haman's three-cornered hat to remind them of their victory over him. Purim is rich in history and is something that should be celebrated with nostalgia and wonder.

Purim is rich in history and is something that should be celebrated with nostalgia and wonder. All of us can gain a lot from Esther and her bravery to save her people. Her legacy lends many lessons for us during Purim. Today there are leaders and people like you that represent the Jewish people to keep the touch lit for future generations and to remind them of their Jewish history.
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