March 9th-10th, 2009 Festival Schedule:Ta'anit Esther/The Fast of Esther: Monday, March 9th (lasts from surise to nightfall)Erev Purim: Monday evening, March 9th Check the schedule of your local synagogue for the time of Megillah Reading Yom Purim: Tuesday, March 10th Megillah ReadingDelivery of mishlo'ah manot (sending of portions)S'udat Mitzvah (festive meal)Distribution of matanot la'evyonim (gifts to the poor) Appropriate Greeting for the Festival: !jnG oh rUP dj Hag Purim Samei'ah! Happy Festival of Purim! Origin of the Festival: ,Ihvk rIc gh t«ku o"vhk g ohukBv$kF k gu o g rz$k gu o"vhk g oh sUvHv UkCeu UnHev"Ktv ohnHvu+:vbJu vbJ$kfC oBnzfu oc,fF v"Ktv ohnHv hbJ ,t ohG«ghnhu rh gu rh gu vbh snU vbh sn vjPJnU vjPJn rIsu rIS$kfC ohG gbu oh rFzbhnh$,t oHek/ /o  g rZn ;Uxh$t«k o rfzu oh sUvHv QITn Urc gh t«k v"Ktv oh rUPv r"Jtfu vFkNv rTx"tu h sUvHv hf6 S rn o"vhk g oHe r"JtF o"vhBnzC v"Ktv oh r7Pv (tk-zf:y r,xt ,khdn) :o,e gzu ,In«Mv h rc S o g rz$k gu oJpb$k g UnHe "The Jews undertook and irrevocably obligated themselves and their descendants,and all who might join them, to observe these two days in the manner prescribed andat the proper time each year. Consequently, the days are recalled and observed inevery generation: by every family, every province, and every city. And these days ofPurim shall never cease among the Jews, and the memory of them shall never perishamong their descendants.These days of Purim shall be observed at their propertime, as Mordekhai the Jew - and now Queen Esther - has obligated them to do, andjust as they have assumed for themselves and their descendants the obligation of thefasts with their lamentations. (Scroll of Esther 9:27-31) The festival of Purim is one of the "minor festivals" in the Jewish calendar. It possesses this statusbecause it is not among the festivals that was ordained by the Torah. As the quotation above makesclear, it is a festival that was created and taken on exclusively by the Jewish community in thepost-Torah period. Compared to Pesah, Shavu'ot, and Sukkot, it is a festival which came into beingmuch later in Jewish history, likening it to Hannukkah. The basic story of Purim, as recounted in M'gilat Esther (the Scroll of Esther), is fairly simple. Theevil chief advisor to King Ahashveirosh of Persia, Haman, decides that the Jewish people needs tobe destroyed because they follow their own rules and do not obey the edicts of the kingdom.
Haman comes to this conclusion after Mordekhai, first cousin to the king's wife Queen Esther,repeatedly refuses to bow down to him at thegates of the palace, where he would go tocheck on the queen. The king ignorantlygrants Haman's request to wage genocideagainst the Jews and when the news of thedecree against the Jews comes to Mordekhai,he and Esther construct a plan to have theking revoke the decree and expose Haman forthe evil man that he is. Esther is successful,the Jews are saved, Haman is put to death,and Mordekhai is elevated to the position of chief advisor to the king.(and they lived happily everafter). It is Mordekhai's and Esther's success in saving the Jews that is celebrated on Purim.
Festival Obligations: Purim is not a festival of sacred time. We are not commanded to refrain from "prohibited work" aswe are on the major festivals and Shabbat. However, there are a number of mitzvot/commandments,customs, and rituals associated with the festival of Purim. On the day prior to Purim, wecommemorate Esther's fast before having gone in to visit King Ahashveirosh with a minor fast ofour own. It is minor because it is a half day fast, lasting from sun up to sundown. One is permittedto eat before sunrise and ends the fast after nightfall (when three starts appear in the night sky).
The only four mitzvot/commandments of the Purim day itself are derived directly from MegillatEsther/The Scroll of Esther itself. Contrary to popular thinking, these obligations must be fulfilledduring the daylight hours of Purim itself, not during the evening or days before.
h rgC ohcJHv ohz rPv oh sUvHv iF$k g/ /vjnGu v "TJn oIh I,«t vG gu IC rG g v gC rtC jIbu/ /Jht ,Ibn jIkJnU cIy oIhu v "TJnU vjnG r st J "s«jk rG g v gC rt oIh ,t ohG«g ,Iz rPv,Ibh sn$kfC r"Jt oh sUvHv$kF$k"t oh rpx jkJHu v"Ktv oh rc Sv$,"t hf6 S rn c«TfHu :Uv  r st J "s«jk rG g v gC rt oIh ,t ohG«g ,Ihvk o"vhk g oHek :oheIj rvu ohcIrEv JIruJjt Q"k"Nvr"Jt J "s«jvu o"vhchItn oh sUvHv o"vc Ujb$r"Jt ohnHF :vbJu vbJ$kfC IC rG g v?nj$oIh ,tuJht ,Ibn jIkJnU vjnGu v "TJn hnh o,It ,IG gk cIy oIhk k"ctnU vjnGk iIdHn o"vk QPv"b:o"vhkt hf6 S rn c,F$r"Jt ,tu ,IG gk UKjv$r"Jt ,t oh sUvHv kCeu+:ohbIhc"tk ,IbTnU Uv g rk (df-zh:y r,xt ,khdn) And they rested on the fourteenth day [of the month of Adar] and made it a day of feasting andmerrymaking.That is why village Jews, who live in unwalled towns, observe the fourteenth day ofthe month of Adar and make for it a day of merrymaking and feasting, and as a holiday and anoccassion for sending gifts to one another. Mordechai recorded these events. And he sentdispatches to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahashveirosh, near and far, chargingthem to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar, every year - the same days of which theJews enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them fromone of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting andmerrymaking, and as an occassion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor. TheJews accordingly assumed as an obligation that which they had begun to practice and whichMordechai prescribed for them. (The Scroll of Esther 9:17-23) Mikra M'gillah/The Public Reading & Hearing of the Scroll The public retelling of the story occurs at least twice during the day, once the evening before andonce in the morning. It is hearing the scroll read in the morning that fulfills one's obligation to hearthe scroll read. While it is praiseworthy to attend the reading of the megillah at other times duringPurim, these readings do not fulfill the obligation. However, they are a wonderful time to celebratethe festival together as a family. All Jews of b'nei mitzvah age are equally obligated for this mtzvah.
The chanting of Megillat Esther is according to a melodic trope system that is all its own. No othertext is read with the same melody. During the reading of the megillah, the name of Haman is metwith loud noisemaking in order to drown out its sound. The Torah commands us to erase thememory of the nation of Amalek and Haman, being a descendent of that nation, has his namesymbolically erased with the noises of the ra'ashanim or graggers (noisemakers). Like the Torah, themegillah is read from a specially hand-written scroll that does not bear the melodic or vowelmarkings.
Mishloa'h Manot/The Sending of "Portions" One of the most well known festival customs in Judaism is the packing of gift baskets to bedistributed to friends and loved ones on Purim. Again, the fulfillment of this obligation occurswhen these baskets are distributed on Purim day, preferrably after one has attended a reading of themegillah. Mishloa'h Manot must contain at least two different types of food in amounts that areappropriate to the giver and recipient (the giver should give according to his ability and not less andthe recipient should receive according to his or her customaryportion). Mishloa'h Manot must also be given to at least twopeople in order for the commandment to be fulfilled. Thecustom has been created that sweets and treats form thecontent of these gift baskets, but there are no set requirementsfor the types of foodstuffs that should be given, only in whatquantity and to how many people.
Matanot La'Evyonim/Gifts for the Less Fortunate As always, the tradition dictates that we must have balanceduring our celebrations of the festivals. While we are joyous at the occasion, we also are required to remember those for whom festivals are not accompanied bythe same amount of joy as we feel. Therefore, one of the commandments of Purim is to give giftsto the poor, matanot la'evyonim. In order to fulfill this obligation, one must give tzedakah to at leasttwo needy individuals.
Mishteh - S'udat Mitzvah/Festive Meal Just as Purim was celebrated with feasting and merrymaking that first year in Shushan andthroughout the Persian empire, so too do we observe Mordechai's instruction to make a festive mealon Purim. This meal takes place after the reading of the megillah in the morning as a luncheon ormid-afternoon meal. Because Purim is not a sacredfestival, there is no kiddush over wine.
Purim falling on a Friday creates particularcomplications for how to have two festive meals inone day, for lunch and then for Shabbat dinner. You will find an article at the end of this bookletexplaining options of how to deal with this challenge. In any year that Pruim falls on a Friday,please consult this article.
Esther 9:18-19 makes mention of the celebration of Purim taking place inthe city of Shushan on the fifteenth day of Adar, not the fourteenth as in therest of the kingdom. From this, the Rabbis dervied the law that cities (likeShushan) that were walled from the time of Joshua are meant to celebratePurim on the fifteenth, while unwalled cities do so on the fourteenth.
Among other such walled cities are Tiberias, Jaffa, Tzfat, Acco, and Lida. Inthese cities, Purim is celebrated on both the fourteenth and fifteenth, withthe megillah reading occurring on the night of the fifteenth only, without theaccompanying blessings.
Other Purim Customs: Hamantashen/Oznei Haman Three-cornered cookies with various fillings are the traditional food associated withPurim. The origin of the triangular shape of hamantaschen is not completely clear,though it is believed that they are a reminder of the three-cornered hat that Hamanwore. Also, it is told that Haman had triangle-shaped ears, and so the cookies (andtheir name in Hebrew meaning "Haman's Ears") took on that shape.
Hamantaschen come in many varieties, including traditional favorites of poppy seed and prune to more contemporary delights of chocolate or fruit preserves. The name hamantaschenderives from the original yiddish name for the cookie: muntaschen, named for poppy seeds which arecalled "mun" in yiddish.
Dressing in Costumes Dressing up in masks and costumes is one of the most entertaining customs of the Purim holiday.
Children in particular enjoy dressing up as the characters found in the Scroll of Esther, includingKing Ahashverosh, Queen Vashti, Queen Esther, Mordechai, and the evil Haman. Costumesand masks are worn to disguise the wearers' identity. Mistaken identity plays an important role inPurim, possibility originating from Esther's concealment of her Jewish heritage or in Haman'smistaken belief that the King's reward was meant for him. It is also evident in the Purim saying"that you are to drink until you can notdistinguish Mordechai." Whatever the origin, masksand costumes help to make Purim a veryfestive holiday.
Consumption of Alcohol The Rabbis of the Talmud instruct the Jewish community that one aspect of the celebration ofPurim is to become drunk so that one is unable to differentiate between "cursed Haman" and"blessed Mordechai." When read on its own, this directive stands at odds with the value that theRabbis and Jewish tradition place on the presevation of life, health, and well-being. Tradition doesnot condone activities that have adverse effects on one's health. The consumption of alcohol onPurim is no exception - especially given the knowledge we now have regarding alcohol addictions,abuse, and the consequences of driving while intoxicated. Therefore, while wine can be used as ameans to add to our joy on the festival (that being the main meaning of wine in the tradition), it maynot be used to the detriment of the self or others. Furthermore, wine is the only form of alcohol which has been permitted for this purpose, not hard liquors or otherspirits.
See the internet links below for more information on this importanttopic. Changes to the Daily Liturgy: Al HaNisim - "For the Miracles" ohnHC Ubh,Ictk ,hG g"J ',InjkNv k gu ',IgUJ Tv k gu ',IrUcDv k gu 'ie r7Pv k gu 'ohXBv k g /v"Zv inZC ovv Al HaNism v'al ha'purkan v'al g'vurot v'al ha't'shu'ot v'al ha'mi hamot she'asita la'avoteinu bayamim ha'hemba'z'man ha'zeh.
[We thank You God] for the miracles, and for the salvation, and forthe mighty deeds, and for the victories, and for the battles that Youperformed on behalf of our ancestors in those days and in this time.
A unique aspect of the Purim liturgy is the fact that Hallel is notrecited. This distinguishes Purim from all other festivals in the Jewishcalendar. The reason behind Hallel's omission is that even though theJews were fortunate enough to be delivered from Haman's evil decree,they still were subject to the foreign rule of King Ahashveirosh while in exile. Therefore, a full redemption could not be celebrated, symbolized in our day by the exclusion of Hallel from theliturgy. Information and Acitivities for the Whole Family:http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/kids/together/purim/ If any questions remain unanswered, please feel free to call the school 371-4747 and be in touchwith Rabbi Matthew Bellas, who prepared this material, at ext. 312.
WHEN PURIM FALLS ON EREV SHABBAT/FRIDAY S'udat Purim on Ere Shabbatby: Rabbi Alouf S'udat Purim on Erev Shabbat When Purim falls on Erev Shabbat/Friday, there are two different methods to fulfill the mitzvah ofS'udat Purim.
Recommended Method: S'udat Purim is a S'udat Mitzvah, and therefore one may establish one'smeal even after midday (a time which varies year to year depending on when Purim falls) on ErevShabbat1. However, if it is possible to start a half hour before midday, it preferable to do so, beforethe obligation to pray Minha even begins (according to all halakhic authorities). One may enjoy themeal, leaving plenty of time until the onset of Shabbat, ensuring that one will have an adequateappetite for the Shabbat meal.
"Pores Mappah U'm'kadeish"/"Cover Over and Recite a Blessing" Method: This method effectivelycombines S'udat Purim with S'udat Shabbat into one extended meal. Pray Minha earlier in the day,anytime after midday, and begin the meal approximately 20-30 minutes before candle lighting time.
Wash and recite the blessing over washing the hands, blessing on bread, enjoy wine & meat for themitzvah of S'udat Purim. Interrupt the meal for candle lighting, cover the table and food with atablecloth (or at least just cover the bread), and make Qiddush without the blessing of Hagefen onthe wine. Say Yom Hashishi followed by the blessing of M'kadeish HaShabbat only! The blessing onthe wine is not repeated, because one already made the blessing on wine for S'udat Purim. KabbalatShabbat is not said at the table because Kiddush serves as the Kabbalat Shabbat. Then remove thetablecloth, and complete the meal, with bread (at least kazayit). When making Birkat Hamazon besure to recite Al HaNisim (for Purim) and Retze V'hahalitzeinu (for Shabbat). Then one must prayArbit.
The Maharikash mentions both methods in Erech Lehem, as does Harav Hagaon Refael AharonBen Shimon in the Nehar Missrayim, a work describing Egyptian customs. It seems that the secondmethod was common among knowledgeable individuals, familiar with the intricate details andrequirements of performing S'udat Purim in this manner. If one wishes to perform the mitzva ofS'udat Pruim in this way, there are two important caveats one must be aware of: 1) One must not begin the meal too early, thereby making the Kiddush for Shabbat after the mealis effectively over, because there are halakhic ramifications not described in this article. One musteat after Kiddush as well.
2) This method does not permit anyone to pray Arbit of Shabbat without a minyan.
1. Rama Siman 249 in Orah Hayim

Source: http://storage.talmudtorah.com/Purim.pdf


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