Today is Purim as depicted in the Book of Esther. Traditionally there are Four Mitzvot associated with celebrating Purim which include:
- Reading from the scroll of Esther (megillah)
- Giving gifts to friends and neighbors (mishloach manot)
- Eating a special meal (seudah)
- Giving support to those who need help (matanot l’evyonim)
In keeping #4, a few of our members go each year to Shinjuku on Purim where a Korean mission serving the homeless community provides a free hot breakfast and spiritual nourishment every Wednesday morning. This year, Isaac shared his testimony (as there were more younger men than years’ past the pastor requested Isaac instead of the usual Paul-sensei) to around 70 people total. We also donated fresh pairs of socks (per instructions from the pastor of the church/mission) and gave an offering to the ministry.
Please pray that the words of hope and ongoing act of kindness by this church will stir these people to cry out to the Lord… Every year we go we are so touched by the love of these Korean missionaries for the Japanese people.
What else do we do on Purim? Let’s not forget dressing up as our favorite Jewish hero (Esther, Mordechai, President Zelensky…). But WHY dress up? It is a tradition and some explanations include:
- The miracle of Purim is hidden within the story where G-D is never mentioned. It sounds like a natural, secular story but G-D is involved all throughout.
- Jews during the Babylonian captivity only “pretended” to serve other gods so on Purim we also pretend to be someone we are not.
- We dress differently on Purim so that the poor and needy do not feel embarrassed to receive and collect from those who are better off.
- To commemorate the dressing up of Mordechai in King Ahashuers’ royal garments in the story of Purim.
Therefore, young and old are encouraged to dress up on Purim. Don’t be shy!
To this end, we will have a special celebration on Shabbat from 14:00 with the children sharing the story of Esther and Mordechai for us. We might also nibble on a few Hamentashen cookies as well…
19 March – Tzav (Leviticus 6:1(8) – 8:36)
- 10:30 to 12:30 – Shabbat service
- 14:00 to 16:30 – Purim Celebration
See you on Shabbat, in person or on Zoom.