Why Jerusalem’s Purim Celebration Has Its Own Calendar Day

March 25, 2024

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This famous quote, often attributed to Edmund Burke, encapsulates a profound truth that resonates deeply within the Jewish soul. It is especially relevant on the holiday of Purim, when Mordecai challenged Esther with a pivotal message:

This idea is also relevant to Purim in the unique way in which the holiday is celebrated. Unlike other Jewish holidays, Purim’s observance is divided: it’s celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar in most places, but cities that were walled from the days of Joshua, like Jerusalem, celebrate on the 15th of Adar, known as Shushan Purim. This variation in observance is rooted in the events of Mordecai and Esther’s time, when the Jews in Shushan fought against their enemies for an additional day, resting only on the 15th while their counterparts rested on the 14th.

The language that Queen Esther used when asking for this additional day of battle is deeply symbolic:

Rabbi Yochanan Bechofer suggests that Esther’s use of the word “tomorrow,” rather than “another day,” signals a crucial message. “Tomorrow” hints to the future. Esther’s plea underlines the importance of not just surviving but thriving—of moving forward to change the world and eradicate evil. Esther’s vision, encapsulated in her request, extends beyond mere survival to forging a better tomorrow, to actively working towards a world devoid of the evils that necessitated the fight in the first place. Shushan Purim thus becomes a symbol of proactive change and improvement and of building a brighter future.

The Purim story reminds us that overcoming our enemies is not just a cause for celebration but a call to action. Queen Esther’s advocacy for action, transforming “today” into “tomorrow,” underscores the ongoing battle for a future free from the shadows of our adversaries.

Today, as the Jewish people confront challenges from entities like Hamas and Hezbollah, which embody the spirit of Haman and Amalek in their hostility towards Israel, the message of Purim is more relevant than ever. It compels us to stand with Israel, engaging actively in its defense and its quest for peace and security. Reflecting on the profound truth that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” the Purim narrative urges us not to simply remember the past and live in the present, but to actively take a stand against evil and be proactive in shaping a better tomorrow.

In the spirit of Purim, let us commit to supporting Israel, recognizing that our collective efforts are vital in ensuring a safer, more just future for the Jewish state and, by extension, the entire world. This commitment echoes Mordecai’s challenge to Esther and to each of us: do not remain silent but rather take a stand, for perhaps we are here “for such a time as this.”

Israeli soldiers are risking their lives to protect us all from Islamic terrorism. But they need our help. Sign up for Israel365 Action to receive updates on how YOU can help fight Hamas and its supporters in the United States and around the world.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Subscribe

Sign up to receive daily inspiration to your email

Recent Posts
A Night of Miracles
Preparations for Passover with Rabbi Elie Mischel
Biblical Leprosy and the Power of Words

Related Articles

Subscribe

Sign up to receive daily inspiration to your email