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Is Purim the Jewish Halloween?

 

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It has become a wide spread custom to dress up in costume on Purim. One reason is because of the hidden nature of G-d in the story of Purim. The Megillah is the only book in all of Jewish scriptures where G-d’s name is not mentioned. So Purim represents the idea of G-d “hiding” Himself in this world, and performing hidden miracles, as opposed to revealed miracles (think Passover and the plagues) on behalf of the Jewish people. We represent G-d hiding Himself, by also hiding ourselves in costume. Clothing is also mentioned many times in the Purim story, with Achashverosh dressing up at his party, to Mordechai wearing sackcloth and ashes, then Haman dressing up Mordechai in fine clothing before he parades him through the streets of Shushan, and Esther dressing in her finery before she walks into see Achashverosh.

As you can see, Purim is a very deep and important holiday for the Jewish people, and is on no way a “Jewish Halloween”! On the contrary, the deeper Jewish sources say that if you break down the words Yom Kippur you get, “Yom, K, Pur” which means ” a day like Purim”, but only “like” Purim, but not as good. We can connect to G-d through fasting, but can reach much higher levels though physical enjoyment!

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About Rabbi Lawrence

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Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for MTV in news production, and moonlighting as a stand-up comedian, he traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical smicha from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach. Rabbi Lawrence is available for speaking engagements, just email us at info@joyofkosher.com to reach him. Rabbi Lawrence works for Birthright Israel in New York as their educational director, leading trips to Israel three times annually for young professionals. He also serves on the faculty of Stern College for Women in the Judaic Studies department. He lives in Monsey New York with his wife Anita and their five children. For more about Rabbi Lawrence click on these links - jeconline The Jewish Home: Where Kindness Begins Health and Healing in Judaism" on eating right A video on Tisha be'av...really on Shalom Bayit My book "Jew Got Questions" is now available!

 

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2 Responses to Is Purim the Jewish Halloween?

  1. avatar says: Amy

    I don’t think the meanings of the holidays are related, but they do have an awful lot of customs in common.
    For example,
    On Purim, people dress up in costumes.
    On Halloween, people dress up in costumes.
    On Purim, people go door to door to drop off treats (mishloach manot) and frequently receive treats in return.
    On Halloween, people go door to door and receive treats for doing so.
    On Purim, people drink alcohol.
    On Halloween, people drink alcohol (though this is not as integral as it is on Purim).
    On Purim, people feast.
    On Halloween, people gorge themselves on candy.

    Of course, Halloween is treated as nothing more than an excuse to do the above things, while Purim has true significance and has a reason for celebrating. The two holidays are quite different in meaning, but quite similar in how they are recognized.

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