Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy Purim!

Mordechai recorded these events and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, urging them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar every year as the days when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration.  
---from the Book of Esther, 9:20~22

 in Progress:  Shushan Photo Booth!!

 Shushan Photo Booth, Grab a prop and strike a pose.Idea from Joyfully Jewish blog, link to follow!
I`m so excited about Purim! 
I say `Happy Purim` but I realize not everyone knows about Purim!
Thank you for asking!! I will see if I can tell you a little to start...

Oh, and first to give credit to the Joyfully Jewish blog, whose Post `Purim Photo Booth` inspired me so much, I made a Shushan Photo Booth. Possibly the first in Japan!! Very possibly!!

Before you grab a prop and jump in the booth, to know about Purim, the very first thing is to do a little advance reading in the Book of Esther!  Actually, reading the Book of Esther is one of the things to do during  Purim, but if you are new to Purim, then you would need to read it first so you know what you are in for.

 I will also  copy this description from Jerusalem News Network*  
to share a brief description of `What is Purim?"
It is a celebration of redemption and a time of great merry-making as Jews throughout the world remember the deliverance from the hands of the wicked Haman, who tried to instigate the annihilation of the Jews of Persia. The Biblical Book of Esther, recited on this holiday by Jews throughout the world, tells the story of how the Jewish woman Esther and her uncle Mordecai saved the Persian Jewish community from destruction. Families and neighbors give gifts of sweets to each other, and many dress-up in costumes for festive events.
The date of Purim is the 14th day of the month of Adar on the Hebrew Calendar. 
This year it is March 12, and as all holidays on the Hebrew calendar, begins on the evening so it will be this week from just after Shabbat! Saturday March 11, to the evening on March 12.

The things we are supposed to do are told to us right there in the Book of Esther!
 These were to be days of feasting, celebration and sending presents of food to one another and giving gifts to the poor.  ---From the Book of Esther, 9: 22b
There is lots of hidden intrigue in this story and perhaps that is why we eat things that have filling `hidden` in them like Kreplach and Hamentashen, two traditional foods eaten on Purim.  Can you guess what filling I will put in the Hamentashen?!  See post to follow!

I believe that the hidden surprises in Purim will be revealed to us more and more as we  prepare the feast and party hearty.  There is also a day of fasting the day before Purim which is a good time to join in hearts of prayer for Israel and our nations, and to seek God during this special feast time.

The Book of Esther is the only book in all the Bible where God`s name doesn`t appear at all, and God Himself doesn`t seemingly appear, but of course He is in the foreground orchestrating all the characters, choreographing their moves, and the One who makes all the divine timings and appointments that all so perfectly make the story what it is.

In our lives, too, even when we don`t `see` God of course He is always there and the One who is orchestrating all we do and the timings, appointments, people in our lives, and where we are.  Something to think about too as we read the Book of Esther, where we see that within that,  we have responsiblity and we have to make choices.  Esther chose to not be silent.  She makes a choice, and what she did saves her people.  She annuls the decree that the wicked Haman set out.  I learned during this season that the word Purim which the holiday is named after has two meanings.  One is `lots`.   It also means `annul` in Hebrew. Many places say the holiday is named Purim for Haman`s lots, but actually it is named for the great irony that Haman thought he could control the fate of people through the lots, but his plan was turned around and he is hanged in the end by the gallows he himself made, so after all it is Esther`s `lots` that the Holiday is named for.  

So now that you know a little of Purim, there is still time, don`t delay!! Hamentashen recipe HERE
Kreplach HERE, the Purim Photo Booth and all the specifications on how to make it HERE!!

Please also know and remember that To send gifts and contributions is also an important part of the holiday.  HERE is a link where we can send donations to aid Israel, from education to aid to the poor to medical aid and more, there are many needs.

Happy Purim!! Boo Haman!  We love you Esther.
Praise God for His Mighty Outstretched Arm that continues to save and protect, comfort and love, bring joy and goodness to all who call upon His name, and that He alone is the One who brings about Righteousness and Judgement.   May we realize through the Feast days like Hannukah and Purim, seemingly `minor` Feasts, how essential it is to grab and grasp the TORAH of ADONAI and keep it in our heats, return to God, and declare His praises from all corners of the Earth!!

May the festival of Purim be known and celebrated throughout Japan in Purims to come!! And throughout the lands! You don`t have to be Jewish to Celebrate Purim, everyone can join in the special feast, and reach out to those who are in need to share food and giving.  As you eat your hamentashen and read the book of Esther, may  God reveal to you something about this holiday and may you know the  joy that comes in celebrating His victories!

Note on Kreplach:  For Purim you can make KREPLACH! Filled with meat or your choice filling, they are a traditional favorite on this holiday. I wanted to make them a little in advance,  so I made them and  froze them .  I had never done `freezing` before, so I was a little nervous to get it right.  Thank you my friend Debbie for telling me the steps on how to freeze kreplach! 

How to freeze kreplach and use for soup:   First make the dough and cook the filling.  Once the filling cools, fill them, shape them, then line them on parchment (cooking paper) on sheets  (for example, aluminum tray, cookie sheet etc) that can go in the freezer.  Put them in the freezer like that, uncooked and  UNCOVERED until they harden.  Once they are frozen, you put them in  ziplock freezer bags.  You can dust with a little flour to prevent them from sticking together.
To cook and use in soup, just take them out of the freezer when you are ready, put them in boiling water or directly into the soup broth, and cook about fifteen minutes.  You can now make a batch to freeze for Sunday!! Enjoy!Blessings and Shalom!