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Unleash Your Inner Superhero- Or Fairy Godmother

Posted on 02/22/2013 @ 07:11 PM

This weekend marks the joyous holiday of Purim (February 23rd-25th) aka “Jewish Mardi Gras.” commemorating the victory of the Jewish people over their oppressors. One of the strangest ways Jews commemorate this holiday is by wearing costumes. What is the connection to this bizarre practice and the actual story of Esther? To truly understand this question, we must have a good understanding of the story.

King Ahasuerus loved the young woman Esther more than any of his other women, and he made her his Queen. He was not aware that Esther was a Jew, for Mordecai, her relative and guardian, advised her not to reveal her true identity.

Haman (hissing sounds), the king’s prime minister and villain of the story hated the Jews (especially Mordecai, because he would not bow down before him) and convinced Ahasuerus it would be in the kingdom’s best interest if the Jews were eliminated. The King gave Haman permission to deal with the Jews as he saw fit, and Haman made plans to massacre them.

Mordecai convinced Esther to speak to the King on behalf of her people. When Esther approached him, King Ahasuerus listened to her story and was outraged by what he heard. He had Haman hanged on the gallows that had been intended for Mordecai, and appointed Mordecai as prime minister in Haman’s place.

How is this drama in any way connected to the practice of dressing in costume? Some say we dress up in costume to commemorate Esther, as she “masked” her identity as a Jew to the King. Even more, it was the “unveiling” of Esther’s true Jewish identity that allowed her to successfully save her people.

This Purim challenge yourself to act in the name of Esther, and try to present your “true” self. In choosing your Purim costume, select something that speaks to your “true” nature – whether dressed as a superhero or fairy godmother. Look at the ways you might mask yourself throughout the year – what could you gain by unmasking? What truth could you share? What might change because of that?

Ultimately, Purim allows us to see past all facades. It allows us to look at our true selves and see the power that lies within each of us.

Recipe for easy Hamantaschen 3 eggs 1 cup granulated sugar ¾ cup vegetable oil 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract ½ cup orange juice 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor

Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until lightly and fluffy. Stir in the oil, vanilla and orange juice. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter to form a stiff dough. If dough is not stiff enough to roll out, stir in more flour. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or the rim or a drinking glass. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of preserves into the center of each one. Pinch the edges to form three corners. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

This Shabbat-Purim message was discovered by Melissa Hertwig, Program Associate for Pacific Coast Region in Los Angeles, CA.

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