Is Purim an atheist’s holiday?

Friday, 22 February, 2013 - 12:26 pm


Are you wondering what I mean by that? Well, look in the Megillah – do you see G-d’s name mentioned? In every book of the Torah, G-d is featured prominently. However, in the Book of Esther, the Megillah which we read on Purim , G-d is not mentioned even once!

Although G-d’s name is not mentioned in the story, we celebrate it as a holiday, thanking G-d for His salvation. We spend the day celebrating the fact that G-d saved the Jewish people all those years ago. This just makes it even more strange – we acknowledge G-d’s hand in the story but we don’t mention it at all!?

This strange fact teaches us an important lesson.

You see, the story of Purim is not about earth shattering miracles (like the ten plagues or the splitting of the Reed Sea). The miracle of Purim was disguised in nature. Haman tried to kill the Jews but his plan was thwarted. This was not because he was miraculously struck down by G-d, but through a series of “Palace Intrigue” type situations: unbeknownst to him, the queen was Jewish; the king “happened” to owe Mordechai a favor for saving his life years earlier.

No earth shattering miracles, yet miraculous nonetheless. However, to appreciate the miracle, you have to dig slightly beneath the surface. Therefore G-d’s name is not mentioned.

We can go about our lives without acknowledging G-d’s hand in it or we can appreciate the miraculous nature of our day to day life. The holiday of Purim tells us that although sometimes G-d’s role in our life may be hidden, if we scratch away the surface, we will reveal G-d’s role in our life.

One way to help this attitude along is by beginning to pay attention to G-d in our day to day life. Starting the day with the Modeh Ani is a great place to start. Click here to learn more about this short but potent prayer.

Shabbat shalom and Happy Purim! 

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