Have you ever read the book of Esther? I remember the first time I read it: I couldn’t put it down! Basically what happens is, the queen disobeys the king, so the king is advised never to allow her into his presence again, and to find another girl to be queen instead of her. A Jewess is eventually chosen – a girl called Esther. Actually, her real name is Hadassah, but she’s given the name Esther because she conceals her identity. Esther means Hidden in Hebrew, and if you read the book, you’ll see that God is hidden in the story: He’s not mentioned once, yet His fingerprints are all over.
Esther is in the king’s palace when his second-in-command, Haman, devises a plan to literally wipe every Jew off the face of the earth. He casts the lot (like tossing a coin) to determine when this will take place.
After several days of fasting, Esther goes in to the king without being called, endangering her life. She reveals her identity and requests that her people be saved. A law is written, permitting Jews to defend themselves on the day set aside for their destruction. When they had struck down their adversaries, they celebrated with feasting and called the feast Purim (meaning Lottery) – a reminder to them of Haman’s plot and how God brought relief from their enemies. Purim was a time for giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22).
Jews still celebrate Purim today (apparently this year, it’s on 8 March). In the last century, there have been many who’ve set themselves up against the Jewish people (Hitler would be one), but they can keep in mind this principle of thousands of years ago and look to God for relief.
If you want to help Jewish people celebrate, you can send Purim baskets to Israeli victims of terror attacks. You could even send a deluxe basket, which includes children’s toys as well as food. You can read more about it here, and I hope you’ll share the joy of Jewish people around the world.