As Proud Jews, Purim is probably our favorite holiday.
How could you not be proud of a brave young queen risking her life to save her people from a madman's plot?
Some say Purim is a minor holiday, maybe even an afterthought, but we say it's the most fun, festive, and freaky festival of the bible. Here are five things you may not know about it.
1. In Israel, It's Like Halloween for Jews
If you've never been to an Israeli Purim carnival, then you wouldn't understand how crazy Jews get when they're celebrating a king executing his assistant.
In America, these carnivals are mostly for kids to dress in costumes, play games, win prizes.
But in Israel, these carnivals give Brazil a run for its money. Take a look at This Dude and His Tribesmen.
Or this Woodstock-Like Panoramic.
Or these guys who Throw It Down like Shmuel.
And those are the tame pictures.
Even the Tzahal Gets Into The Act...well, kinda...
2. You Have to Get Really, Really, Really Drunk
The Talmud decrees that you need to drink until you can't tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman.
Yes, that Talmud.
Nice law you got there. Now fill my glass, Esther!
3. God Is Nowhere to Be Found
Did you know the Book of Esther is the only bible story that does not mention God at all?
People have interpreted this in many different ways.
We figure, between the drunkenness and the carnivals, the last thing we need is for God to show up and make us all feel guilty.
4. You're supposed to sing Al Ha'Nissim
You might know the song from Hanukkah, but traditionally Jews sing an abbreviated version of the song on Purim, too. It's added to the Birkat Ha'Mazon (prayer after meals).
When we were Proud Little Jews, our synagogue used a really uptempo, festive melody that included clapping, dancing, and banging on tables.
We scoured YouTube trying to find a recording of the version we remember, but came up empty. Closest we could find is this version from Moshe Storche.
The most popular melody seems to be This One, as sung by the Maccabeats.
It's cool, but we prefer our version.
So we decided that once we sell 5,777 shirts - one for each Jewish year - we'll record the Proud Jews version of Al Ha'Nissim for everybody.
Can you help us get there? Drop by our T-Shirt Store.
5. It's a Mitzvah to Give Your Food to Others
On Purim, Jews do a special act of Tzedukah called Mishloach Manot. You might know it as giving a Purim basket.
It's nice sentiment - basically, since all Jews are required put on a feast, all Jews have an obligation to make sure everybody has enough food.
The food has to be ready to eat, so many Jews use hamantashen, wine, and fruit for their baskets.
If you're looking for a good hamantashen recipe, stay tuned to this blog. We'll soon post the recipe for Aunty's Rocken' Hamantashen. It's the best hamantashen recipe ever.
For wine, we recommend an Israeli winery Tishbi's French Reisling if you can find it. Of course, Manischevitz is always a safe bet, too.
And, have a safe and happy holiday!