In honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim, download a free copy of my contemporary retelling of the Book of Esther—it's entertaining, child-friendly, reads like a story, includes every detail of the KJV (but is far more accessible), and comes with a discussion guide. The PDF is available for download at the bottom of this post. The twentieth century was not the first time the Jews faced a holocaust—in nearly every century of their existence as a people they’ve experienced mortifying persecution and mass slaughter. Google it. The Jewish holy day Purim (pu-REEM) is celebrated in late winter or early spring (usually March). It commemorates the Jews’ deliverance from a decree of annihilation during their 5th century BCE Persian exile; success was achieved largely through the wisdom of an ordinary man, the fasting and faith of the Jewish nation, and the boundless courage of a selfless and determined young woman named Hadassah, better known as Esther. The first celebration began the day the Jews emerged victorious and has continued annually to this day. It’s a time of rejoicing in that miracle and in God’s hand being over all things. Purim is the most jovial—even raucous!—of all the Jewish festivals, and includes lavish costumes, a required melodramatic reading of the Book of Esther (complete with noisemaking whenever the name of villainous Haman is said), funny reenactments, and special cookies called hamantaschen. It’s also a day to serve, give to the poor, and send gifts to family.
Hold your own Purim celebration!
I always force my kids to humor me by participating in Purim.
I google a hamantaschen recipe, and we bake them with various fillings (Nutella and raspberry jam have been the favorites in years past).
We read my fun, lighthearted interpretation of the Book of Esther (downloadable below). My kids love this version and think it’s a hoot to boo and hiss and make noise whenever Haman’s name is said. [Okay, in the name of transparency, my preteen would rather roll his eyes than participate in any noisemaking whatsoever, and I’ve never quite nailed the hamantaschen to my kids’ liking. But other than that, we thoroughly enjoy ourselves!] Here are some questions you might ponder on Purim:
Even though the Lord is never mentioned in this book, His fingerprints are everywhere—where do you see them? When and how have you recognized fingerprints of the Lord in your life? Where did He help you today?