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5 Purim Customs and their Kabbalah Meaning

The Purim holiday is celebrated on the 14th of Adar (15th in Jerusalem, also known as Shushan Purim) and it is considered by the Kabbalah the highest and the holiest day of all. Purim is celebrated by several unique customs and traditions such as wearing masks and costumes, drinking alcohol and giving away charity and gifts. All those customs have a deeper, spiritual meaning in the Kabbalah.

1. Reading the Meggilah

Reading the Book of Esther (Meggilah) on Purim in the Synagogue is an important Mitzva. According to Chazal the public reading has two purposes: to publicize the miracle of the Jewish people salvation and to thank God for it.

There are many customs regarding the mentioning of Haman, the book’s evil, in the public reading: shout out his name and then pause in silence; make loud noises using ratchet toys (raashanim) or hitting the table, writing names and erasing them, and so on. This customs allows us to erase the darkness and the negativity from our lives and bring on the light.

2. Wearing Costumes & Masks

Wearing costumes is a spiritual tool that helps us connect to our true, inner self. By choosing a costume and wearing it, we reveal our desires, the objects of our identifications; we expose the gap between who we really are and who we wish we were. Ironically, by wearing a mask we uncover the mask that covers us.

3. Drinking Wine

Drinking on the Purim holiday is a Mitzva and according The Zohar, one should drink until he cannot tell between right and wrong. Similar to the mask, the wine serves as a spiritual tool – by seeing things upside down, we get to see the high, spiritual level. Still, getting drunk on a daily basis is not recommended. The Zohar explains that there are specific time frames where this communication channel is open, and Purim is the only one where alcohol helps to open this window.

The drinking usually occurs during the festive Purim meal (seudath Purim), celebrated with family and friends. A traditional Purim meal includes symbolic food: triangular-shaped dishes (kreplach, hamanatashen, also known as Haman’s pockets or Haman’s ears) to remind us of the ears of Haman; braided Challa to remind us of the rope used to hang Haman, etc.

4. Giving Charity (Matanot LaEvyonim)

Sharing and giving are important principals in the Kabbalah and they are expressed in this Purim mitzva, where each one gives away a gift (money, food) to needed people (poor, widows, orphans) or to a charity organization on the day of Purim. This custom lets us share the light and happiness with the less privileged.

5. Giving Baskets of Food (Mishloach Manot)

The Purim basket (Mishloach Manot) is another expression of sharing and giving in Purim. On the day after the Purim celebration we give away baskets filled with delicacies to our family, friends and neighbors, sharing our conditional love and positive energy with our loved ones during the special energetic time frame of Purim.

Looking for an original way to share a light on Purim? The Zohar Book app is just a click away from your mobile device. The lite version is available for free.

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