CLASSIC REPRINT: The Purim-Passover Connection

From last year, an article on the little known connections between Passover and Purim. I pray your Purim celebration is filled with joy this weekend.

What do hamentaschen and matzos have in common? What accord could there be between Pharaoh and Haman, Moses and Mordecai, Miriam and Esther?

Actually, it is a pattern in the Jewish calendar that there should be a thirty-day period of preparation before a major observance. The High Holidays have the month of Ellul before them with preparations and soundings of the shofar. Passover also has its preparatory season, with the Fast of Esther and Purim to set the tone for a spring of commemoration and celebration.

But there is more. The main part of the story in Esther took place on Passover. Haman cast the infamous lot to set a date for the destruction of the Jews on the 13th of Nisan (Esther 3:7, 12). The third day, when Esther went in to see the king, would have been Nisan 15. Thus, the Jews of Susa fasted through Passover in that year!

Both Passover and Purim occurred outside the land, in Egypt and Persia. Both involved the near extermination of the people of Israel. Moses and Esther both appeared before kings to rescue their people. Pharaoh’s army and Haman both perished.
In The Complete Book of Jewish Observance, Leo Trepp notes that Purim is a fulfillment of the saying from the Passover Haggadah: “Not just one Pharaoh rose against us to exterminate us, but in every generation did they rise up to exterminate us, and each time the Holy One Blessed Be He has rescued us from their hands.”

Let us tell the stories and make merry the occasions of this year 5770, remembering that God, who has been working toward final redemption through the millennia, has brought us closer still. The centuries have raised up Pharaohs and Hamans and worse, yet the people of Abraham’s promise remain. As surely as Purim and Passover are connected, so all things in history are moving toward the day of Messiah.

Purim begins at sundown Saturday night and the main festivities are on Sunday.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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