Why is Purim So Different from All Other Holidays?

Our sages teach us that in the messianic era, all Jewish holidays will be annulled – except for Purim! Why is Purim different from all other holidays?

Purim is the very festive holiday that commemorates the Jewish people’s salvation from Haman’s evil plot in ancient Persia. (See the Book of Esther for more information!)

Here’s something really neat: Our sages teach us that in the messianic era, all the Jewish holidays will be annulled – except for Purim! While it is unclear if this will truly be the case, the statement itself is quite powerful! Why is Purim different from all other holidays?

It is explained that Purim is distinguished because it celebrates our salvation from near-genocide. No, Hitler wasn’t the first that tried to exterminate the Jewish people, and Haman wasn’t even the second! As we say at the Passover Seder, “In every generation there is someone who tries to exterminate us!” Indeed, our sages teach us that Purim and Passover are very connected, because Pharaoh too, tried to destroy us. Both holidays share the theme of salvation and deliverance to freedom.

Now let’s continue in the cycle of holidays. After Passover comes Shavuot, the holiday in which we commemorate the Revelation at Sinai and the giving of the Torah. This, too, is a theme that is found in Purim! The Talmud teaches that on Purim the Jewish people re-committed themselves to the Torah that they had accepted at Mount Sinai so many years earlier. As such, Purim is also a celebration of the giving of the Torah!

Chabad Purim

A child in costume celebrating the holiday of Purim. (chabadinfo.com)

Then there’s Rosh Hashana, the holiday in which we are judged for the coming year, followed by Yom Kippur, the day of atonement for our sins. Purim contains both these themes as well!  In fact, the true name for Yom Kippur is “Yom Hakippurim.” Do you see the connection between Yom Kippur and Purim? Those familiar with the Hebrew language will realize that the formal name for Yom Kippur means “a day similar to Purim”! The Jewish nation was judged in the days of Purim just as we are judged every year on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

And finally, there is the holiday of Sukkot, when we build booths (“sukkot”) – outdoor structures with flimsy roofs made up of items that grow in nature. The Sukkot are intended to remind us of the “clouds of glory” that accompanied the Jewish people during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. The clouds protected the Jewish people from the elements and from harm. It was a constant sign of God’s love for the nation. Here, too, is a connection to Purim. Purim served as the “Divine wink” to the Jewish people that God loved them, and the covenant between them was re-established and strengthened. Hence, there is much in common between Sukkot and Purim.

Based on all of the above, we can now understand why all holidays will be annulled in the future except for Purim, because Purim contains a bit of every holiday within it! So this year, when you are feasting, rejoicing, and yes, drinking…keep in mind the power of Purim and all that it represents!

Have a very joyous Purim!

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin