Why Celebrate Purim? | Rabbi Jason Sobel

Purim Party

The Jewish Holiday of Purim celebrates God’s deliverance for the Jewish people as found in the Book of Esther. Purim occurs in the month of Adar. When Adar comes, there is a season of joy. This is what the Jewish sages say, “Just as we decrease joy in the month of Av, so should we increase joy in the month of Adar.”

In a world of so many anti-depressants, self-help books, and people struggling to find happiness and purpose, what brings us joy? What brings us true contentment in this world and in the age to come? Doing the will of God and fulfilling our destiny is what ultimately brings the greatest pleasure. This calls to mind that beautiful line from the famous movie, Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

When we do what we are created to do, we find the pleasure of God. We will never experience the fullness of pleasure unless we are really willing to act. Friends, it is not a season to hedge our bets, play it safe, or hold back. We must find both Mordecai and Esthers in our lives. Not only do we need to push other people into their destiny, but we also need to allow others to push us into the fullness of all God has. Two is better than one.

At the very least, the story of Esther teaches us one thing: we should not fear failure – we should fear doing nothing with all that God has given us. We must act. God not only calls us but equips us with every good and perfect gift that comes from Him, our Father of Lights (see James 1). Every good work has been prepared for us in advance; friends, all we have to do is walk in it. We are called to action in this day, “for such a time as this.”

Purim is a time to not only celebrate God’s concern for our lives but His calling! We worship a God who is love, and that love was expressed in His deliverance: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us” (Romans 5:8). This rescuing God has called and equipped you to participate with Him in this glorious mission, and that’s something worth celebrating! And this is why one of my favorite holidays in the year is the celebration of Esther known as Purim. In our Messianic congregations in Hollywood, we host an Esther’s Ball, which brings together Jew and Gentile, young and old, and many different streams together to remember that historic moment.