Purim Prayers

Written by Patricia Skinner
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At the time of Purim, Jews everywhere celebrate a special meal to give thanks for the sparing of Jewish lives as told in the Scroll of Esther, which is also called the Megillah. These special prayers are not just to give thanks, but are also to commemorate the special prayers said by Esther herself before she interceded for the lives of the Jews. She was very afraid of interceding with the Persian King Achashverosh, who was her husband. He had already put his first wife to death for disobeying him, and no person had ever asked for an audience without his permission.

Esther's uncle, Mordechai, encouraged her to go ahead with her intercession, however. So, in addition to her special prayers for the safety of the Jewish people, she also fasted three days to prepare herself for her daunting task. Devoted Jews fast for one day during Purim to commemorate those fasts, before the day of celebration.

Special Prayers for Purim

The Al HaNassim prayer should be recited during Purim during the morning, afternoon, and evening. In addition to these special prayers, the entire Scroll of Esther should be read at least once, all the way through, during the Feast of Purim on the 14th of Adar.

Feasting and merrymaking has become the focus of the celebration of Purim, although Rabbis tell us that this wasn't always the case. In the time immediately following the events of Purim, the celebrations tended to be a much more serious affair. In contrast to the fact that Jews are actually encouraged to drink alcohol during Purim now, some Rabbinic accounts tell us how the original scrolls warned the Jews of the dangers of alcohol.

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