Purim - The Perfect Time for Sharing Kosher Gifts
The February 28 festival of Purim is perhaps the most festive and entertaining of all Jewish holidays. It is a time for masquerades, costumes, noisemakers, storytelling, pageants, eating, and above all, gift giving. Purim is, in fact, one of the biggest Jewish gift-giving holidays of the year. What could be more thoughtful and appropriate than to send elegant treat-filled Purim baskets especially prepared with love and care by Kosher Gift Box to your friends, family, or business associates for Purim?
What is Purim?
The Purim story takes place long ago, when the King of Persia held a beauty contest to pick his new bride. The beautiful and charming Esther impressed him and he immediately crowned her. Mordecai, Esther's guardian and a Jewish leader, instructedher to keep her Jewish identity a secret. But terrible trouble began when Mordecai refused to bow before the King's wicked Prime Minister, Haman. Haman, a terrible enemy to the Jews, convinced the King to let him destroy them. When Mordecai discovered the evil plot, he begged Esther to reveal her identity and save their people. Esther devised her own clever plan, and when she exposed Haman's scheme, the King was outraged and ordered his death and the death of his sons.
For the observance of Purim, there are four mitzvoth, or good deeds, that Jews are to fulfill.
#1: Reading the Megilla (story of Purim): With the goal to never forget what happened so long ago, congregations everywhere read the story of Purim (named the Megilla-yes, the "whole megilla") aloud every year to an excited and rowdy crowd. Listeners cheer for the heroes and boo, hiss, stamp feet and shake noisemakers to drown out the villain's name (Haman) each time it's read. Purim is a joyous holiday where children, and sometimes adults, dress up like royalty-from Queen Esther to Haman-and parade around Purim carnivals and festivals. It's all in the spirit of victory and good over evil.
#2: Exchanging gifts of food: Shalach Manot means to send portions, or food gift baskets, of food. Traditionally, Jews send Purim gifts filled with ready-to-eat treats, including hamentashen, the delicious fruit, prune or poppy-seed filled traditional triangular cookie that represents Haman's three-pointed hat, as well as all sorts of gourmet treats from chocolates to wine. Purim baskets are sent tofriends, family, neighbors, acquaintances and business associates. It's a mitzvah (good deed) to send as many Purim baskets as possible as a strong reminder of the love and unity that Esther and Mordechai brought to their Jewish community. Mishloach Manot (Purim baskets) are to be delivered by a messenger or third party rather than delivered by the giver (mail order or any delivery service are perfect).
#3: Giving to the poor: Matanot l'Evyonim means gifts to the poor. Purim traditions include giving at least two Purim gifts of food to those less fortunate. These are also traditionally sent as gift baskets, but the mitzvah can be fulfilled by a financial contribution to an organization that will ultimately provide food.
#4: Eating a festive meal: At the close of the Purim celebration, Jews everywhere enjoy a meal together. It is a lively and spirited celebration and one of the few where Jews are told to eat, drink and live it up. While there is no traditional Purim menu, Hamantashen is extremely popular as a dessert item and kreplach, also triangular, is often part of the meal. At Kosher Gift Box you can find recipes that will be perfect for a Purim meal.
Copyright 2010, Kosher Gift Box, Westport, CT