by Judy Bratten
The Feast of Lots, also called the Feast of Esther, occurs in late winter and celebrates the liberation of the Jews of Persia from destruction at the hands of the proud and wicked Haman, Prime Minister under King Xerxes.
It is a wonderful tale of intrigue, loyalty and royal trappings that children and adults enjoy acting out. Costumes can range from draped sheets and towel turbans to actual robes and harem veils. As the story, or Megilla, is read and dramatized, the audience is supplied with a variety of noisemakers which are used to drown out the name and words of Haman. Traditional foods such as hamantashen (pastry in the shape of Haman’s hat) are eaten and alms or gifts for the poor are distributed.
We try to gather enough people together to act out or read aloud the story of Esther, Mordecai, Haman and the King. The children prepare costumes and noisemakers (a string of metal nuts or washers in a tin can is a loud one) in the preceding days. The performance is followed by serving refreshments, including hamantashen.
Mother lights the candles and says:
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has given us light in darkness and victory over our enemies.
Father: Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, by whom we were created and to whom we owe all glory and praise. As we commemorate thy saving power on this feast of Purim, may we always look to thee to be our strength, our protection and our deliverance.
Child: May we be as obedient as Hadassah (Esther) and revere God with awe.
Child: May we be as faithful as Mordecai who refused to bend his knee to any but God alone.
Child: May we seek justice and never allow the hatred of Haman to flourish.
Child: May we celebrate with your people, O Lord, these days of Purim in which sorrow was turned to joy and mourning into feasting.
Father: Mordecai said to Esther, “Who knows but that it was for a time like this that you obtained the royal dignity.” (Esther 4:14)
We pray, O Lord, that each of us may be used in the position in which thou hast placed us, that we may bring thy justice, freedom and truth to others.
We ask this in the name of Yeshua, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee and Ruach haKodesh, one God, for ever and ever.