- Hebrew Roots/Messianic Movement
Frequently Asked Questions
About Hebrew Roots
Hebrew Roots FAQ's
Myth: We should celebrate Purim as part of the
holidays found in the Old Testament.
A. Purim is recorded in the
book of Esther in the Scriptures and was focused on the Jewish
people and states clearly concerning the remembrance of Purim,
in Esther 9:26-32, "The Jews ordained, and took upon them," and
"as they had decreed for themselves...".
The book of Esther tell the story of the Jewish people and how
they were saved from being destroyed by a subversive plot
brought on by the jealousy and anger of Haman, an enemy of the
Jews. Esther is the “heroine” of the story having presented
herself before the King after a fast of three days – that he
would accept her to come into his presence to speak of the plot
against her and her people – which he did. Horrified at what
Haman had done, the King had him hung with his ten sons on the
gallows meant for Esther’s uncle Mordechai who had incited Haman
to wrath by not bowing down in obeisance to him – which had led
Haman to conceive the plot against the Jews.
When the Jews successfully fought and won against those who were
sent to destroy them, as the edict could not be canceled; the
King allowed them to take up arms to fight - a time of rejoicing
and celebration ensued. It was then decided to continue with a
celebration yearly to commemorate the victory. Queen Esther
signed a decree confirming the feast of Purim. The word "Purim"
is a Chaldean word [“pagan” language] that means "lots" and
refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the
Originally viewed as a
non-religious holiday, in an article "Purim", written by
Kaufmann Kohler and Henry Malter for the Jewish
Encyclopeidia.com, they suggest that although the holiday
appears in the Book of Esther, it is "altogether devoid of
religious spirit." They view it as an anomaly for Jewish
religious history. Viewing the whole book of Esther as having a
worldly spirit, they note that the only religious activity of
mention is fasting. They also write that it is not unlike
Hannukah which is also not viewed by most Jews as an actual
religious holiday. What started as a social observance over time
became somewhat religious in nature. In fact the religious
observance began due to it being required to be celebrated
according to the Talmud. 1.
In Rabbi Hyam Maccoby’s, Revolution in Judaea, and as discussed
in the article,
To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II : The Bible & The Talmud,
he noted that the Pharisees brought many traditions, observances
and festivities that were not part of the written law of Moses
given by God. These additional traditions, often referred to as
the oral law, are what are rejected by the Sadducees. They
rejected the additions to the law of Moses. However, most Jews
defend and fully support the additions found throughout the
Rabbinic writings which have become ingrained in Judaism as it
is known today. According to Hyam Maccoby, the Pharisees not
only added the festivals of Hannukah and Purim, they added to
the canon of Scripture and added new doctrine to Judaism, which
included new rites to Temple worship, and they have continually
brought in new prayers and ceremonies for use in Jewish
synagogues. 2. These are all additions that many Messianic
congregations utilize and participate in.
From the Wisdom of Kabbalah
Newsletter and their online site kabbalah.info, Purim is
discussed in the article The Inner Purim. The author Gilad
Shadmon writes that Purim is a "the holiday of opposites – joy
vs. grief, concealment vs. disclosure, Mordechay vs. Haman,
genocide vs. redemption..." According to Mr. Shadmon, Kabbalists
view the story of Esther as revealing the forces that come from
inner man, and reveal the relationship each has with the
Creator. These forces are viewed as guiding the events of each
person's life. The forces themselves are called, Mordechai,
Esther, Haman and whatever other names appear in the book.
Mordechai is equated with being the inner force of all Jews..
Haman represents the evil, egotistical and selfish part of each
person. Everything is related to the Jews as individuals and as
a people, historically and currently. Haman is viewed as wanting
to eliminate the Jews because they stand in the way of
accomplishing his goal of exploiting the Creator. 3
Some of the belief presented
concerning the reason that the Jews were dispersed is because,
according to Mr. Shadmon, "the people of Israel have risen to a
higher level now." That means they have "direct and open contact
with the Creator" The bond between them is so obvious that none
would be able to deny it, and the end of the Book of Esther
means that all peoples reform because of it. "The meaning is
that all the desires in man, called Peoples, accept the main
force that leads to confidence and happiness, called Israel.
....The Jew in a man is limited. That limitation can only be
overcome by the evil Haman. That is why we need to find the
Haman within us. ...." 3
As we can see, Purim has
religious and mystical meaning to those practicing Judaism.
Purim was not a feast of the Lord. It was in honor of victory
over the enemy of the Jews, not a shadow of Christ like the
Feasts that God had given to Israel to observe. Purim, as it is
celebrated, puts the emphasis on the person and the Jewish
people. The Feasts of the Lord were a shadow, a prophecy of
Jesus Christ and focused on Him, the fulfillment of those
Although there is not any
evidence that Purim was kept in the Old Testament other than in
the book of Esther, Judaism has continued to keep this holiday
under the instruction of the Talmud. The earliest reference to
this celebratory holiday is in the second century CE.
It is celebrated on the
14th day of Adar, which usually means March 14th. It is believed
it is the 13th that Haman picked to exterminate the Jews. The
resulting battle and victory is celebrated as Purim. In walled
cities Purim was celebrated on the 15th because it was believed
the full victory was not completed until then.
The Talmud is explicit in its Rabbinical instructions for
keeping Purim, which is mandatory in Judaism. Some of the
* The reading of the book of
Esther called the Megillah [scroll], must be read in the evening
before Purim and the morning of, according to the commandment in
* Hiss, boo, stomp and rattle noise makers whenever the name of
Haman is mentioned so that "his name is blotted out."
* Eat, drink and be merry – the Talmud instructs that “a person
is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between
"cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai," though opinions
differ as to exactly how drunk that is.”
* The Jews are commanded to send out gifts of food and drink,
and to give gifts to charity.
* People should not work or go about their normal business, but
it is not considered a “Sabbath”.
* Although Esther, fasted three days and three nights,
Rabbinical instructions only require one day of fasting,
although some do additional fasting after Purim.
* Dressing up in costumes with masks for parades, and carnivals
is all part of the fun and most definitely one of the favorite
parts of celebrating Purim. Today, children even dress up as
Disney characters and super heroes. 7
It's sometimes called "The Jewish Mardi Gras".
Not unlike Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the carnival in Israel
itself removes all restrictions, with some cities such as Tel
Aviv having "cross dressing drag queens" mingling with
"clown-clad kiddies". Children often have multiple costumes as
they celebrate for a week, although only the actual day of Purim
is a holiday. Alcohol is consumed to drunkenness as part of the
celebrations. 9, 10
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is
raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Isaiah 5:11-12 Woe unto them that rise up early in the
morning, that they may follow strong drink; that
continue until night, till wine inflame them! 12. And
the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are
in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD,
neither consider the operation of his hands.
Some Messianic Judaism
congregations actually pass out lists of Jewish musicians and
movie stars as suggestions for Purim dress up, as well as
Biblical characters. The mixing of secular and religious seems
hypocritical when considering these same “gentile Jews” ridicule
Christians who may dress up at Halloween or allow their
children to go trick or treating. The emphasis of the costumes
for Purim is no different than Halloween – it is to hide evil
behind a mask.
As one source stated, Purim is the holiday with the carnival
quality, where "norms are subverted and reversed" to commemorate
the "reversal of fortune" observed in the Book of Esther.
Accordingly, Purim is celebrated with "drinking, dressing up,
and satirical performances, all recalling the evil decrees of
Haman that were ultimately overturned." 11
The custom of wearing disguises
on Purim is, according to the belief, because God hid His
identity in the Book of Esther. The salvation of the Jewish
people was accomplished through the actions of the people
themselves and that is who is celebrated. God's name is never
mentioned in Esther. According to the belief, the choice to
appear as non-Jews during Purim does not change that inwardly
"they are holy and pure." Meaning that "all appearances of evil
in Israel is only external, and inwardly we remain a holy
people." The beliefs are also paralleled to particular
Scripture and rabbinic interpretation of such, with the
conclusion that it is Scripturally correct to hide one's face on
Although there has been much
debate on the amount of alcohol that one can consume and still
not violate other commandments, there appears to be a rather
extreme latitude within Rabbinic opinion as to just how drunk
that is. However the consensus is to become excessively drunk as
part of the celebration. 13, 14, 15
Another reference in the Talmud
to getting drunk on Purim:
"How does one fulfill the
obligation of the Purim Seudah? One should eat meat and
prepare as nice a meal as one can afford and drink wine
until one becomes drunk and falls asleep from drunkenness.
(Laws of Megillah 2:15)" 16
Those Messianics or those in
Hebrew Roots who enter into these things and prefer the OT
Scriptures seem to have missed these warnings.
Proverbs 23:29-35 Who hath woe? who
hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who
hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30.
They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed
wine. 31. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when
it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth
itself aright. 32. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and
stingeth like an adder. 33. Thine eyes shall behold strange
women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34. Yea,
thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea,
or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35. They have
stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they
have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall
I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Isaiah 28:7-8 But they also have
erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the
way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong
drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the
way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble
in judgment. 8. For all tables are full of vomit
and filthiness, so that there is no place
Isaiah 56:12 Come ye, say they,
I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong
drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much
If one is a follower of Jesus
Christ and seeks to live according to New Testament guidelines,
then participating in Purim, which traditions are of
Judaism, that is, the customs found in the Talmud and Zohar,
would be against the Scriptures of the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written
unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a
brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a
railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one
no not to eat.
Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the
day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and
wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest
at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and
drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come
upon you unawares.
What those in Hebrew Roots or
those Messianics involved in Purim are doing is taking part in
traditions of men, and which involvement can be no different
than their railings against Christians for their participation
with Christmas and Easter celebrations. Christmas and Easter
are, for true believers, focused on Jesus Christ's birth, death
and resurrection according to the inspired Word of God in the
Bible. The keeping of feasts according to Talmudic/kabbalistic
traditions and commandments are of man, not God. As Jesus said:
Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote
that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam
that is in thine own eye?
Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye
also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 6
... Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect
by your tradition.
We are told explicitly in the NT:
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all
appearance of evil.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings,
murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the
which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time
past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law. 24. And they that are Christ's have
crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25. If we
live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is
excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
1 Peter 4:1-6 Forasmuch then as
Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves
likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in
the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2.
no longer should live the rest of his time in the
flesh to the lusts of men,
but to the will of God. 3.
For the time past of our life may suffice us to have
wrought the will of the Gentiles,
when we walked in
lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings,
banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4. Wherein they
think it strange that ye run not with them to the
same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
5. Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the
quick and the dead. 6. For for this cause was the gospel
preached also to them that are dead, that they might be
judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to
God in the spirit.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you
richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one
another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the
Father by him.
1 "Purim", by Kaufmann Kohler and
Henry Malter Jewish Encyclopeidia.com
To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II The Bible & The Talmud
The Legend of Hannukah > http://www.SeekGod.ca/legend.htm
3. The Inner Purim Author: Gilad. Shadmon Translator: C.
Ratz Editor: C. Marce
Newsletter: The Wisdom of Kabbalah from Kabbalah-Benei Baruch
July 5, 2007 Newsletter #117 - A Kabbalist, a Scientist
and a Couple were pursuing happiness, until... http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/holidays_eng/inner_purim.htm?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter-117
8. http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htmhttp & http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holiday9.html
14. - 16 ibid
Hebrew Roots FAQS & Myths
Basic Doctrinal Issues
Under the Law
Sacrifices, Feasts, Celebrations
God & Jesus
Who Is Jesus
for Hebrew and Greek Word definitions from Strong's Exhaustive
Concordance by James Strong
"Thayers" > Thayer's
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
>Brown-Driver-Brigg's Hebrew Definitions
All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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