The Strange Meaning Of The Word ‘Purim’

Purim: Why Name A Holiday After The Enemy?

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman

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Passover is named for an incredible miracle, when God passed over and saved us from Egyptian oppression. Sukkot is named for the miraculous huts that housed us in the wilderness. And Purim is named for... Haman’s ‘lots’?!

Isn’t that kind of bizarre? Those lots were the device that our enemy used to try and annihilate us. They were a weapon of destruction. Why would we name the holiday after that? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to call it “Victory Day” or “Esther Day”? Why would we celebrate the holiday of Purim in honor of our enemy?

In this series, Rabbi Fohrman flips the idea of Purim’s name on its head. (It’s a real ‘ve’nahafoch hu’!) He makes a surprising claim: that Purim isn’t named after Haman’s lots; it actually means something else. In doing so, he shows how this bizarre name for the holiday is actually a key to unlocking one of the Megillah’s most intriguing hidden messages.