Featured Purim Animated Videos
Upcoming Date: From the evening of March 23 to 24, 2024.
Matanot L’Evyonim: Purim Gifts To The Poor
Rabbi David Fohrman - 46 min video - Part 1 of 2
Besides for reading the book of Esther, Purim is primarily celebrated through two mitzvot: Mishloach Manot and Matanot la'evyonim. Mishloach Manot is the practice of giving gifts to friends and family and Matanot la'evyonim is the act of giving gifts to the poor. But what makes Mishloach Manot and Matanot la'evyonim so unique to Purim? Sure these are great mitzvot to do – but why do them on Purim, specifically? Through a careful examination of the Purim story, Rabbi Fohrman explores the subtle whispers and foreshadows of these two mitzvot in the text. What emerges is a unique story of the discrete dialogue shared between Queen Esther and Mordechai during this period in the turbulent, Persian Empire. Join Rabbi Fohrman as he explores this fascinating backstory – and never give Mishloach Manot the same way again.
Who Was Haman?
Rabbi David Fohrman - 5 min video - Part 1 of 7
We often think of Esther almost as a fairytale, with evil Haman, silly Achashverosh, brilliant Mordechai and angelic Esther. In this video course, Rabbi Fohrman uncovers a fascinating connection between the story of the Garden of Eden and the megillah of Esther - and ultimately, Esther's actions help to redeem the fall of humankind after the sin in the Garden of Eden.
Purim Story Videos
The Fast Before Purim
Immanuel Shalev - 9 min video
Purim’s almost here! But first, before the happiest day of the year, we’re going to spend the day… fasting. So why do we fast on this day? Is Taanit Esther just a burden we need to get through before all the fun begins, or is there something more to it? What is the deeper meaning behind the fast of Esther?
Why Is Purim So Important
Immanuel Shalev - 8 min video
Why is celebrating Purim important today – or even at all? Sure, Purim is the “holiday that will never be forgotten,” and celebrates the salvation of the Jewish nation, but it is also the rare holiday where God doesn’t take center stage in the story. Is this a clue that Purim celebrates our own contribution, alongside God’s? Of course, we recognize that Purim celebrates the work of God’s helping hand “in the background.” That certainly seems like an important reason to celebrate Purim for all eternity. But aren’t we partly responsible for our achievements? This Purim video sets out to uncover a meaningful reason as to why we still celebrate Purim today.
Why is It Called Purim & What Does It Refer To?
Rabbi David Fohrman - 6 min video - Part 1 of 4
What is the true meaning of the word Purim? Why would we name Purim after Haman's lots, which represent both Haman's method of destruction and his focus on chance, which is antithetical to our belief of God's Divine involvement? In this course, Rabbi Fohrman dismantles our understanding of the Hebrew word Purim with an intriguing Biblical narrative and a challenge to be more like Esther – remaining neutral is not an option. Discover the meaning of Purim.
What Connects Sarah And Esther In The Bible?
Rabbi David Fohrman - 11 min video
The Torah tells us that Sarah died when she was 127. The Torah also tells us that there were 127 provinces in the Persian empire in the days of Achashverosh and Queen Esther. Coincidence? Rabbi Akiva doesn’t think so, and neither does Rabbi Fohrman. Watch this video to find out why.
Premium Purim Holiday Videos
Unmasking the mysteries of Purim
Rabbi David Fohrman - 2 hours, 7 min video
Rabbi Fohrman explores the connection between the stories of Megillat Esther and Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Could the very first story in the Torah have any connection to the very last story of the Torah? And if so...what does that mean for the way we understand the holiday of Purim today?
The Mysterious Connection Between the Books of Leviticus & Esther
Rabbi David Fohrman - 1 hour, 54 min video
The Book of Esther is filled with many biblical echoes that deepen and enrich our understanding of what really happened in Shushan. Join Rabbi David Fohrman and Rabbanit Shani Taragin as they trace the Book of Esther back to the dedication of the Tabernacle in the Book of Leviticus, and enter Purim with a new perspective.
Purim: How Thin Is The Line Between Esther And Haman?
Rabbi David Fohrman - 1 hour, 5 min video - Part 1 of 2
How do we come to grips with a command to utterly destroy Amalek? How thin is the line between the great heroism of Esther and the great evil of Haman? The two may not be as far apart as they might seem. Check it out – and please feel free to write back with feedback!
Divine Lottery: Fate, Chance And Themes
Rabbi David Fohrman - 55 min video - Part 1 of 3
What are the main themes of Purim that emerge from the Book of Esther? We dive into the glaring questions in Megillat answer and uncover the surprising answers.
Purim And Genesis: How The Beginning Of The Bible Connects To The End
Rabbi David Fohrman - 1 hour, 5 min video - Part 1 of 2
Rabbi Fohrman taught this Premium webinar before Purim of 2018. Come watch, and explore the connections between the story of Purim and the story of Rebecca and her sons.
The Rise of Antisemitism: A Glimpse Into Amalek’s Tortured Soul
Rabbi David Fohrman - 1 hour, 23 min video - Part 1 of 11
Antisemitism. Where did it all originate and can we trace it through the Tanahk? Rabbi Fohrman argues that it may have begun with the story of Amelek, which is widely known as one of the most mystifying and difficult episodes in the Torah.
What Does The Induction Ceremony For The Priests Have To Do With... Purim?
Rabbi David Fohrman - 43 min video
We learn in Shemini about the induction of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. Interestingly, there are bunch of similarities - in language, and in theme - between this story, and the story of Megillat Esther. But what does the induction of priests have to do with Esther?? Join Rabbi Fohrman and Rivky as they examine this puzzle - and never think about the priesthood, or Megillat Esther - the same way again.
What Does Yom Kippur Have To Do With Megillat Esther?
Rabbi David Fohrman - 22 min video
Acharei Mot describes the priest’s Yom Kippur service in the Tabernacle, with strangely similar language to Megillat Esther. But what does Yom Kippur—with themes of repentance and closeness to God—have to do with Esther? Rabbi Fohrman and Rivky re-examine these two texts.
Purim Resources & Guides
What Is Purim?
Purim is a festive Jewish holiday where we celebrate with costumes, noisemakers, and parties. But what is Purim really about once we strip away the revelry? Here we explain what Purim commemorates, and why it is still relevant in the 21st century.
The Fast Of Esther 101
Purim is coming! The most joyous day of the year is right around the corner! But hold on, because just before the celebration and feasting begins, Jews around the world spend the day… fasting. Why? What does this fast commemorate? Why is Esther's Fast still relevant in the 21st century?
Purim day is filled with the excitement of giving and receiving Mishloach Manot, small gifts of delicious food. Mishloach Manot come in all shapes and sizes, but, bagged, boxed or in baskets, these special Purim gifts add immensely to the joy and warmth of the holiday. Why do we give Mishloach Manot on Purim? And what goes into a perfect Purim basket? Scroll down to find out.
Purim Book, Chapter 1: "The Queen You Thought You Knew."
In this excerpt from Rabbi Fohrman's book on Purim, "The Queen You Thought You Knew," he invites you to look at the Book of Esther with fresh eyes. In so doing, he reveals another richer, deeper narrative. Unravel the layers and watch Esther's hidden story come alive in an unexpected way, offering you a stirring encounter with the queen you thought you knew.
Purim in a Nutshell: Purim Story for Kids
Two generations ago, a nation attempted to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth. Purim is a holiday that takes us back ...
The Purim festival is the great holiday of make-believe. Our kids dress up as Esther, Mordechai, Haman and Achashverosh, using plastic hats and cellophane scepters. Likewise, the Book of Esther – read on this day, in synagogues worldwide – can easily masquerade as a child’s tale.
There’s a villain who is out to hang Mordechai; a king who enjoys drinking and seems a bit naive; and there’s the beautiful and noble queen, Esther. There are assassins, palace intrigue, and a climactic battle scene. There’s even a happy ending.
What more could you ask for in a good child’s story? But in order to understand the deeper narrative, we need to read the Megillah – and to see Purim itself – as if it were the first time.
Purim is a reminder of how close the Jewish race once came to being completely wiped out. It's one of the most joyous days on the Jewish calendar, where we celebrate the miraculous salvation of the Jews from a Persian decree to annihilate them.
Jews celebrate with a festive meal, public readings of the story from the Megillah, dressing in costumes, giving matanot l’evyonim (charity to the poor), and mishloach manot, sending food to friends.
But it is almost astounding that Purim became a holiday at all. The victory of Purim seems to be entirely political, and not in any way spiritual. Mordechai and Esther managed to save the Jews from a national holocaust, which is incredible, but is there anything spiritually meaningful for us, two millennia later, to apply to our lives?
The conventional answer is that the lesson of Purim is, “God works behind the scene.” And it’s true, Megillat Esther is full of all of these "coincidences" that seem to come together and not really be coincidences at all. But ultimately, that seems philosophical, not practical.
After the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah in the beginning of the sixth century BCE, the Jews were largely exiled from the land of Israel. The Jews began to form communities in the diaspora, and when the Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians several decades later, these communities came under Persian rule, including a community living in Shushan, the Persian capital.
The chief adviser to the king, Haman, who also lived in Shushan, had instituted a decree that all citizens of the city bow upon seeing him, and one man, a Jew named Mordechai, refused.
In retaliation, Haman convinced the king to let him exterminate all of the Jews in the empire. Haman cast a lot – in Hebrew, “Pur” – to choose the date of the genocide, and it fell on the fifteenth of the month of Adar. The name of this holiday derives from the lot that Haman cast to decide the date of the destruction, a date that changed from disaster to joy.
By seeming coincidence, Mordechai’s cousin, Esther, had recently been chosen as the king’s new queen, after he had executed his previous wife for disobedience. Mordechai and Esther skillfully and subtly leveraged Esther’s station to convince the king that Haman was trying to kill Esther, and the king in turn had Haman and his family executed and the murderous decree replaced.
Through their political savvy, Mordechai and Esther were able to save the Jews. Purim reminds us every year to be thankful for this salvation.
Yet, as joyous as Purim is, many things about the holiday seem strange. Why name the holiday after Haman’s lots, of all things? Where is God in this story? His name is not mentioned in any of the related Biblical verses. And why do we celebrate with charity and food packages? The videos above will kickstart your journey through these questions – and reveal some very surprising answers.
Buy Rabbi Fohrman's Book on Purim
How well do you know Esther? Our overfamiliarity with the characters – and their actions – can distract us from seeing the deeper meaning of the book of Esther. In “The Queen You Thought You Knew,” Rabbi Fohrman invites us to see the Megillah as if for the first time.
Be surprised by a deeper Purim story than you thought possible, one that brings the book alive in a vibrant, unexpected way, and leads us to a deeper, richer narrative. Rediscover the queen you thought you knew. Download the first chapter for free.