Purim: Law Versus Tradition
Shabbat Message for 2/28/2004
From: subscriber
To: JoyInTheWorld.info
Subject: Re: Purim Movie

That was a very moving, but short, movie [http://www.aish.com/a/purim.asp].  To be honest, I know nothing about Purim and have never celebrated it.  It (I thought) appears to be much like the American 4th of July - a historical remembrance, as opposed to a biblically-commanded observance.  I went to the Aish site to learn a bit about it (though there was not much time to do that); however, when I read "The ABC's of Purim," under "Celebrating Purim Today," I was a bit bothered by several of the ways it is observed.  In particular, "In other words, we are to drink [alcohol] until the point that we don't know good from bad."  (I drink, but not in excess.)   Another custom -- "We dress up in costumes, to let our defenses down and open up to the deeper reality of ourselves..."  I realize this is perhaps just one person's observance possibly, but you can feel free to enlighten me a bit if you have a few minutes.  In any event, thanks for the info here
    Yes, these are some noteworthy concerns about Purim.  This is our first year, so we're new at it too. :)  To start off with, the institution of Purim is mentioned in Scripture, therfore it is Scriptural..... but at the same time, it is not a commanded celebration in the law.   It is traditon, just as the 4th of July, except it is a remembrance of a Scriptural occasion.  Of course, tradition is not wrong, but the other side of the story is that tradition is not law, and as such, should not be used as the basis of doctrine (i.e. you have to keep purim or else... :-)   I have no problem keeping Purim, because it does not go against a command in the law.  I also have no problem not keeping Purim, because there is no command to keep it in the law... it's an optional feast.  Regarding Aish's instructions on keeping purim, I did not intend to imply that I was in agreement with Aish's instructions by forwarding the movie.  I have heard that some observe Purim in this way; Aish is actually an orthodox jewish site (which includes Messiah rejection), so we're obviously not for nearly everything they say, and yes, our subscriber is correct that their observance is not everybody's observance.
 
    We will be observing based on the info we have in the Scriptures.... by remembering YHWH's victory over Hamman (tradition has it that you booo every time you hear his name :-), possibly reading the Esther account, and that will be pretty much the extent of it.    In regards to how some others might observe it, I would say it's an issue about like what Shaul (Paul) was talking about when it comes to Passover..... folks come together, and one starves while another gets drunk.  This makes neither Passover nor Purim wrong;  it is the heart of the man which is wrong, and which corrupts.
 
    For directions on observing Purim from a Messianic perspective:  http://www.messianichome.org/Articles/1998/spring/purim.htm
By the way, Purim is March 6th and 7th this year, and for anyone interested within driving range of the south-central PA area, I am attaching the details for a Purim celebration which will be held about ˝hr south of Harrisburg PA this next Shabbat.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Bro. Dehnke through the email specificed in the attached message.
 
    May the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts.
    Brother MattithYah
    for the Coover Family


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