The Names of the Feast

There are three basic names for this feast. The most common name by far today is Purim. This is the biblical name according to Esther 9:26. It is the plural form of the singular word pur, meaning lot. Therefore, Purim means lots, or the Feast of Lots. The reason this name was used is given in Esther 9:24, because Haman had cast the pur (that is the lot) to determine the day to destroy the Jews.

A second name is Mordecai’s Day. This is a name given to the feast in early Jewish writings between the TaNaKh and the B'rit Chadashah and is found in one of the apocryphal books, Second Maccabees 15:36. It was given this name because it was actually Mordecai who inaugurated the feast (Esther 9:20-21).

The third name is Id El Sukar. This is Arabic, meaning the sweet festival. The Arabs of Jerusalem gave this name during the Turkish period (1517 to 1917). It became the Jewish custom in Jerusalem to give sugar candies to Moslem authorities on this day, thus, they called this feast the Sweet Festival.113

 

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