The Fast of Esther is observed on the preceding day of the festival of Purim, and it will be observed on March 23 this year. We are here to tell you how you can recognize the day in the best possible way. Do you know that it has been more than 2000 years since “The Book of Esther” was written? The fast is observed to commemorate the events in “The Book of Esther.” The Fast of Esther is a minor fast day, and it begins at the break of dawn and ends by sunset. Food and water are forbidden during these hours, but no other physical conveniences.
History of Fast of Esther
The Fast of Esther is observed to memorialize the events in “The Book of Esther.” Some say that a fast is observed on this day as it was on this day that Esther fasted for three days and three nights. It is believed that Mordecai proclaimed a three-day fast when he informed Esther about Haman’s plans, and Esther suggested that she and the Jewish community of Shushan fasted for three days. The story goes that Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, was displeased upon hearing that Mordechai would not bow down to him. When he found out that Mordechai was a Jew, he convinced Ahasuerus to allow him to kill all the members of the Jew community.
Esther stepped in and decided to foil Haman’s plan. She invited Haman to a banquet. Haman honored the invite and fell on Esther’s couch, pleading for mercy. But Queen Esther had informed the King that Haman had come to kill her. Enraged, the king entered the banquet, and when he saw Haman on the couch, he interpreted it as sexual advancement and was further infuriated. Haman was hanged.
Some scholars believe that the fast is observed as the Jews who went to battle with the enemies had fasted to get divine favor. King Ahasuerus had initially given orders to kill the Jews, orders he couldn’t annul. Ahasuerus then asked the Jews to fight back and kill anyone who sought to kill them. The Jews are said to have fasted before going into battle and slaying over 75,000 men.
The Fast of Esther has been observed by Jews for centuries on the day preceding the festival of Purim. Some also believe that the fast is observed to nullify the feasting and merrymaking during Purim.
Fast of Esther timeline
Esther is born in the Persian Empire.
King Ahasuerus makes Esther his new queen.
“The Book of Esther” is written during the reign of Artaxerxes III.
The Jews, especially the Rabbi religious leaders, observe a minor fast to commemorate the events mentioned in “The Book of Esther.”
Fast of Esther FAQs
Is Purim similar to Easter?
Purim is a day of feasting and celebration, and hence it is often compared to other holidays like Halloween, Easter, and Mardi Gras. It is similar to Easter as baskets of food and drink are sent to family and the poor, and these baskets look like Easter baskets.
What is the proper way to wish on Purim?
You can wish “Happy Purim,” or, if you want it to be more authentic, you can wish people in Hebrew “Chag Purim Sameach.” The phrase, “Chag Sameach” can be used for any Jewish holiday.
What should I bring to a Purim party?
Giving food gifts for Purim is a common tradition. People mostly bring baskets of cookies, candies, wine, snacks, and fruits, but a packaged gift bag is also acceptable.
How To Observe The Fast Of Esther
Prepare yourself mentally
Fasting is not for everyone. Abstaining from food and water requires more mental strength than you think. If you want to carry out the fast successfully, you should prepare in advance. On the previous night, eat whole foods such as rice, lentils, dairy, and vegetables. You also have to prepare mentally for the fast.
Recite your prayers
In the morning, recite ‘selichot,’ which is present at the back of the prayer book. In the afternoon, during the Minchah — an afternoon prayer service, recite the Amidah prayer. Some people who take up fasting also include the paragraph Aneinu in the Shema Koleinu blessing during the Minchah.
Give to charity
It is said that the Jews contributed half-shekels to the Holy Temple to counter the 10,000 silver talents given to King Ahasuerus by Haman to annihilate the Jew community. It is customary to give three coins in half denominations to charity during the fast of Esther.
5 Facts About The Book Of Esther That Will Blow Your Mind
One of the two books on women
“The Book of Esther” is one of the two books named after a woman, the other one is “The Book of Ruth.”
It was written by Mordecai
It is believed that the author of “The Book of Esther” is either her cousin Mordecai or Ezra.
It takes place in Susa
The events mentioned in “The Book of Esther” are said to have occurred in Susa, modern-day Sush in Iran.
Only Adar is mentioned
Adar is the only month in the biblical calendar that has been mentioned in “The Book of Esther.”
God is not mentioned
It is the only book in the Hebrew Bible that does not mention God.
Why The Fast Of Esther is Important
It teaches us about sacrifice and strengthens willpower
Fasting makes us appreciate the richness of life. It makes us realize the importance of the food that we eat and the comfort we have in our lives. It teaches us a lesson on sacrifice, devotion, and gratitude. It also strengthens the mind.
It invokes devotion in us
This day gives us a chance to bring out our religious and spiritual side. While observing the Fast of Esther, one can set aside his stress, worry, and the complexities of life and meditate. It gives us the time to introspect, pray, and be one with God.
Fasting has health benefits
Decreased resting heart rate, decreased blood pressure, lower levels of bad cholesterol, reduced level of insulin are some of the benefits of fasting. It also promotes the expulsion of damaged cells and the creation of new healthy cells.
Fast of Esther dates