This year - Wednesday Night (March 20, 2019) the festival of Purim will begin. One hears the Megillah, the scroll telling of the story of the festival, both on Wednesday Night and Thursday during the day. On Thursday one gives a gift of two items of food to a fellow Jew, and two donations of charity. One also has a festive meal, beginning on Thursday afternoon.
Purim is often regarded as a children's festival: certainly, children enjoy the dressing up and the waving of the gragger - (noise-maker) when Haman's name is mentioned in the Megillah. Yet the Sages tell us it is far more than this.
In the time of the Messiah, they say, when all the sacred writings of the Torah will be very accessible and understandable, the Megillah will still retain a mysterious power.
Why is this? When we read it today, it seems a straightforward story of what happened. And yet... One intriguing detail which the Sages point out is that the Megillah is the only Book in the Bible which does not contain the Name of G-d.
This is a clue.
Purim gives us access to the "hiddenness" of G-d, the essence of the Infinite beyond ordinary Knowledge. G-d's Name is absent from the Megillah, yet the very word Megillah means both 'scroll' and "reveal". On Purim the hiddenness of G-d is somehow revealed.
How? How can the unknowable be known? Through joy. The joy and special atmosphere of the festival are described as reaching exalted heights. On Purim our existence was threatened, simply because we are Jews. Miraculously, evil was transformed into good, darkness into light. Purim is the ultimate story of the secret of existence...