Purim Glossary

Key words and phrases for Purim.

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Purim—literally, “lottery.” Also the name of the holiday where the Scroll of Esther is read.

Seudah—literally, “feast,” there is a commandment to have a festive meal, or a seudat mitzah, on the day of Purim. Wine and liquor are traditionally served at the festive meal.

Shpiel—literally, "play" or "skit." A Purim shpiel is a humorous and dramatic presentation of the events outlined in the book of Esther, often performed on Purim eve.

Taanit Esther—literally, “the fast of Esther.” A fast from sunrise to sunset on the day before Purim, it commemorates the fast that Queen Esther and the Jews of Shushan undertook.

Tzedakah—literally, “righteousness,” but it is often interpreted as charity. It is a commandment to give tzedakah to those in need on Purim.



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