These images are not exactly what you imagine when you think of a religious celebration.
But among Jewish communities, the annual holiday of Purim can result in drunken abandonment, as it’s marked by parties, costumes, good food and, for men, lots of alcohol.
The scenes in Mea Shearim were typical of the holiday, which celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from a plan to exterminate them in the Persian empire 2,500 years ago.
According to the account, the plot was devised by Haman, an official of the Achaemenid Empire. Haman was the adviser to the Persian king Ahasuerus. But the plans were thwarted by Mordechai.
The story is told in the Biblical book of Esther, which is publicly recited in the synagogue, known as the Megillah reading, as part of the annual festivities.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men rest after getting drunk during celebrations for the Jewish holiday Purim in Mea Shearim
The carnival-like holiday of Purim is celebrated with parades and costume parties to commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them in the former Persian empire.
Among Jewish communities, the annual holiday of Purim can result in drunken abandonment, as it is marked by parties, costumes, good food and, for men, lots of alcohol.
People have been known and encouraged to drink to the point of getting drunk during annual vacations.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate the holiday in a synagogue with a joyous group dance
This joyous holiday is marked by the exchange of delicious food, drink and gifts, a lavish celebratory meal and donations to the poor.
It is a holiday that has been adopted by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are known for organizing large parties, with costumes and popular dishes.
An ultra-Orthodox Jew lies on the ground while taking part in a celebration in Mea Shearim.
This joyous holiday is characterized by the exchange of delicious food, drink and gifts, a lavish celebratory meal and donations to the poor.
According to religious law, each adult must give at least two different foods to another person and at least two charitable donations to the poor during the holiday. The delivery of these food parcels, called mishloach manot, has become an important aspect of the celebrations.
To fulfill the aspect of charity with the poor, food or money equivalent to the amount of food eaten in a normal meal can be donated. Collections will also be made in the Synagogue.
It’s a holiday that has been embraced by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are known for throwing large parties, complete with costumes and popular dishes like three-cornered cakes called hamantashen. These are traditionally filled with raspberry, apricot, date or poppy seeds.
Seeds, nuts, legumes, and green vegetables are commonly eaten on Purim, as is Kerplach, a dumpling filled with cooked meat, chicken, or liver and served in soup.
Specialty breads are also commonly eaten, and a dessert consisting of fried dumplings and vanilla custard, called Arany galuska, is traditional for the Jews of Hungary and Romania, as well as their descendants.
But possibly the most outrageous part of the festivities is that men are encouraged to drink alcoholic beverages to the point of getting drunk.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and boys, some in costume, celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim
The most raucous thing about the festivities is that men are encouraged to drink alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication.
Children are encouraged to dress up and parade through the streets during the event.
Men dance in the streets dressed in costumes to celebrate the annual religious event
The custom is said to come from a statement in the Talmud, attributed to a rabbi named Rava.
According to custom, men must drink until they can no longer distinguish between arur Haman (Cursed be Haman) and baruch Mordechai (Blessed be Mordecai).
Even the older generation gets involved in the celebrations in the synagogue and in the streets.
Drinking wine is believed to stimulate the experience of spiritual blindness.
Children also get involved in the celebrations by dressing up and parading through the streets.
It is said that drinking wine harms men and prevents them from distinguishing between good and evil.
The custom is said to derive from a statement in the Talmud, attributed to a rabbi named Rava, who supposedly states that men should drink during the festivities until “he can no longer distinguish between arur Haman (Cursed be Haman) and baruch Mordechai.” (Blessed be Haman. is Mordecai).
Drinking wine is believed to stimulate the experience of spiritual blindness, in which a person is unable to distinguish between good and evil while drunk.
However, men have had to curb their drinking in recent years.
During the pandemic, ultra-Orthodox chief rabbis were forced to urge restraint as large parties led to a surge in the coronavirus.
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