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Happy day of atonement!

Thursday, 13 March, 2014 - 5:28 pm

Purim a day of atonement? You might think I have already been helping myself to some Purim liquid refreshments as a sneak preview. But the truth is that our sages interpret the phrase Yom HaKippurim (the long name for Yom Kippur) to mean “like Purim.” In Hebrew the letter chaf as a prefix means “similar to.” The Chassidic masters expound on this idea by teaching that the atonement and closeness to Hashem that is achieved on Yom Kippur through seriousness and Teshuvah, can be achieved on Purim through joy and celebration.

Purim is a serious holiday. Not just a day to act silly and drink. It is a time to experience a powerful and intimate closeness to Hashem. The joy and celebration facilitate this closeness. Actually, when given the choice, I’ll take this way over the fasting anytime. Enjoy Purim! The festival that tops the top day on the Jewish calendar.

One of the important practices of Purim is Matanot L’evyonim – giving charity to the poor. According to Halacha we should be giving Tzedakah to at least two poor people or institutions that help the poor. This year I would like to encourage you to help our brethren in the Ukraine. They are living in great fear and uncertainty. Jobs and lives are on hold. Chabad soup kitchens in Ukraine have seen a very dramatic increase in people needing their services. Security needs have skyrocketed and local funds have dried up entirely. Please go to www.chabadneworleans.com/ukraine to contribute to the campaign.

Chabad locally also helps needy individuals in many discreet ways. To contribute to the Purim Tzedakah campaign go to www.chabadneworleans.com/donate.

Mazel tov to Mali and Yonatan Hodorov upon the birth of their daughter Maya.

We look forward to celebrating with you this Purim. See below for a full Purim Schedule.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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