There’s only one holiday in the Jewish calendar that mandates drunken raucusness. And today’s the day.
What I love about the story of Purim is the absence of God. If Esther didn’t have the courage to confront the King and see to the defense of her people, the Jews would have been massacred. God wouldn’t have lifted a finger.
Self-power, not God’s power is the affirmation at the heart of Purim. First there is Mordecai saving the life of the king by revealing a plot against him. God had nothing to do with this. It was just the right thing to do. Then there is Esther daring to affirm her Jewishness and demand that the King choose between his fear of her people and his love of her. Very cool. And then there is the Jews, newly armed at the command of the king, who, when confronted by the Persian hordes seeking their death, slaughter tens of thousands of their enemies instead. Heroism, daring, courage, and slaughter, and not a god in sight.
…My only complaint is that it would nice to have a holy day that had no dead people in it.