Rabbi Sacks on Purim

The festival of Purim is known as the Jewish carnival of happiness, commemorating the rescue of the Jewish people during the ancient Persian Empire from Haman, the man who planned to “destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews... in a single day”. The word “purim” means “lots” in ancient Persian and became the name of the festival because Haman drew lots to randomly determine when he would carry out his plot.

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When is Purim 2024? This year, the fast of Esther (Ta'anit Esther) falls on Thursday 21 March, and the festival of Purim will be celebrated from nightfall on Saturday night 23 March, until sunset on Sunday 24 March 2024.

Shushan Purim runs from nightfall on Sunday 24 March until sunset on Monday 25 March 2024.

Discover Purim through the thought of Rabbi Sacks, by browsing articles, videos, shiurim, quotes, and teaching resources.

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Purim: The Family Edition

A resource from our Ceremony & Celebration Family Edition series, for intergenerational learning about the chag.

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Purim and the World's Longest Hatred

A short Thought for the Day, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2002.

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Lessons From the Story of Purim

A transcript of the speech given by Rabbi Sacks in 2008 during a solidarity visit to Israel.

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The Therapeutic Joy of Purim

Written by Rabbi Sacks ahead of Purim 2015.

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Haman: The First Antisemite

A shiur delivered to YU students in 2014.


Purim's Link to the Holocaust

Originally published in the London Jewish News and the Jewish Telegraph in 1999.

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Even You Can Change the World

Purim inspiration: A recording of the shiur given to the Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto.

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On Antisemitism

A short JInsider video where Rabbi Sacks links the origins of antisemitism to Haman.

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God's Hidden Call

An inspirational message from Rabbi Sacks, written in 2016 by Rabbi Sacks.

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A Prayer for Iranian Jewish Prisoners

This tefillah was shared by Rabbi Sacks in April 2000, at an emergency Prayer Meeting held in Bevis Marks.

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Remember the Past to Build the Future

Rabbi Sacks answers one on the great questions of history: how do you live with the past without being held captive by it?

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Purim Spiel with Ashley Blaker

Just for fun, Rabbi Sacks and TV writer and comedian Ashley Blaker made this Purim spoof video together.