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THEMES of Featured Laws & Customs

Mystic Purim Pastries
Hamantaschen are pocket pastries, cookies with filling hidden inside the dough, eaten on Purim in remembrance of the great miracle which was hidden under the guise of nature. The three-sided shape of hamantaschen represents the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose merit helped saved the Jews on Purim by causing Haman to become “tash,” weakened.
Electronic Megillah Readings
We cannot fulfill our obligation to hear the reading of the Scroll of Esther (or any other mitzvah that requires hearing words or sounds, such as of a shofar) by hearing it through a loud-speaker, radio, television, telephone, Ipod or the like. As far as Jewish Law is concerned, it is required to hear the Megillah read by a human voice, while in these processes, the human voice has been essentially changed and is being heard only indirectly.
Knowing How to Not Know
At the Purim festive meal, we are able to draw the light of the divine spark that is within the kelipot, without illuminating the kelipot themselves.
Victory Victuals
Purim is chiefly observed through drinking and eating, which emphasize the physical. In the days of Mordechai and Esther, the Jews sinned through eating, by partaking of the feast of Ahashuerus. This was physical sin, and therefore they were endangered, measure for measure, with physical annihilation.
Hiding Faces and Wearing Costumes
Amalek’s hatred to Israel was ultimately due Yaakov’s wearing Esav’s clothes upon entering to receive Yitzchak’s blessing – which Esav had regarded as due to him. Now we again disguise ourselves to indicate that that disguise was not an unrighteous act, but that Ya’akov and his descendants justly receive the inheritance which Esav wanted.