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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven

Origins of Noise Making to Wipe Out the Evil Name on Purim

By Shelomo Alfassa / Purim 5768 / 2008


Purim has long been a holiday on which merriment and frivolity has been welcomed within the walls of the synagogue. On Purim, in most of today's synagogues, you will encounter a certain amount of boisterous hissing, banging, stamping and rattling during the public reading of the Megillah (Book of Esther), at the mention of the evil Haman or his sons.? Even so, the custom of making noise to drown out / scare away or 'blot out' evil (in this case an evil name) is one firstly of pagan origin and does not have its foundation from within the Jewish world.

In some Jewish (and non-Jewish) academic circles, the story of Queen Esther is not universally accepted as history, and some go as far as supposing that the story of Queen Esther was developed to explain the festival of Purim.? One opinion indicates that the beating and noise making that takes place on Purim, originally had nothing to do with Haman...



© Shelomo Alfassa